And just like that, The Piglet is nearing its finale. This week, we saw two more books advance, and two others—real fan favorites, if you ask us—get knocked out of the competition.
This week’s judges—Kate Schelter, author of Classic Style, and Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body And Other Stories—really dug into each of their books as both cooks and authors. They looked at the stories, the design, and the deliciousness of the recipes to craft thoughtful reviews and, ultimately, judgments.
Here’s the tl;dr on what happened this week:
You could tell that Kate Schelter absorbed each book, understood its essence and arguments, and left the judging with an appreciation of its merits. So even if you don’t completely agree with her choice, you know she’s put thought into her decision.
An artist and creative director, Schelter considered her duo of books the battle between art (cooking from Night + Market) and science (baking from BraveTart). One book spoke just a little louder, though—and ultimately, Schelter chose the cookbook whose author she’s a little more eager to spend time with. If we’re learning anything from this year’s Piglet, it’s that judges considered the personalities of the authors, as shown through their cookbooks, to be an important barometer for success. It isn’t just the caliber of the recipes or the imagery that make a great cookbook, but also the unique perspective of the author. Schelter made her pick; see how the cookie crumbled.
Carmen Maria Machado invited a friend over to cook from both books on one extra-delicious Sunday. Their lunch from Kachka and dinner from Six Seasons turned out very well, which was great—but it also made her job of picking a victor that much harder.
Since Machado is an author of short stories, she made an astute comparison: A recipe is to a cookbook as a short story is to a short story collection. The cookbook, like the collection, is “a conversation.” Ultimately, she chose that book whose conversation was, for her, more vivid, more enthralling. It was the battle of the Portland chefs, and only one made it to the finals.