Allison Robicelli runs through the highlights of Round 3; click on the judgment photos to read the reviews for yourselves. We’ll be back with the final judgment by Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner on Monday, March 20th—until then, stay tuned as we get to know the final books a little better all week long.
Monique Truong has written bestselling novels, essays for The New York Times, has been included in the “Best Food Writing” book, and is currently writing a libretto. This is a woman who knows her shit and cannot—nay, will not—be bought. This means, Dorie Greenspan, that your reign of terror has come to an end. A not in a simple “I preferred My Two Souths” ho no no!
She begins her review by saying the book makes her physically ill just from looking at it, which I’m assuming is a metaphor because I’m staring at Dorie’s Cookies as we speak and it really doesn’t look too bad. I’m guessing maybe she has a strong aversion to the color? It is the same shade of vibrant purple as both Dimetapp cold syrup and Ronald McDonald’s morbidly obese sidekick Grimace, so I’m sure there must be some sort of terrifying repressed memory going on here, and it is likely warranted.
This means, Dorie Greenspan, that your reign of terror has come to an end.
Then comes the actual cookie baking, which she is not very impressed by, and I start to feel a little bit for my archnemesis, Dorie Greenspan. It takes a lot of work to write a cookbook, and believe you me I am underselling it with that description. Everyone who has ever been nominated for The Piglet, myself included, knows what an honor it is—over 700 cookbooks come out each year, and we're considered the 16 best. But just because we're the best doesn't mean we're not going to make a few of you projectile vomit just by looking at our book. That's pretty much a given.
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The only logical reason for such an accomplished writer to write a review like this is that she's sending a message to Dorie's people that she won't be fucked with.
My Two Souths moves on to the final, Greenspan goes home. Don't think that just because your Piglet days are finished that I'm not keeping my eye on you, Dorie. (Though I suppose a few boxes of cookies could make me forget all this unpleasantness ever happened. Ask Amanda and Merrill for my address.)
As we close the door on one conspiracy theory, we open the door on another one: Who is this “cheese guy” Marlon James uses who doesn't know what cave-aged Gruyère is? YES, Marlon, they have this at your local Whole Foods. They also have it at my local supermarket, and I’ve even seen it at Aldi. This “cheese guy” has been lying to you for years, and is most definitely up to something.
Mr. James is very complimentary about both books, picking Taste & Technique as the winner solely because it serves a different function that it’s competitor—namely, building cooking skills rather than simply introducing new recipes. I’ll admit I was rooting for Samarkand because I’ve cooked professionally and that sort of book appeals to me more. This goes to show you that The Piglet really is a luck of the draw competition, dependent on the needs and quirks of the reviewer. It also goes to show you that every book I’ve picked is a loser, and I really need to stop putting money on this goddamn thing.
COMING SOON: The final, obviously, but even more exciting than that is my final recap of the entire Piglet tournament! If you’ve got any questions about the tournament you’d like me to answer in it, leave them in the comments and I’ll bring them up to the Piglet Coven during our next blood sacrifice.
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!
Allison Robicelli is a cookbook author, humorist, host of the Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, occasional TV personality, restauranteur (Oaxaca Taqueria & Rip's Malt Shop in NYC), wife, mother, and all around good time.