If you follow food sites and current cookbooks, you'll doubtless be aware of Food 52, the website run by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. You will perhaps also know about their annual cookbook tournament, The Piglet, in which a number of this year's best cookbooks are pitted against each other in a kind of March Madness bracket system. Cookbooks are paired up and judged by guest judges, with each round narrowing the contenders until a winner is named.
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This year's third annual Piglet started this week, with Momofuku Milk Bar by Christina Tosi going up against The Family Meal: Home Cooking With Ferran Adria by Ferran Adria, judged by San Francisco culinary bookstore owner Celia Sack. And the winner? Tosi's book, which will go up against Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson, which was picked over Andrea Reusing's Cooking In The Moment by guest judge Nigella Lawson.
The Piglet begins with the Sweet Sixteen round (note to the NCAA: 68? Really?), with 16 cookbooks, and this year's judges include Dorie Greenspan, Ina Garten, Kim Severson and David Tanis. The final winner is picked by Alice Waters.
It's a very fun game, with some great commentary by the judges and a very cool bracket for those of us who are already dreaming our NCAA dreams. The tournament runs for three weeks, with a winner picked each weekday. Last year's winner was Good To The Grain, by Kim Boyce with this writer, judged by Mario Batali. 2009's winner was Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way, by Francis Mallmann with Peter Kaminsky, and judged by Nora Ephron.
Full disclosure: Yes, the book I co-wrote won last year's Piglet. No, Amanda did not ask me to write this piece, nor, sadly, do I have anything to do with the tournament or the site. More importantly, the 2012 men's NCAA basketball tournament begins March 13. Go St. Mary's.