The 2017 Piglet

The Kick in the Butt You Needed to Start Entertaining

March 13, 2017

For inspiration for simple but special gatherings, our community has been turning to Food with Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings by Leela Cyd. So much so that they voted it one of this year's Piglet Community Pick cookbooks.

"Such fun and celebratory recipes, whimsical photos, all-around aspirational! I'm so inspired to throw an impromptu soirée whenever I open it."

Photo by Bobbi Lin

They especially love the colorful photography and recipes—and the warm tone in which everything is presented. (The author, Leela Cyd, wrote, styled, and photographed the whole dang book!)

"It's so colorful, both in cuisine and visually, which is unique these days."

"It's both thoughtful and beautifully put together. It flows nicely from section to section even though it takes inspiration from all over the world, and the finished product is just breathtaking. Have YOU ever seen a beautiful photo of chopped up bananas? I hadn't either, until Leela."

"This book looks beautiful from the front cover to the back, full of gorgeous photos. The spirit is what I really love though—there's generosity and warmth in every page, every recipe."

Photo by Bobbi Lin

For a bit more about the book, we asked Food52 superstars hardlikearmour and mrslarkin for recommendations. Read along for their picks.

for starters

First impressions:

"Judging the book by its cover, the photo shows perfectly appetizing, beautiful food with a feminine aesthetic."

"The cover is gorgeous and inviting."

Photo by Bobbi Lin

What to cook first:

"The Beet-Pickled Eggs are a show-stopper; they are as delicious as they are gorgeous. They are a bit fussier than average deviled eggs due to the pickling, but the added step is well-worth the upgrade in flavor. The fuchsia-pink outer layer fading to white, and the addition of turmeric powder to amp up the yellow yolk will make them the most stunning dish on any cocktail party (or picnic, or potluck) snack spread.

The savory dishes are just as good as the sweets. The Bubbling Savory Oats with Broccoli and Cotswold Cheese is my favorite new comfort food meal. It hits the mac and cheese spot, but is decidedly more healthful with its whole grains and broccoli. It's designed to be a side, but cooked in a single casserole dish, it is perfect as a main on a wintry or rainy night."

"Hazelnut Tea Cake with Plums—it's so delicious!"

lightning round

One-sentence review:

"It is good to be one of Leela Cyd's friends."

"A fun, inspiring, delicious foray into rustic elegant cooking."

Cookbook it reminded you of:

"A sunny California version of Diana Henry."

"Anything by Martha Stewart."

If this book was a vegetable, it'd be a...

"Purple cauliflower: Its vibrant color begs for you to create something with it, just like the gorgeous photos make you want to dive into Leela Cyd's world."

"Delicata squash, because it is both simple and unique."

Best thing you learned from the book:

"How easy it is to make mochi!"

"Simple gatherings can be more than crudités with dip, and cheese and crackers. Food with Friends is filled with great ideas and helps you think outside of the simple entertaining box."

2017's roster of Piglet Community Picks were chosen by an open call to our community; the reviews you see here are from some of the folks who voted these books into the tournament. To see other Piglet Community Picks reviews, head here.

Food with Friends is available wherever books are sold.

Tell us: What's your go-to entertaining dish?


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.

Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.