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For those of you who’ve been waiting: We very much hope to reward your patience on the 25th of February, when the first day of Piglet play officially begins.
Until now, tide yourselves with the sporting list of cookbooks (what we think are the year’s best) and the judges—the minds and kitchens we think will put them to the test like they haven’t been before—that we're announcing today.
For those of you to whom this business of baby pigs is news: The Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks began in 2009 with a hope and a dream that cookbook reviews could be better, smarter—and with a lot of hard work from three very smart women: Our very own Amanda and Merrill, and our compatriot (and resident queen of cookbooks) Charlotte Druckman.
They picked 16 cookbooks because they thought them shining examples of our industry and 15 judges who weren't your typical cookbook writers. Then they faced them all off in a March Madness-style bracket because they are cruel, and because they thought the world of cookbook reviewing lacked irreverence, cartoons, whimsy.
Skip to the bottom to see 2016's official picks, but if you care to take a trip down memory lane—the long, scenic route—allow me to walk you through some of the past years’ highlights. For you:
- Bryant Gumbel talks about mousetraps—and advances the beloved Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
- Which also happens to be the same book that launches Elizabeth Spiridakis into a tirade about dust jackets. A tirade.
- Remember the time Brian Boitano did triple axels around Persian food in the kitchen? No? Now you do.
- Tad Friend writes perhaps the Piglet's best ever kicker in 2014—see for yourself.
- Why should cookbook reviews be constricted to only words? Is something we’ve always asked. Roz Chast and Adam Roberts come to the rescue.
More: See so many more highlights by looking to all of the Piglet years on the right rail here.
Just like last year, we'll also be running Piglet Community Picks, in which our community members (yes, you!) cook from our list of 2016 Community Pick nominations, and then deliver their reviews on the site each day.
See below for the books, here for our incredible cast of judges, and here for our 2016 bracket (download, print, and fill in your predictions to follow along). And to add any one of these titles to your bookshelf, just click through on the book title or image. You might notice we're one judge short—this is because we'll be announcing the final separately. Let the games begin—almost. See you here again soon.