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.
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.
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:
- Confess your food sins.
- What's your favorite processed food?
- What do you cook when you don't feel like cooking?
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!)
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.
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!
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.
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.
Favorite moments from the Piglet Party:
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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!GET THE LATEST