The 2017 Piglet

A Recap of The Piglet's Round 3

March 14, 2017

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.

Dorie’s Cookies vs. My Two Souths

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.)

Samarkand vs. Taste & Technique

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!


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • petalpusher
  • Ronni Lundy
    Ronni Lundy
  • Rachelwrites
  • chardrucks
  • annmartina
Allison Robicelli is a James Beard-nominated food writer, a Publisher's Weekly-starred author, and lots of other fun things. Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, she currently lives with her two sons and four cats in Baltimore, Maryland.


petalpusher March 15, 2017
The 2011 Piglet review of Dorie Greenspans 'Around My French Table' was quite critical of the photography and details, dismissing her from the competition. Zoom to this weeks review of her 'Cookies' and it is almost identical in its dislike of 'the look'. Dorie can't catch a break from these Piglet judgies. I like her books because she wants everyone cookin' at home to have the same bliss she has. Yes Allison, Dorie wants to infect us - with joy! Now I have a homemade soap recipe for that mouth of yours. I sent it to Thug Kitchen, but they returned it covered in compost.
Ronni L. March 15, 2017
It's okay, Marlon. If truth be known, we've all had a cheesy guy or two lie to us and embarrass us in public. Grab that gruyere and move along, knowing that yours was an excellent review, nonetheless. On a semi-related note (and because it's morning and I have a deadline I'm avoiding) I once had a copyeditor insist that I couldn't use pomegranate molasses in a recipe because she swore she could not find it in NYC. I was buying it at middle eastern grocery 3 blocks from my then home in Louisville, Kentucky.
Rachelwrites March 15, 2017
I'm a little thrown off by the language in the articles lately. Two vulgar words (that I noticed) in the last couple of weeks. Yeesh.
chardrucks March 15, 2017
So here's my on-the-fly theory on this gruyere thing. I believe gruyere, by definition, is cave-aged, and the cheese guy was just poking fun at that. No one calls it cave-aged gruyere; it's gruyere, period. It's like you wouldn't say, I need to buy some smoked speck; you'd just say, speck. Is possible?
Greenstuff March 15, 2017
No, good thought, but here in the US, it's maked as Cave-aged, I think to distinguish it from bigger factory-made. (By the way, the Gruyere cheese factory in Gruyere, Switzerland, is a fun tour.)
petalpusher March 15, 2017
Yep, we hipster homesteaders have that cheese cave on our wish list.
No really thank you Chris for answering the cheese cave question.
annmartina March 14, 2017
I'm mortified that he shared he was from the Twin Cities, because I live in the Twin Cities and cage-aged Gruyere is not difficult to find, nor are juniper berries for that matter. I have them in my pantry right now, even though I live in the suburbs.
Greenstuff March 14, 2017
could it be that he really doesn't have a cheese guy? Just my personal conspiracy theory, born from the big pile of cave-aged Gruyere winking at me in my local Whole Foods yesterday.