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The Piglet2015 / First Round, 2015

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Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts vs. A Kitchen in France

Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts

Brooks Headley

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A Kitchen in France

Mimi Thorisson

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Judged by: Adam Roberts

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Adam Roberts is the creator of the award-winning food blog, The Amateur Gourmet (now in its 10th year), and the author of Secrets of the Best Chefs and The Amateur Gourmet: How To Shop, Chop, and Table-Hop Like A Pro (Almost). Roberts has written across a variety of mediums, including articles for Food & Wine Magazine, Salon.com, The Huffington Post, and Epicurious.com. He's also hosted and developed several shows for Food Network online. He currently lives in Los Angeles with his partner, Craig Johnson, co-writer and director of "The Skeleton Twins."

The Judgment

 

 

And the winner is…

Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts

Brooks Headley's Fancy Desserts

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Do you Agree? (158 comments)

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24 days ago heather

Adam Roberts what a truly unkind manner you used in reviewing the work and life of another human being. Your words try to reduce someone's vast sense of joy, generous-spirit, incredible hard work & integrity into a seemingly shallow & feckless persona. You must not have seen how cruel your words could be interpreted before you gleefully published them, so I will tentatively give you the benefit of the doubt. It's a shame that you do not relate whatsoever to the elegance, sense of harmony & authentically good living that her blog and books inspire to many, but to each their own. I find only great inspiration in who she is and how her and her husband craft their life based on their values. How truly wonderful! :) I do understand now however how you just may not be able to relate; as an American male you probably have a very different outlooks and I wonder if it would be equivalent to me reading a book about how to repair cars (I wouldn't be able to relate!) But I do think there is a lesson in here for you to be aware of, (because I was honestly shocked at how callous your words were) and that is to please critique others with the idea that they will a) read it personally, and b) possibly have an opportunity to review you and your work one day. Best regards, Heather.

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about 1 year ago Jaye

Thanks Carla for introducing the cookbook My little Cuisine I will research and see what recipes tickle my fancy. Happy to note that we still have humble people in the world. We need them.
Best wishes

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about 1 year ago Carla

Not impressed with Ms Thorisson feeling the need to respond. She should have followed her "never complain or explain" dictate, that would have been so much more chic. The photographs on her blog are beautiful, the recipes look very good and she must be a real expert in the kitchen, but I don't bother to read her prose, it's not that well written and the tone is overwrought. I'd rather read a novel. I speak fluent French (my husband is French) and so lately I get most of my recipes from Elle a Table or My Little Cuisine by Marie Leteure. My Little Cuisine features hundreds of excellent recipes, zero photos of the author and a very brief and humble personal note of thanks by the same at the end. I prefer French humility to American prideful marketing. (I know, you didn't think the French were humble, but in so many ways they are far more so than Americans!) In fact I wasn't able to find any photo or personal information about Marie Leteure online. I like that.
On the other hand, I have adored Nigella Lawson for about 15 years. I still read How to Eat just for the pleasure, and along with Nigel Slater I think it's one of the best cookbooks ever, especially for general things like how to cook meat, even as I don't really used any of her spelled-out recipes anymore. Nigella writes so well. So I guess Mimi for the photos (though I've unsubscribed, I moved on), Nigella for the prose (never tiresome even when she repeats herself from book to book), and Marie Leteure for the actual recipes (delicious and nourishing).

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about 1 year ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

Well said.

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about 1 year ago Min

Not really. Although perhaps she should not have given this review the dignity of a response as it is merely comic fodder, I think she is a wonderful writer and an even better cook.

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over 1 year ago maya


Never thought I will have to comment the blog. But I have to as I’m a client of blogger’s and I want to be able to get good, useful and TRUE information via blogs. I want to be inspired and informed by you. Thanks for all good bloggers for their nice and useful job!

In order to defend the reader, the client of the blogger, it is important to admit that presented analysis of those two books were not a quality one, not a playful one even if it was done in a playful style. Game is a game, but it also has to be honest and fun. Analysis has to be honest. What was written about Mimi’s book was kind of belittling.

I stuck on Mimi’s book on the food blogger’s site while searching for a QUICK recipe and was happy to find this blog as it was nice for me, informative. I was very happy that author of that blog was reviewing cook books. I was so happy to get more information. Her opinion about Mimi’s book made me think that the book and its author isn’t worth to be explored more as … above her written opinion that this lady is puffed-up and so her book too, even the recipes might be good, were the pictures of the book with I would say not clever text. There were no written note that the text isn’t Mimi’s.

Negative and not honest critic was spreaded and it affected me too. I also thought: “what a strange author of the book - to write in such a style about herself”…So I didn’t check her book nor her site more deeper. I was very happy to read some pages on amazon of the book HERITAGE which was promoted in that blog positively. Mimi’s book was forgotten without more attention.

I was so happy about that food bloggers blog (I love all informative blogs which shows me new, valuable things) so I continued to read it until I stuck on a chapter MOTHER’S DAY. I was surprised. She described her mother’s day as if she was a hero that day, she showed how important she is, what a special person she is. And its ok. She has the right. This is her point of view, unless many people who do not have such good conditions and have to save money for more important things would tell that it is a joy to have such a Mothers day: with even simple cookies, flowers, possibility to drive a child to a club, even it is done only by her.
What was not ok, that in her opinion Mimi was a puffed up lady and her book should be the same.

There are so many people living so modestly that food bloggers and cooks can seem for them “puffed up” as they cant afford such ability to cook...


Then I “amazoned” Mimi’s book “A Kitchen in France” and read her article in her blog. I have to say I like this book. When you read THE BOOK, not that uninformative and useful for misleading “strip”, then you get more real picture as you are not influenced! Even the book was not completely my cup of tea, it was useful to read it and it was truly nice. I was happy I checked it. I loved to see relaxed and happy kids, nice surroundings and to learn a little more of Mimi, to feel good, positive atmosphere. I loved the part about her granny and her aunt. Mimi has her unique style, so as her husband who created pictures via his, husband’s eye (in my opinion it is felt in the pictures and if I may say, the one may feel a little bit “outside” that silent communication between Mimi and someone behind the camera). But it is their right to have their own style like all people do and still be respected and not misrepresented.

Good luck for all food bloggers and cooks.

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over 1 year ago Anne Hopkins

Sheesh -what's with all the attacks on Mr. Roberts? The latest suggests that he compared Ms. Thorisson's recipes to Paula Deen; this is absolutely not true. He contrasted her recipes to Paula Deen, saying that he loved her recipes and citing a fois gras terrine with Armagnac as something you would not find in Ms. Deen's work. I have been astonished at the vitriol in many of the rebuttals to Mr. Robert's review - far more cutting and angry than what they seem to be projecting on poor Mr. Roberts. I thought that his reviews were thoughtful (he even engaged some other folks to help him judge) and humorously presented. Very creative of him. Really, all you Roberts defamers should switch to decaf. You seem to be the unhappy ones in this conversation. And hey - the Brooks Headley book WON the competition.

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over 1 year ago Marcellene

I found this review to be immature and, frankly, ridiculous. Mr. Roberts is obviously an unhappy person. Why don't you review the recipes and not attack the author and family? I have A Kitchen in France and have tried many of the recipes. They have turned out beautifully and been delicious. To compare her recipes to Paula Deen is really nasty - have you tried her Watercress Veloute? Have you tried ANY of the recipes?

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over 1 year ago Carmen D.

I happen to love Mimi Thorisson's blog and book. Unfortunately these two books should never have been pitted against each other. It's like comparing Disneyworld Main Street to the gardens of Versailles. Las Vegas to Paris. Hallmark cards to the letters of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone De Beauvoir. Archie and Reggie to Madame Bovary. A matter of taste.

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about 1 year ago Min

Agree. Apples to oranges.

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over 1 year ago camilla_v_saulsbury

I am like Nicola in that I read this after reading assorted critiques and commentaries. Now that I've read it, I have nothing but praise for Roberts. This is BRILLIANT. Spot. On. And funny. Not mean funny. Funny. Inspired. Thoughtful. Thank you.

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over 1 year ago nicola

I read this review after hearing about the brouhaha surrounding it. I consider myself a[n] [overly] sensitive person, yet I thought this review was neither cruel nor overly negative. You made observations. You made positive comments. And you chose one book over another. Moving on......

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over 1 year ago vevericka

Yes. Agreed about Mimi Thorisson's book, completely. In fact I unfollowed her a long time ago bc she and her signature smirk seem to have either a serious lack of understanding of the world beyond her demi-monde or a very good understanding and (like many wealthy people) just enjoys just being aspirational. Compare her to Nigella Lawson and it is even more clear. (I bring Nigella up because blogs and commenters are currently bemoaning the tone of this review and how this kind of "negativity" is motivated by lack and jealousy.) Nigella shows how to be gorgeous, sexy, have tremendous wealth AND connect with others who don't have the same. She has the good sense and grace to find points of connection between herself/her fabulous life and the rest of a wide scope of humanity that loves what she does (i.e., busy lives, kids, mess, etc.). To those complaining, bringing up Mimi Thorssun's life, or at least how she presents it, in a review of a book in which her aspirational life plays a huge part of what she is selling is absolutely fair. It is not a throw-away, unnecessary blog comment, it is a review of her book and polite cheerleading is not an honest review.

But I also agree that putting these two books up against each was an odd choice.

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over 1 year ago SpinachTiger

I hate being entertained by "snarky." He must be having personal career problems because my motto is Love What You Do and You'll Love Who You Are. When you Love you who you are, you're kinder to others, especially in your own field! I'm going to have unsubscribe to a blog right now. And, when I do a cookbook, please never include me. ANd, just on purpose, I'm buying the pretentious book, because you know, that's what we like to see. If we didn't, Pinterest would be a failure and so would Instgram.

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almost 2 years ago lbrussell

I don't have first-hand familiarity with either of these books so I can't comment on the content, but the review just seems like such a personal attack as opposed to a constructive critique. If the authors had submitted their books, I feel like there would be slightly more room for an "anything goes" review, but presumably someone at Food52 crafted these brackets based on their favorite cookbooks of the year. If authors feel like they may be ripped to shreds on a personal level, inclusion in the Piglet may not seem so appealing.

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almost 2 years ago Sylvia

one of the best cooking book reviews I've ever read, great!

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almost 2 years ago jamcook

Dear Adam..I have been missing from most of the piglet, as I was in the hospital, having a rather hair raising emergency surgery. My son handed me your review to read in the surgical ICU and I laughed so hard, I needed morphine. Don't laugh in the ICU.
But the laugh was good, and the review was brilliant. ,my life was never perfect, but I am sure, neither is hers. The zillion dogs have accidents on the carpet, the kids. Whine and throw up like everyone else's kids. She has a pregnancy like everyone elses, even though her belly is covered by a sun hat.
Iam just grateful to you for an original format, and a laugh , more so now that I am home and better. Thank You

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about 1 year ago Min

It was really stupid, his review. It must have been your drugs if you laughed so hard. Morphine will do that to you.

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almost 2 years ago Imen McDonnell

Hmmm. Might be better to judge two books that are more similar, like two books written by blogging home cooks or two books written by pastry/dessert chefs? I own both of these books and both are outstanding, for very different reasons.

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almost 2 years ago Susan Knob

kind of like Mystery Science Theatre where the focus is on making fun of a movie, rather than the movie itself.

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almost 2 years ago stefanie

I actually agree with the result of this review, but wow, its delivery is not funny, and is so mean-spirited. Adam's comic has an air of affected nonchalance such that he ends up coming off as the pretentious one. He asserts that 'raw and rough' is somehow superior to polished, when his comic demonstrates the opposite: some polish would have reminded him that it's plain nasty to insult someone because of how they look or how they dress.

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about 1 year ago Min

It's almost like he had nothing really to say and just went for the easy attack of criticizing her her obviously gorgeous book, lifestyle, family and self. What a whack-job.

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almost 2 years ago Tatiana

Don't know what else to say other than, I completely and totally disagree with this review. While I wish I had time to cook from "A Kitchen in France" every day, the days I do cook recipes from it are days where the food is satisfying and delicious. I don't find anything pretentious about it.

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almost 2 years ago Emilie Sholomytska

Ha ah ha, yes it is pretentious, but I didn't buy it for the recipes, those are an add-on. I bought it for the aesthetics, the photographs. It is actually on my coffee table. If I'd bought it for the recipes, the book would be in a bookshelf somewhere in my house, never to be used again.

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almost 2 years ago Stacey Snacks

I love Mimi, and I love Adam.
Is it possible to be a fan of both blogs? I have read Amateur Gourmet for 7 plus years, and Mimi's for the last 3. I enjoy them both, though couldn't be more different.
I have met Mimi in person and she is not only naturally beautiful, but talented, kind and humble. I read her blog because I love her lifestyle and would love to live in the French countryside instead of the NJ suburbs, cooking in Louboutins, why not?.........I hope to visit her chateau this September when we are in Medoc.

I love Adam's blog for his witty NY snarky sense of humor and sarcasm. I have both blogs on my sidebar to read daily.
However, I feel Adam took an ugly turn and was a bit of a "Piglet" to Madame Mimi, who took it too personally.

I have a food blog for 7 years, and it is very hurtful when people attack your appearance, lifestyle and work. I work very hard at what I do for very little pay, so please keep your nasty "anonymous" comments to yourself.
You can say whatever you like about my food. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Enough said. :)

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almost 2 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

@Stacey Snacks - You were so unimpressed with the Piglet you attended last year (your comment on Mimi Sore Loser's Blog) why bother commenting on this years? I see that Mimi has removed all comments that defended Adam, the Piglet & food52. Send Mimi my best.

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almost 2 years ago Susan Knob

Well said!

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almost 2 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Chops is a trusted home cook.

Thank you Susan! lol.