The Piglet

The 2012 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks!

January 12, 2012

The Piglet is almost here...

Starting on Wednesday, January 18, join us every weekday morning for a new matchup, judged by some of the biggest names in the food world and beyond!

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Not familiar with the Piglet? It's our NCAA-style competition in which we seed the 16 best cookbooks from the past year into brackets and face them off. We pass each pair of books to our expert judges, they cook from the books and write up their decisions, and you get to weigh in with your yay or nay on each day's outcome until only one remains -- the 2012 Piglet winner. (Here's what the trophy looks like.)

And save the date: Monday, February 6 is the date for the Piglet Party at our fabulous offices in New York City, where we'll announce the final winner of the Tournament the night before the results are updated on our website. Tickets are $15 and you can buy them here.

Here's our fantastic panel of judges, who hail from all corners of food and media:

Roz Chast, staff cartoonist for The New Yorker
Caitlin Freeman
, pastry chef for Blue Bottle Coffee, and James Freeman, founder and owner of Blue Bottle Coffee
Ina Garten, cookbook author and host of Food Network's Barefoot Contessa
Dorie Greenspan and Josh Greenspan, co-owners of Cookie Bar
Carla Hall, a host on ABC's The Chew and owner of Alchemy by Carla Hall in Washington, D.C.
Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer, founders of The Canal House
Sara Jenkins, owner of Porchetta and Porsena in New York City
Nigella Lawson, cookbook author and host of Food Network's Nigella Feasts
Hunter Lewis, food editor at Bon Appetit
Anita Lo, chef and owner of Annisa in New York City
Celia Sack, owner of Omnivore Books in San Francisco
Kim Severson, Atlanta Bureau Chief for The New York Times
David Tanis, cookbook author, New York Times columnist, and chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley
Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse in Berkeley
Jacob Weisberg, editor-in-chief of Slate

Now what you've all been waiting for, the official list of contenders for the 2012 Piglet. Our official brackets are here -- you can download and print them out, fill in your predictions, and follow along with the competition!

Alice's Cookbook
Alice Hart

American Flavor
Andrew Carmellini

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts
David McMillan, Frederic Morin, & Meredith Erickson

Cook This Now: 120 Easy and Delectable Dishes You Can't Wait to Make
Melissa Clark

Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes
Andrea Reusing

The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adrià
Ferran Adrià

Ideas in Food: Great Recipes and Why They Work
Aki Kamozawa & H. Alexander Talbot

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Jeni Britton Bauer

Momofuku Milk Bar
Christina Tosi

Mourad: New Moroccan
Mourad Lahlou

The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes from Los Angeles's Favorite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria
Nancy Silverton

Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna: Recipes from Cafe Sabarsky, Wallse, and Blaue Gans
Kurt Gutenbrunner

The Perfect Bite Cookbook
Jennifer Jasinski

Super Natural Every Day: Well-loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen
Heidi Swanson

Tender: A Cook and His Vegetable Patch
Nigel Slater

Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking
Roberto Santibanez


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.

  • M.Kurtzman
  • luvcookbooks
  • MrsWheelbarrow
  • LoisonMaui
  • astackofdishes
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


M.Kurtzman January 18, 2012
I like lots of the books that you mention,but have to throw in props for Rustic Italian Food,by Mark Vetri...Great recipes and good articulation about what good food is about.
luvcookbooks January 18, 2012
oh my ... and my work schedule has changed so i can get to a monday night event... maybe...
MrsWheelbarrow January 16, 2012
Yay! It's the PIGLET! and thanks to the last two contests, my cookbook shelves are so much better as is my cooking. I see a big Amazon order in my future.
LoisonMaui January 16, 2012
What better way than to learn from others. I would think knowing the top 3 books, not just the top book, would be valuable. Your Food52 team is so amazing. I'll be reading your email updates.
astackofdishes January 16, 2012
Fantastic Fun! Also spied some cookbooks that might just be my Valentine's present(s) to myself!
Gwencooks January 15, 2012
I swore to myself I would not buy any more cookbooks. So much for that, I have my eye on a couple on the list.
The S. January 15, 2012
Same here. I own 5 of those, have already considered and rejected some, but there are more still I have not seen. Yikes.
RisaCooks January 15, 2012
what a great line-up of books and judges. Wow. The Piglet rocks! I only have a couple of the books and I want about 8 of them so I look forward to what you think of them.
garlic&lemon January 15, 2012
My bookshelves are overflowing and I have promised my husband that if I buy any more cookbooks, they will REPLACE not ADD TO the current stash. Nonetheless, I have been eyeing several of the books in this line up! I am really looking forward to reading the testers' feedback. I love the piglet.
petrini.elisa January 15, 2012
wow! great lineup and fantastic judges! i won;t be able to resist buying at least four of these books (in addition to the terrific one i already own, Melissa Clark's)
petrini.elisa January 15, 2012
wow! great lineup and fantastic judges! i won;t be able to resist buying at least four of these books (in addition to the terrific one i already own, Melissa Clark's)
allysahn January 15, 2012
This is such a cool idea! It will be my first year following the piglet. super excited!
saltandserenity January 15, 2012
I'm squealing with excitement! Great choices.

I am currently smitten with Melissa Clark's "Cook This Now". I've made about half the January recipes and they are keepers!

Did not know that Mozza had put out a cookbok. Really squealing about that one!
Rhonda35 January 14, 2012
Always love the Piglet! Know you can't include your book in the competition, but still think it's the BEST!
Miafoodie January 13, 2012
Amazing judges and books. . . . . .awesome! Let the judging begin.
Summer O. January 13, 2012
LOVE the Piglet! And what a great line up this year.
deanna1001 January 13, 2012
Fantastic array of books and what a judging panel. Woohoo! Let the games begin.
cookinginvictoria January 13, 2012
One of my favorite events of the FOOD 52 year! And what a stellar lineup of books AND judges you have gathered. Honestly, the Piglet gets better every year. Can't wait for the fun to begin!
healthierkitchen January 13, 2012
Really looking forward to this! Great link up of judges and books. I needed something right about now to brighten up January!
jenniebgood January 13, 2012
Fantastic idea -this is WAY better than the NCAA tournament (IMHO)! And an awesome line-up of books and judges - can't wait to see the winner
mcs3000 January 12, 2012
YES. Go Heidi!