BooksNew & NowThe PigletThe 2017 Piglet

These 16 Cookbooks are the Most Impressive of 2016

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Our annual Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks started 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 co-founders Amanda and Merrill, and our compatriot Charlotte Druckman. We wanted to put books in the hands of not just recipe writers, who are trained to cook out of them, but real people. You-and-me people. The kinds of people cookbooks are made for and marketed to.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

For the 8th year, we’re back. Today, we announce the list of nominees we thought were 2016’s most impressive cookbooks—these will face off in a bracket-style tournament over the next month—and the eloquent judges who will evaluate them. Official play begins on the 22nd.

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Skip below to find out who’s in this year’s tournament—or read on to see what’s in store over the next week before we kick off.

  • Just like last year, we'll also be running Piglet Community Picks. That list is up today (go look!). Unlike last year, you all picked these books. We’ll be posting a review each day of the regular tournament.
  • We’ll be running a prediction contest with a spiffy prize—check back for details! And start noodling on which book you think will win.
  • For the first time, we’ll have a special Piglet bulletin via email—starting tomorrow, you can sign up for updates on judgments and exclusive recipes from winning books straight to your inbox.
  • To help you get to know the books in the tournament, we’ll be posting a cheat sheet—and to help you get to know the tournament (hi, new reader!) we have a video explainer coming right up. (To get a little more caught up on the process of the tournament now—here’s a podcast on how all of this works.)

Let the games begin—almost. See you back here soon.

This Year's Books

A Recipe for Cooking, Signed Copy $30
A Recipe for Cooking, Signed Copy
Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus, Signed Copy $35
Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus, Signed Copy
Taste & Technique : Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking, Signed Copy $40
Taste & Technique : Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking, Signed Copy
Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery and Cafe, Signed Copy $35
Soframiz: Vibrant Middle Eastern Recipes from Sofra Bakery and Cafe, Signed Copy
Golden: Sweet & Savory Baked Delights from London's Honey & Co., Signed Copy $30
Golden: Sweet & Savory Baked Delights from London's Honey & Co., Signed Copy
The Adventures of Fat Rice: Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau, Signed Copy $35
The Adventures of Fat Rice: Recipes from the Chicago Restaurant Inspired by Macau, Signed Copy
Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, Signed Copy $30
Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City, Signed Copy
Simple, Signed Copy $33
Simple, Signed Copy
Koreatown: A Cookbook $30
Koreatown: A Cookbook
Sirocco: Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East $30
Sirocco: Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East
Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels, Signed Copy $35
Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels, Signed Copy
Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South, Signed Copy $40
Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South, Signed Copy
Victuals: An Appalachian Journey with Recipes, Signed Copy $32
Victuals: An Appalachian Journey with Recipes, Signed Copy
Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China, Signed Copy $35
Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China, Signed Copy
Dorie's Cookies, Signed Copy $35
Dorie's Cookies, Signed Copy
My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen, Signed Copy
My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India into a Southern Kitchen, Signed Copy

This Year's Cast of Judges

  • Emma Straub, The New York Times bestselling novelist
  • Talia Baiocchi, Editor-in-Chief of PUNCH and James Beard Award-nominated author
  • Bill Addison, Restaurant Critic at Eater
  • Rachel Khong, formerly of Lucky Peach, writer, editor, and novelist
  • Pavia Rosati, founder and CEO of Fathom
  • Dan Saltzstein, Editor at the Travel section of The New York Times
  • Gabe Ulla, writer
  • Katie Quinn, food video journalist
  • Freddie Prinze Jr., actor and recent cookbook author
  • Dwight Garner, book critic for The New York Times
  • David Plotz, CEO of Atlas Obscura and one of the hosts of the Slate's Political Gabfest
  • Silvia Killingsworth, editor of The Awl and The Hairpin
  • Marlon James, novelist and Man Booker Prize winner
  • Monique Truong, food writer and bestselling novelist
  • Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner of Lenny Letter

Keep checking this space for Piglet updates, and check out the nominated cookbooks!

The Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks is Here!

Tags: piglet, tournament of cookbooks, best cookbooks, books