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Attn: Cookbook Addicts (You Know Who You Are!!) - The 2013 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks!

I always look forward to the Piglet's annual list of cookbooks and love to read about their judges experiences with the books. For those of you who have never followed this, judges actually have to read and cook from the books. 2 books are pitted against each other and the winner moves forward. Each round has different judges. I see Melissa Clark & Stanley Tucci are on the panel this year.

Here's the list of books:

A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories - April Bloomfield

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

And here's the link:

http://food52.com/blog/5465_the_2013_...

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  1. "Canal House Cook Everyday" looks like it is creeping onto my wish list as is "Secrets of the Best Chefs: Recipes, Techniques, and Tricks from America's Greatest Cooks"

    1. Thank you, Breadcrimbs, for bringing this to our attention! One more way to lure us even deeper (if this is possible!) into our innocent addiction :)

      I own five of these books, and now very intrigued by Salt, Sugar, Smoke. Anyone has this book?

      1. This thread is so not what I want. (My new year resolution is not to buy more than 6 cookbooks this year).

        4 Replies
        1. re: lilham

          I would fear getting to June and having filled my quota.

          1. re: sr44

            Yes I bought 12 last year. Exactly one a month. I'm trying to halve that this year. So far I've got 3 already :(

            1. re: lilham

              Oh, dear. You will be retiring in a couple of months.

              Will getting rid of cookbooks you own give you a "credit"?

          2. re: lilham

            That is my resolution too! I"m *trying* to stay off threads like this, obviously not very successfully.

          3. Thanks so much, Beadcrumbs. Just what I needed... (cough, cough)

            1. Reminder to self: LIBRARY, LIBRARY, LIBRARY -- the home shelf is full already!

              Thanks for adding to my reading (and cooking) list -- the Beginnings cookbook will be first on my LIBRARY reservations list.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MidwesternerTT

                Wow - Beginnings is great-reading cookbook, with at least a half-dozen recipes I know I can make (familiar ingredients in new combinations / prep techniques) and at least a dozen more with unfamiliar ingredients I'm willing to attempt. The photos are seductive.

              2. thanx
                I just ordered 2 of the books I didn't have. I think I am being compulsive cookbook shopper

                1. This reinforces my intuition that before the year is out, I'll have bought Burma and the Smitten Kitchen book.

                  One that has real appeal at this season is Roots, but I'm wary of single-subject books however well done (I gather this one's very well done).

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ellabee

                    Happy to hear that since it is one of the now 3 I purchased.
                    The other 2-
                    Diane Morgan
                    Diana Henry

                    1. re: ellabee

                      That's funny, I love single subject books - they tend to be some of my favorites in my collection.

                      1. re: flourgirl

                        I can imagine that if I were a baker, some single-topic books would be often-used. What non-baking single-topic books are among your favorites, flourgirl?

                        1. re: ellabee

                          There's so many, I own well over 870 cookbooks. I love many of my pickle making books, I have a lot of confectionary books that are great, I love Nuts in the Kitchen and Party Nuts!, I have many good books on seafood, I have more than a few pizza books I love, I have a lot of books that are only about small plates and appetizers, I have quite a few books that are only about soup, I love live fire cooking and smoking and I have a ton of BBQ/smoking books that are awesome, I have a lot of nice books that are about nothing but vegetables and their preparation, I have quite a few books on ice cream that are really nice, I enjoy making fresh pasta and I have a few nice books on that subject, I have some great books about cheese and cheese-making. I love single subject books that really delve into a topic in a way that books that cover broader topics rarely can.

                      2. re: ellabee

                        I have Smitten Kitchen from the library right now. I just got it yesterday but have marked a number of things that look tasty and doable after work, which is my major cooking constraint. I have a feeling I may end up owning it someday.

                        I had Burma earlier in January - appealing recipes but for me, occasional weekend fare only.

                      3. wow! I don't have any from that list. Guess it is time to do some shopping.

                        1. You are just evil.......and I love it!

                          1. Just popping back to say "you're welcome" to everyone who is "thanking" me for this thread....I knew you'd appreciate it!!

                            ; - )

                            Actually, I think Amazon should thank me!!

                            I just broke down and ordered April Bloomfield's book. I love her food at The Spotted Pig. I wasn't keen on the book cover...

                            1. Did anyone see that Jerusalem was pitted against Andrea Nguyen's Asian Tofu on Day 7 and ... Asian Tofu won ! !

                              http://food52.com/blog/5824-the-tourn...

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: Gio

                                I didn't find Jerusalem lacking in clarity in its instructions. (Which is his main complaint). Isn't it obvious what you do with squash skins? You eat them! And if you don't like them, surely you'd know to remove them before roasting. Can this guy even cook?

                                Same with the sumac and dried shrimps. He lives in manhattan ffs. I am in a medium sized city in the UK and I can find them easily.

                                With a review like this, I don't have any faith in the competition. It's like the reviews I saw for Jamie's 15min meal. Many of the reviewers are just so hopeless that you can't take their words seriously.

                                Edit: It's like potato and carrot skins. You peel or not peel them depending on your preference. I never peel potatoes but do peel my carrots.

                                1. re: Gio

                                  Did you read the comments Gio? Both Yotam Ottolenghi and Andrea Nguyen weighed in. Of course Mr Ottolenghi was gracious and diplomatic. I was really surprised by this outcome and glad that the judge had food cred as I think folks would have been quick to dismiss his views otherwise.

                                  ETA: Of course now I want that tofu book!!! LOL!

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    Actually me too on the tofu book. I dismissed it because I thought it was a book on making your own tofu, which I had no intention of doing. But it seems the book has recipes on cooking tofu.

                                    1. re: lilham

                                      I do think the sales of Asian Tofu are going to soar after this win, lilham. I've been cooking at least one tofu meal a week for some time but I too thought the book was mainly about home made tofu. Guess I'll have to add this cookbook to the already bursting library shelves...

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I'm so glad that I already have both of them, lets put it that way!

                                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      I read the post and comments yesterday, BC. I guess it was before Yotam and Andrea replied. I'll go back and see what they said.

                                      At first I was impressed with the judge's history in the food industry, but after reading his judgement I dismissed the whole thing. Of all places in the world, one can find Anything in NYC!

                                      1. re: Gio

                                        I live near a small town in a generally rural area, but I have as much access to spices and pantry ingredients as the author, or anyone reading his review -- thanks to the magic of ordering online.

                                        Maybe Manhattanites never think to do that, because almost everything can be found in the city. But if I were going to evaluate cookbooks in public, I'd make much more of an effort to acquire the relevant ingredients than Mario Canora did.

                                        1. re: ellabee

                                          I live in a small town, and yet without even leaving it to go to larger urban areas just a few miles away I can find dried shrimp and sumac. I found that part of the review very odd.

                                        2. re: Gio

                                          I wasn't put off by him saying he couldn't find the ingredient since he did say he looked in his neighbourhood in a few places beyond his initial stop at Whole Foods:

                                          <<Dried shrimp (Asian Tofu) and Sumac (Jerusalem) have yet to make it to the aisles of Whole Foods Market and even after visiting some specialty markets in my Manhattan neighborhood, I had to make do without either, which was frustrating, especially since neither author recommends any substitutions or discusses the impact that omitting obscure ingredients might have on the final product.>>

                                          What struck me as odd was his characterization of sumac and dried shrimp as "obscure" ingredients. I wouldn't have thought that was the case.

                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            I am sure u can find both at http://www.kalustyans.com/
                                            or in Chinatown. You may also find dried shrimp at HMart in Koreatown(32-33 St.)

                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Then, of course, all that begs the question: why didn't he simply choose a different recipe?

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                Good point Gio. But then I found his first dish selection; the Turkey & Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion & Cumin to be an odd choice for someone who later confesses to not being a fan of cumin or cayenne. FWIW, mr bc isn't a big fan of cumin or a lot of heat and he really enjoyed those burgers. In fact, looking back on my review, it was one of his favourites in the book.

                                                Interesting though that the lack of appropriate ingredients didn't appear to have a detrimental effect on his opinion of the other book.

                                                Was this guy on Top Chef or one of those shows? Chef Canora seems to ring a bell for me...

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  "Marco Canora is the chef and owner of Hearth, Terroir, Terroir TriBeCa and Terroir Murray Hill in Manhattan, and the newly opened Terroir Park Slope in Brooklyn."

                                                  ..."Hearth, where Marco's seasonal American cooking with Italian influences has earned a loyal following and critical acclaim, including a James Beard Award nomination for Best New Restaurant. "

                                                  "Marco's first cookbook Salt to Taste (Rodale Books, October 2009) was nominated in 2010 for the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Award in the General Cooking category."

                                                  http://food52.com/the-piglet/judgemen...

                                                  You probably own his cookbook, BC... LOL And with a title like "Salt To Taste" he's criticizing Ottolenghi for not clarifying his instructions?

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Surprisingly I don't have the book but you definitely made me look. mr bc just solved the "Chef Canora" puzzle...he was a contestant on Iron Chef America.

                                            2. re: Gio

                                              I just read his review, and you can add me to the list of unimpressed. It's not even his ultimate choice (I adore Jerusalem, and haven't even looked at Asian tofu), but his attitude. Ingredients too hard to source? BS. I lived in Manhattan for years and things like sumac and dried shrimp were certainly readily available; his complaint is that he can't get them *in his neighborhood*. He goes on to knock Jerusalem because you'd be in for problems if you didn't carefully read the recipe through before beginning. Isn't that Cookbook Use 101?

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                I can get sumac and dried shrimp here in Bloomington, Indiana, and have been able to for decades.

                                            3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                              Readers who have posted on the site STRONGLY disagree, as do I.
                                              http://food52.com/the-piglet/judgemen...

                                          2. Salt, Sugar, Smoke v. Japanese Farm Food was another dumb review. Chris Ying didn't even want to discuss the recipes he cooked and actually writes "I don’t really feel like it’s fair to judge cookbooks based on meals I cooked from them." Seriously?? He basically ended up picking Japanese Farm Food because he likes Japanese food.

                                            1. How could I have missed this? Thanks Breadcrumbs ;)

                                              1. Well, I love Jerusalem. It's one of my favorite cookbooks in a long while. I also live in central IL and have been able to get the ingredients I've needed for the recipes. And sometimes I skin my butternut squash, and sometimes I don't. And I always read a recipe through completely before thinking about making it, if only to decide what I want to do differently.

                                                But I still love the piglet.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                  :: But I still love the piglet. ::

                                                  Yeah, the unfair upsets are part of the appeal -- just as with next month's more mass-media bracketed competition.