Food 52’s 2014 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks


Here we go! It’s the 2014 Piglet from Food 52, their annual tournament of cookbooks, has started. I love it for a couple of reasons; because cookbooks are awesome and the judging panel adds a unique perspective to the books. The lineups of books that go through cookbook bracketville are always notable and this year is no different. And the judges are always interesting and neck-deep in the world of food and moving the conversation of food along.

For the 2014 Piglet, I’m backing Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee. Most know of Edward Lee during his time on Top Chef Texas and he’s been plying his trade at his restaurants in Louisville, Kentucky for some time. What I enjoyed about his book was his storytelling and his perspective from learning in New York to moving to Kentucky and embracing the culture, lifestyle, and purveyors of the Bluegrass State. And the recipes I’ve cooked from his book have been great.

Until we know about a winner, there are three weeks of decisions to be made. I, for one, look forward to reading along. As one does with books.

Here are the books:

  • Balaboosta by Einat Admony
  • Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from our Restaurants to your home by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner
  • Flour, Too by Joanne Chang
  • Fresh Happy Tasty: An Adventure in 100 Recipes by Jane Coxwell
  • Notes from the Larder: A Kitchen Diary with Recipes by Nigel Slater
  • Roberta’s Cookbook by Carlo Mirarchi, Brandon Hoy, Chris Parachini, and Katherine Wheelock
  • Robicelli’s: A Love Story by Allison and Matt Robicelli
  • Saving the Season by Kevin West
  • Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stores from a New Souther Kitchen by Edward Lee
  • Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Quatrano
  • The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin
  • The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
  • The Art of Simple Food II by Alice Waters
  • The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia
  • Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
  • Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon

Here are the judges:

  • April Bloomfield
  • Brian Boitano
  • David Chang
  • Amanda Cohen
  • Nicholas Day
  • Kerry Diamond
  • Tad Friend
  • Andrea Gentl
  • Aran Goyoaga
  • Evan Hansen
  • Kat Kinsman
  • Liz Larkin
  • Joshua Malina
  • Tejal Rao
  • Maxwell Ryan
  • Sam Sifton
  • Christina Tosi
  • Emily Vikre

Anthony Bourdain sounds off

One of my goals is to share what I think is cool in the world of food. Cool is subjective of course, but I think most are under the agreement that Anthony Bourdain is definitely cool. Snarky, opinionated, reverential, voracious; I admire the dude for all of these things, and also for being self-aware enough to be all of these without coming off like a jerk. He loves to share his opinion unapologetically. That’s why I really enjoyed this recent article on MSN. Trust me, you’ll love it because he shares his thoughts on Food Network, reality cooking shows, and the celebrity chef culture we created.

It’s a super fun article. About 20 different angles for Tony to share his opinion, and a unique one at that. He’ll espouse on Rachael Ray (not a fan, but understands her appeal), Iron Chef America (would be even more awesome if they didn’t use knuckleheaded judges), and the Food Network (basically he’s not crazy about their new direction). He’ll also talk about Top Chef, Marco Pierre White, and Alton Brown. One thing I really liked was his rundown of Mario Batali’s show on PBS with Mark Bittman and Gwyneth Paltrow. I agree with Tony that Mario is underutilized and that I could do without Mark Bittman. That dude bugs me. I didn’t agree with all of Tony’s thoughts throughout the article, but I did enjoy that he took a stand on a lot of things and shared his thoughts on what we find ourselves watching often.

I’ve been a fan of Tony Bourdain for a long time. From his books, to his shows, he does all sorts of cool stuff and I’d love to have his job. At the very least, I’d love to go out to dinner with him. That’s why it’s fun to read about what he thinks about things that I find interesting. Fun stuff.

Plus, he and Mario will be in Seattle later this spring! I’d love to go, but it may be too pricey. Maybe I’ll start saving my pennies now or camp outside of Salumi…