The Piglet

The 2013 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks!

January 11, 2013

The Piglet is fast approaching...

Starting on Wednesday, February 6th, 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 yea or nay on each day's outcome until only one remains -- the 2013 Piglet winner. As a bonus this year, we'll be releasing one Piglet Community Pick each day -- judged by none other than our wonderful community -- until all ten are revealed.

And of course, you're invited to our much-anticipated Piglet party! We'll update you with details very soon.

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

Adam Sachs, writer and contributing editor at Travel + Leisure and Bon Appetit
Nathan Williams, editor-and-chief of Kinfolk, and Julie Pointer, features editor at Kinfolk 
Chris Ying, editor-in-chief of Lucky Peach 
Meredith Erickson, cookbook author, and David McMillan and Frédéric Morin, cookbook authors, chefs, and owners of Joe Beef
Elizabeth Spiridakis, art director at Bon Appetit
Shauna and Danny Ahern, cookbook authors and bloggers at Gluten Free GIrl and the Chef 
Melissa Clark, cookbook author and writer for The New York Times 
Marco Canora, chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author
Kurt Andersen, novelist, host, and co-creator of Studio 360
James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur 
Wylie Dufresne, chef and owner of wd~50 
Bryant Gumbel, television journalist and sportscaster
Danny Meyer, book author and restaurateur
Stanley Tucci, actor, writer, film producer, and film director
Fergus Henderson, London-based chef and restaurateur

Now what you've all been waiting for, the official list of contenders for the 2013 Piglet. Our official brackets are here -- you can download and print them out, fill in your predictions, and follow along with the competition!

Dirt Candy: A Cookbook: Flavor-Forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant
Amanda Cohen

Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal
Chris Cosentino

Burma: Rivers of Flavor
Naomi Duguid

Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream Book
Jake Godby, Sean Vahey, and Paolo Lucchesi

Small Plates & Sweet Treats: My Family’s Journey to Gluten-Free Cooking
Aran Goyoaga

Japanese Farm Food
Nancy Singleton Hachisu

Salt, Sugar, Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat, and Fish     
Diana Henry

Canal House Cooks Every Day
Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel

Little Flower: Recipes from the Café
Christine Moore

Roots: The Definitive Compendium with More Than 225 Recipes
Diane Morgan

Asian Tofu: Discover the Best, Make Your Own, and Cook It at Home
Andrea Ngyuen

Jerusalem: A Cookbook
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
Deb Perelman

Secrets of the Best Chefs: Recipes, Techniques, and Tricks from America's Greatest Cooks
Adam Roberts


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.

  • Morgan Riggs
    Morgan Riggs
  • Carolyn Z
    Carolyn Z
  • Barbara Sheridan
    Barbara Sheridan
  • Dina Moore-Tzouris
    Dina Moore-Tzouris
  • raspberryeggplant
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Morgan R. February 7, 2013
Asian Tofu without a doubt. Its a great cookbook, a wonderful learning tool, and a good read as well.
Carolyn Z. February 6, 2013
I vote for Japanese Farm Food and Bouchon Bakery!
Barbara S. February 5, 2013
We're cheering on LITTLE FLOWER! A marvelous book, and Bakery/Cafe in Pasadena, CA
Dina M. February 5, 2013
ottolenghi! ottolenghi!(I'm cheering). every recipe is devine. his meringues are the best in the world.
Dina M. February 5, 2013
sorry for the typo...not so divine.
raspberryeggplant February 5, 2013
Definitely Dirt Candy. It's the only cookbook in my collection that I've read cover to cover, much less in one sitting. It's hilarious, honest, and most of all, enlightening and instructional.
Amberkaribe February 5, 2013
I would choose Canal House Cooks. At the same time many excellent cookbooks.
bexcellent February 5, 2013
Dirt Candy was my favorite cookbook that I haven't cooked from in a long time. I actually stayed up late reading it and laughing. I hope the judge appreciates the differentness as much as I did.
Jmolaei February 4, 2013
It will be difficult job for the judges - so many great books to choose between. I'm glad you're featuring Diana Henry's latest. It's a great book!
Julie M. February 4, 2013
I really think it is offensive for the chef to have a dead pig slung over her shoulder, and it certainly allienates a number of potential followers.
Mary F. February 4, 2013
I have to go with Jerusalem! It was a difficult decision, that's for sure!
Christy S. February 4, 2013
Roots by Diane Morgan. Awesome book! (Though in my heart, I'd say the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook should win because dessert ALWAYS wins! :)
Samantha A. February 4, 2013
I definitely think Jerusalem is going to win. It's all anyone talks about these days!
Kim O. February 4, 2013
I'm rooting for Jerusalem!
Brick O. February 4, 2013
This is tough, going with The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.
butterygoodness February 4, 2013
Jerusalem FTW!
Drea29 February 4, 2013
Little Flower is a wonderful cookbook!! She serves up really delicious savories and sweets at her cafe. Easy to follow scrumptious recipes and beautiful photos. Great story too.
umhamzah February 2, 2013
jerusalem all the way! great cookbook!
Cathalina February 1, 2013
Agree. I'm really disturbed by the "Girl and Her Pig" photo. Really, did she have to sling the poor thing over her shoulders?!
dymnyno February 1, 2013
Actually, I had to pick up a pig for a roast . It was surprisingly bloodless and no worse that a slab of bacon. I didn't look it in the eye, though.
paseo February 3, 2013
It's deceased and I doubt that it cares
AngelaM-E February 5, 2013
I agree, Cathalina. To pose for a picture like that seems disrespectful to the pig, but then again I'm a vegetarian and not her target audience anyway.
GenaCooks February 5, 2013
I think it actually shows respect for the pig. For those of us who eat meat, it is important to be mindful of where the meat comes from and how animals are raised. It is disrespectful to purchase poorly raised meat and act like we believe it came from a styrofoam carton rather than an animal. Yet I also have to chime in with another hooray for Dirt Candy. It's awesome!
Matrish January 30, 2013
Wow! I'm glad I'm not a real judge! All of these cookbooks are amazing. Can't wait until it starts!
Suzi J. January 30, 2013
Have been on an absolute smitten kitchen cookbook tear for weeks now. Have not stopped making her recipes and so far have had all winners. Someone just must make the chocolate silk pie and tell me if that is not a winner- put a wee bit more salt in the crust than recipe calls for and watch people's eyes light up!,,