When comparing two similar cookbooks head-to-head, it's hard to know which one to buy. It's time a bit of March Madness came to the cookbook selection process.
Enter Food 52's The Tournament of Cookbooks, which is going to pit 16 cookbooks released this year against each other in a bracket-style, single-elimination tournament. The judges are chefs, food writers and Gwenyth Paltrow. A winner will be crowned at a live event in New York City on November 9.
The competing books' subjects include barbecue, cupcakes, canning and meat. If I were a betting man, I'd pick Lobel's Meat Bible in an upset -- this is a family that knows butchering. Their New York store is an institution and they make Kansas City-style baby back ribs. Plus, every house should have a meat bible in a drawer somewhere.
The first battle of the first round has been completed and Chef John
Besh's My New Orleans has been bested by Donald Link and Paul
Disbrowe's Real Cajun. Daniel Patterson, the chef at Coi in San Francisco, explained his decision thusly:
"My New Orleans is more impressive in scope, more beautiful, more at home on the coffee table. But when I'm cooking at home, it's Real Cajun that I want in my kitchen."
We'll be talking to Besh tomorrow to see if he's crushed by the loss. He will be in Kansas City at Jasper's Ristorante to sign copies of his books during a dinner catered by Jasper's on Monday, October 19.