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My favorite comment from our Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks, hands down: “I listened to Eye of the Tiger while reading this judgment.” (The rest of you: You still have two days—we’re posting the final judgment tomorrow—to top ariel a.)
This comment was in reference to Phyllis Grant’s record-breaking she-tested-how-many-recipes? decision on The Food Lab vs. Zahav—and I loved it for how perfectly apt it was then. But I also loved it because that song—all full of winner cliches, a stampeding herd of power chords—could easily be the soundtrack for the whole Piglet season. That song, in all of its overwrought glory, is how I feel when I edit; it’s how I feel when each day’s judgment goes up. It’s how I feel the moment before we announce the last known survivor.
Before we do, I wanted to take a quick look back on The 2016 Piglet. What were the upsets? (There were a few.) The highlights? (Plenty.) The books you thought were unfairly disqualified? I’d ask you to tell me your answers in the comments, but I have a feeling you already will.
Here are mine:
- Brooks Headley kicked off the tournament beautifully—and declared his affinity for glossy food photos. (Really, Brooks?) A number of you—judges, included—went on to decry them. Could this be our next face-off?
- Co-founder Charlotte Druckman and I made an attempt to elucidate parts of The Piglet we thought might not be registering with certain readers. We tanked.
- Undeterred, we tried again. We haven’t heard much about how our second attempt went, perhaps because the request I sent my producer to disable all iTunes reviews went through.
- I met Esther, of Read It & Eat bookstore in Chicago; she was kind enough to share her (very adept) predictions with you, too.
- It can’t be overstated: Phyllis Grant dropped the mic during her decision. Here is a margin note of mine from her drafts in the weeks before we published, highlighting the line “I am proud to say that my kids and I managed to cook over 20 recipes from each of your books”: You are an animal.
- Receiving this text from friend (and ace contributor Erin McDowell): “We keep seeing these all over Powell’s and had to show you!” She meant Powell’s Bookstore, in Portland, Oregon, and here’s what she saw:
- That time Julie Klam posited a question almost too real, while referring to flipping back and forth to recipes-within-recipes: What am I, made of bookmarks??
- Daily text color commentary from Piglet co-founder Charlotte Druckman's mother. Such as: Lovely review today. Near & Far doesn't entice me. You really have good reviewers this year. All have been consistent and diligent except for the one who should have made more recipes but still wrote a good review."
- Remember when Chris Schonberger compared leading a baking book with “Bloombergian finger-wagging” about sugar to opening the Kama Sutra with a warning about genital warts? Let me remind you.
- You won’t remember this one, but a personal highlight: My family sending me, mid-Piglet, this scan of a watercolor my grandfather did over 20 years ago. It’s got to be some kind of sign, right?
We’ll see you back here tomorrow.
Seriously though: Tell us your favorite moments of this year’s tournament!