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Tournament of Cookbooks

October 5, 2009

Food52 PigletJust like there are good years, not-so-good years, and great years in the winemaking realm, the same applies to the world of cookbooks. And man, is 2009 a bumper crop. We’re busy filling the Cookstr pipeline with recipes from brand new cookbooks from the likes of Marco Canora, the Lee Bros., Michael Ruhlman, John Besh, Francis Mallmann, and many, many more.

As you probably know, Amanda Hesser’s new website Food52.com is up and running, and the premise is just so much fun. Every week she and her partner Merrill Stubbs pick a theme. Home cooks submit their recipes for dishes on that theme, and Amanda and Merrill test the recipes and pick two finalists. Everyone votes. And the winner goes into their upcoming cookbook. Ta da. But now they are about to launch a new auxiliary contest, one that is near and dear to our hearts here at Cookstr.

Amanda and I had our by bi-monthly coffee at La Colombe down in TriBeCa, and she told me about their upcoming Tournament of Cookbooks, inspired by The Morning News’s Tournament of Books. They selected 16 of the best cookbooks of 2009, and then picked 17 talented and opinionated judges (gee, that must have been hard to find in the food world). A la brackets, or the Final Four, they will narrow down the cookbooks until there is one triumphant winner, who will take home the soon-to-be-coveted Piglet Trophy. You can follow along on Food52.com, and it all kicks off October 14th. On our end, we’d be very interested to hear from you all which book you think should rise to the top of the cream…I am torn between a few here.

Here’s the list–let us know which one you think will be the most sauce-splattered, dog-eared book on your shelf this year (and keep in mind, many of these are soon-to-be-published).

The Books:

Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller

Babycakes by Erin McKenna

Canal House Cooking by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci

Lobel’s Meat Bible by Stanley, Evan, Mark, and David Lobel

Momofuku by David Chang and Peter Meehan

My New Orleans by John Besh

Ratio by Michael Ruhlman

Real Cajun by Donald Link and Paula Disbrowe

Salt to Taste by Marco Canora

Serious Barbecue by Adam Perry Lang

Seven Fires by Francis Mallmann

The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook by Michelle and Philip Wojtowicz, and Michael Gilson

The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern by Matt Lee and Ted Lee

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

Well-Preserved by Eugenia Bone

The Judges:

Grant Achatz

Dan Barber

Elise Bauer

Nora Ephron

Gabrielle Hamilton

David Kamp

Ben Leventhal

Ed Levine

Harold McGee

Gwyneth Paltrow

Grace Parisi

Daniel Patterson

Helen Rosner

Gail Simmons

Jennifer Steinhauer

Kim Sunee

Heidi Swanson

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2009 6:18 pm

    Will have to reserve judgment until some of the books actually come out. But looks like a stellar line up, and tough decisions lie ahead for the judges.

  2. October 5, 2009 6:21 pm

    Excellent choices. Looking forward to the results!

  3. October 8, 2009 11:55 pm

    I’m with Chefgwen, kinda hard to compare and contrast cookbooks that have yet to hit the bookstore let alone my kitchen.

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