Some of you have been wondering about a mysterious contest category called the Wildcard. We thought it was time to explain it.

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So how do you enter a recipe to be considered as a wildcard?

You don't!

We created the Wildcard category as a way to highlight recipes that don't fit into our weekly recipe themes. Sometimes we choose past finalists that didn't win but that we think deserve to be in the book, like the Pink Greens. Mostly, though, we look for excellent recipes that are uploaded to the site without the explicit intention of being considered for the book. We test and photograph them the same way we test all contest finalists, the winners all receive a box of prizes from OXO, and the recipes will appear in the food52 cookbook.

So in case you needed another reason to share your recipes with the food52 community, here you go! One of them just may end up in our book.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • dymnyno
  • maryvelasquez
  • pierino
  • WinnieAb
  • Amanda Hesser
    Amanda Hesser
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


dymnyno December 6, 2009
Sooo, now that you have explained the wildcard category there is another category that I don't understand...cooks we admire...what is that criteria? friends, children the same age, other writers??? Some of them have only submitted one recipe.
Amanda H. December 7, 2009
You've caught us being lazy! We haven't updated that in a long while so that's why there are cooks who have submitted just a recipe or two. It was the early days of food52 and the idea was to point to interesting cooks on the site so others could check them out. Since then we've created a weekly blog entry called Cook Spotlight in which we feature one great cook and their recipes.
Amanda H. December 7, 2009
Here's a link to past Cook Spotlights:
maryvelasquez December 5, 2009
Do you have a sense yet for how the cookbook will be organized? Seasonal? By type of dish? Or will it reflect the weekly contests? Sort of curious about how all this shapes up over time.
Amanda H. December 5, 2009
Funny you should ask -- we're working on putting together the first half of the book right now because believe it or not, we have to hand it in soon. We're thinking of organizing it by type of dish as in a traditional cookbook. You can see the breakdown here: (you'll have to cut and paste the link because we don't have a nifty link functionality in our comments... yet!) Doing it seasonally is an interesting idea because we certainly think seasonally when coming up with recipe themes. Would love your (and anyone else's!) thoughts.
maryvelasquez December 5, 2009
Thanks so much! I was imagining just that sort of list. It's fun to see all of the recipes from the past couple of months compiled like that. As far as organization, I think by type of dish is what most people use and like, but I also like it when cookbooks cross-reference the dishes by season, either in an appendix or a separate list.
pierino December 5, 2009
Amanda, I'm not surprised by that. I can't believe that half a year has passed already. I was expecting that it would be at least a year lead time between when the project is finished, the book is cataloged and sold in before it hits bookstore shelves.

I still favor the traditional format, firsts, seconds, entrees, desserts and so forth. It's easier for a home cook to work from. That said, as a student of food history I'm always interested in the "back story", as in how did we get to here from there? I think of MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING as a book of the Old Testament. The New Testament probably began with Alice Waters. Keller is the embodiement today, unless you count Ferran Adria which is the Apocalypse---Gaudi meets Jacques Derrida.

While Julia Child owns a prominent place on my top shelf, the books I consult most often are Judy Rodgers ZUNI CAFE, Lynne Rossetto Kasper's SPLENDID TABLE, and Keller's newest AD HOC. Keller finally let's down his hair a bit.

It seems to me that there is plenty of back story going on with food52. Frankly Christopher Kimball's lab rats are BORING! Can't wait for that throw down to happen.
AntoniaJames December 5, 2009
I'm with Maryvalasquez and Pierino, that it should be organized by type of dish, with a cross reference to seasons. And do, please, include a spread on all of the contests, with page references, of course. The contests are what makes this book unique, so I would guess that you and your editors already have that one covered. . . You don't see it much any more, but my ancient (1943) "Joy of Cooking" has, in addition to the regular index, a detailed index just by key ingredient. I find that tremendously helpful when I'm looking in the refrigerator at some leftover ingredient bought for another dish that's been made, wondering what to do with what's left. In any event, with or without that type of special index, a comprehensive index is essential. A poorly indexed cookbook is useless, as far as I'm concerned.
pierino December 5, 2009
A tome that answers AntonioJames' needs is THE FLAVOR BIBLE by Page and Dornenburg. It's all about matching flavors. For example, I have a lot of tarragon growing right now. I can immediately reference a list of ideas. At least a few I wouldn't have thought of.
Merrill S. December 5, 2009
Thanks so much for all your thoughts on how to organize the book, everyone! They're really helpful, and since the book will contain your recipes, it's important to us to get your opinions on how it should all come together.
pierino December 5, 2009
I apologize for referring to AntoniaJames as Antonio. That was a typo.
pierino December 3, 2009
Thank you for that.
WinnieAb December 3, 2009
No wildcard winner for week 23 though?
Amanda H. December 3, 2009
We don't post a wildcard winner unless we find a recipe we love. Also, sometimes we fall behind!