The Piglet is here!

The Piglet competitors

For the past several years, Food52, inspired by The Morning News’ Tournament of Books, has presided over The Piglet, a tournament of cookbooks. Sixteen notable cookbooks compete head to head in a bracket, each winner advancing to the next level, until a champion in crowned. Previous winners of the competition include A Girl and Her Pig by April Bloomfield and The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts by David McMillan, Frederic Morin, and Meredith Erickson.

The judges for this year’s competition include luminaries like April Bloomfield, author of last year’s winning cookbook; Christina Tosi of Momufuku Milk Bar fame (the 2012 Piglet runner-up); former Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano, self-proclaimed “braiseaholic” and star of Food Network and Cooking Channel’s What Would Brian Boitano Make?; and lesser-known people like Nicholas Day, a writer for Slate and Food52; and Liz Larkin, owner and operator of Mrs. Larkin’s, a micro-bakery in Pound Ridge, New York.

Eat Your Books members will recognize most of the cookbooks in the competition, and many are discussing the competition in our member forum. Round one featured, among other contests, Whole Grain Mornings (read our interview with author Megan Gordon) vs. Summerland: Menus and Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Quatrano. Summerland eked out a victory. Other first round winners include The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin, and The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia. The cookbook in this competition gracing the most EYB member shelves, Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison, is facing Saving the Season: The Essential Guide to Home Canning, Pickling, and Preserving by Kevin West. Results for that matchup have not yet been posted.

While all of the cookbooks in this year’s Piglet are worthy competitors, Pok Pok, which topped EYB’s “Best of the Best 2013,” was notably absent from the bracket. In fact, there was not much overlap between our top 10 and Food52’s selections, but with so many excellent cookbooks available, that is not surprising. Of the sixteen books, my money is on The A.O.C. Cookbook, but I’m hoping the Robicellis will stage an upset. Which cookbook are you rooting for?

Photo courtesy Food52

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  • nicolepellegrini  on  February 16, 2014

    Hmm, I don't have any of these cookbooks, so I can't comment. But I don't tend to buy the newest and the latest titles; I'm more of an old cookbook hoarder who affords her addiction–er, habit–by haunting used book stores. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • ellabee  on  February 16, 2014

    There's also a thread in the Forum about the Piglet, with EYB popularity and indexing stats of this year's entries.

  • darcie_b  on  February 16, 2014

    ellabee – I know, that's how I found out about it! ๐Ÿ™‚ (I linked to the forum discussion in the blog post.)

    nicole – I don't have any of the books, either, but I'm thinking about the Robicelli book. I do the same thing you do for cookbooks – haunt the used book stores (and drop hints for my birthday). Also, sometimes there are crazy good specials on amazon or ecookbooks – I got two of Dorie Greenspan's books for $12 total.

  • DKennedy  on  February 17, 2014

    My money is on A.O.C. I have and love Sunday Suppers, and recently added A.O.C. to my collection. The two books are very different, and compliment each other beautifully. Though I have only experimented with a few recipes from A.O.C. at this point, each one has been very good. I still am undecided if the recipes will stand up to Sunday Suppers', a very tall order.

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