Cooks, cookbook lovers, food enthusiasts, and food eaters, gather ‘round! The Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks is ready to rumble. Below, you’ll find our list of the 16 cookbooks that absolutely knocked our socks off in 2017, as well as the judges who will be vetting them. From now through April, these books will be going head-to-head in what promises to be an intense competition.
Currently in its 9th year, the Piglet is the event that has helped so many people find their new favorite cookbooks—titles to cook from, cherish, and add to their collections. (So many books come out each year, it’s hard to learn about all of them!) 16 worthy titles get put through the ringer by a cast of distinguished judges (in years past, they've included Yotam Ottolenghi, Tejal Rao, and Ina Garten). This year's judges will be cooking from the books just like you: with time restraints, grocery bills, and a supreme desire to make great food. Their goals? To help you learn about the books, and also select a winner.
As the winning book of each round advances in a bracket-style tournament, we’ll ultimately end up with one champ on April 20th. It’s the fairest book of them all, crowned by the fairest (if unscientific and completely subjective) cookbook competition of them all. There will be upsets. Early favorites will be knocked out. You can share your gripes and kudos in the comments section of each judgment. (Those are fun to read, too!)
The ultimate goal: an earnest, full-fledged celebration of the stellar cookbooks that come out each year. Authors put blood, sweat, tears, and butter into their books, and Piglet judges give each author’s work a thoughtful, thorough read. The same can’t be said for many other cookbook reviews floating around the internet (don’t they often sound like press releases?).
For more information on how it works, head to the cheat sheet here. And...let the 9th annual Piglet games begin! Here, our cast of books and judges. Tune in for the first-round kickoff on March 5th.
This Year’s Books
This Year's Cast of Judges
- Jen Agg, author and restaurateur
- Bonnie S. Benwick, Deputy Food Editor and Recipe Editor of the Washington Post
- Sarah Michelle Gellar, actress, cookbook author, and entrepreneur
- Tim Gunn, educator, author, fashion consultant, and co-host of Project Runway
- Evan Kleiman, chef, author, and radio host of KCRW's Good Food
- Kevin Kwan, novelist
- Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation
- Carmen Maria Machado, author, essayist, and critic
- Brett Martin, author and Correspondent and Chief Food Critic for GQ
- Wendi McLendon-Covey, actress, writer, producer, and comedian
- Garrett Oliver, author, Editor-in-Chief of The Oxford Companion to Beer, and Brewmaster of Brooklyn Brewery
- Rachael Ray, celebrity cook, TV show host, cookbook author, and Founder and Editorial Director of Rachael Ray Every Day
- Stephen Satterfield, food writer, digital media producer, and Founder of Whetstone
- Kate Schelter, artist, illustrator, and author
- Kenzi Wilbur, writer, former Food52 managing editor, and James Beard Award-nominated podcast host and producer