This week marks an important moment for our community and for our company. In 2009, we set out to create a new kind of online food site and community -- one that would be inspiring, curated and most important, participatory. We hoped to attract great cooks from all over who could come together to share not only their excellent recipes, but their cooking insights, product suggestions, beautiful photography, and witty comments! We wanted it to be a beautiful place where people were nice to each other, where we'd feel inspired, and where we'd learn and become better, more confident cooks.
We got started with cookbooks -- we wanted to create a new kind of cookbook, one that was crowdsourced and curated, and we figured if that went well, then perhaps we were onto something. We signed on with Harper Collins to make two cookbooks over the course of two years. For the first 52 weeks, we ran two themed recipe contests a week to come up with the winning recipes for the first book. And then just before we collapsed from exhaustion, thanks to Merrill's wise thinking, we trimmed back to one contest a week for the second book.
During the second 52 weeks, we refined our process, involving the growing Food52 community even more in the process of testing recipes, suggesting themes, and voting. We also worked on our food styling and the book design, toning down the colors and letting the food do the talking -- much as it does here on the site. This week, the second volume came out and, although we're biased, we think it's a beauty!
There are 75 recipes, hundreds of photos, helpful comments from Food52ers who have made the recipes, and menus galore. We hope you like it.
Most of all, we're proud of what we've done together as a community. We've made two great books, and a site that's so much better than what we even imagined. We look forward to our future projects, but for now, we raise a glass to you!
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).
Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.