Food52 Life

Why Any Party with Live Piglets is the Best Party (aka the 2016 Piglet Party)

March 18, 2016

It didn't take long for me, welcoming guests to the 2016 Piglet Party, to realize the key to a successful party: live pigs!!

"Can I take your coat? Oh, and there's a piglet over there," I repeated to squeals—both from the pigs and those who got to hold (and Instagram) them. While Thunder and Cooper from New York Teacup Pigs stole the show, it was only the beginning of a night of celebration in honor of The Piglet, our annual cookbook competition.

Top: Food52 co-founder, Merrill Stubbs, welcomes guests to the 2016 Piglet Party. Bottom left: Cooper; right: Thunder. Photo by Gabi Porter

With the exception of live piglets, the bar generally takes priority at any party (amirite?)—but that was only for determined guests who could make it to the end of Rizzoli Bookstore without getting distracted by the display of contestants' cookbooks, a mountain of cheese from Wisconsin Cheese, and the Burnt Toast Podcast Confessional Booth.

Left: Hors d'oeuvres from Poppy's Catering. Right: Washing it down with herby Patrón margaritas. Photo by Gabi Porter

Custom-built to look part retro time machine, part recording studio, and a little bit phone booth, the Burnt Toast Podcast Confessional listed questions for guests to record their answers to, for an upcoming episode of Burnt Toast. The questions—which scored some pretty juicy responses from Allison Robicelli and Shit Food Blogger, among others—included:

  1. Confess your food sins.
  2. What's your favorite processed food?
  3. What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?
Forgive me, Food52, for I have sinned... Photo by Gabi Porter

After giving their podcast confessionals, guests headed to a parlor—a (temporary) tattoo parlor, that is—where they choose from Tattly tattoos that ranged from a bracelet of sausage links (for the ironic) to kitchen tools like whisks and wine openers, and the ever-popular carrot and radish. (If you spot a forearm with half-vanished radish and pretzel tattoos in Manhattan this weekend, say hello!)

The Tattly tattoo station, run by our marketing team member, Catherine.
From left to right: Jeremy Beker, Food52's Software Engineer, Melissa Langer, a member of our customer care team, and her guest showing off their ink. Photo by Gabi Porter

Guests made their way into a room at the back of Rizzoli, which held an entire table of mini tacos (!) inspired by those from Piglet contender Eat Mexico and made by Poppy's Catering. A fully stocked bar with beer from Sixpoint Brewery and wine from Terlato Wines was at the ready.

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In addition to the tacos, Poppy's Catering served recipes from each of the fifteen cookbook contestants—from the Carrot Salad with Mint and Dates from Modern Jewish Cooking to Moldovan Giant Cheese Twist (Mamushka) Edamame Mint Spread from Near & Far and Chicken and Duck Liver Pâté with Pickled Beets and Mustard Greens on Brioche Toasts from Gjelina!

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Top Comment:
“And there's no way you can top Thunder and Cooper for next years Piglet party!”
— LauriL

A guest favorite were the margaritas from Patrón. They served two contestants from their own competition, Margarita of the Year (our kind of competition): sage-spiked and jalapeño takes on the classic.

Top: The Poppy's Catering team with their spread. Left: Pink pickled deviled eggs from My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl; right: An assortment of bread and cheese from Wisconsin Cheese. Photo by Gabi Porter

Midway through the party, this year's emcee, Saveur Editor-in-Chief Adam Sachs, took to the taco table stage to give his version of The Piglet's origin story which—according to him—came from our co-founders, Amanda and Merrill's, desire to "do something radical and piss some people off."

While Adam lamented the fact that not every cookbook could win, making a strong argument for My Zahaviolet Hot Bread Kitchen Year of Near Oman-mushka Eat-India-Mex Greens Jew-lina Spoonsenega-Lab, he eventually announced the winner, as decided by Andrew Zimmern: Hot Bread Kitchen and its authors, Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez and Julia Turshen!

The crowd went wild and Jessamyn graciously accepted her trophy, referencing the talent and dedication of her fellow cookbook authors.

Left: Jessamyn accepts her trophy. Right: Kenzi Wilbur, the current mastermind behind The Piglet, holds the trophy above the originator of The Piglet and former Food52 editor, Charlotte Druckman. Photo by Gabi Porter

Favorite moments from the Piglet Party:

@irskdiddy can we get one? #thepiglet

A photo posted by gabriella marie mangino (@gabriellamm) on

Another beautiful night with the Food52 gang. Miss you all 💙

A photo posted by lauren kelley (@admirar) on

Teacup pig dreams do come true. 🐷 #ThePiglet

A photo posted by kaitlin bray (@kaitlinbray) on

Pig heaven #thepiglet #arealbabypiglet #f52life

A photo posted by @mehighlow84 on

the piglet has made an appearance 🐷 #thepiglet #f52life

A photo posted by • • • (@lizagnesandrew) on

This is my only picture from #thepiglet party i.e. it was a very very good time ✌

A photo posted by Amanda (@mandasims) on

Until next year!


The Piglet—inspired by The Morning News' Tournament of Books—is where the 16 most notable cookbooks of the year face off in a NCAA-style bracketed tournament. Watch the action and weigh in on the results!


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Threemoons
  • Devangi Raval
    Devangi Raval
  • LauriL
  • booglix
  • Suzanne
I eat everything.


Threemoons March 27, 2016
So when will more photos and the Confessional version of the Podcast go up?
Devangi R. March 20, 2016
Lovely pictures. Thunder stole my heart. So so cute... congratulations to Hot Bread Kitchen.
LauriL March 19, 2016
So fun!! Glad you shared all the great pics. An awesome finale to an awesome event! And there's no way you can top Thunder and Cooper for next years Piglet party!
booglix March 18, 2016
I think those piglets are as adorable as the next person, but there's something quite unsavory to me about using live baby animals as photobooth props.
Suzanne March 18, 2016
The party looks so fun and festive, but those little piglets! Oh my!
Rhonda35 March 18, 2016
You didn't say there'd be real piglets!! I would have flown back East to snuggle those little guys. Adorable! The party gets better every year, I think.
Connor B. March 18, 2016
Thunder <3