What We Learned at the Piglet Party [cookbook gossip]
Besides noticing Seven Fires' cover quick-change act at last night's party to celebrate Food 52's cookbook competition The Piglet, we learned many things. For example, we learned that no matter how delectable the hors d'oeurves on offer, the server carrying the Momofuku pork buns will be assaulted and stripped of her goods within three feet of the kitchen door. We learned that Gabrielle Hamilton, chef at New York's Prune and a Piglet judge, is the sister of Melissa Hamilton, co-author of Piglet runner-up Canal House Cooking, Volume 1 (Amazon), and that they're the daughters of Jim Hamilton of Lambertville, New Jersey's Hamilton's Grill Room.
We also learned some very interesting things on the cookbook front (besides the fact that Peter Meehan's Momofuku followup is going to be a project with the Frankies of Frankie's Spuntino 457 and 17 fame, which is in a certain way the Italian-food equivalent of Momofuku). For starters, we learned that Gabrielle Hamilton's forthcoming Blood, Bones, and Butter, which we had excitedly thought was going to be a cookbook, is not. It'll be a collection of essays — with, we're assured, not so much as a hint of a recipe. But she tends to have a lot to say about food even when she's not telling us how to make it (see: her Piglet judgment), so while we're mildly disappointed, we'll recover.
Piglet winner Kaminsky also had some news (inadvertently revealed by Gail Simmons, but he gamely played along) that made our week: he and D.C.-based superchef Michel Richard are working on a followup to their monstrously awesome (if we do say so ourself; it's one of our all-time favorites — try the asparagus-stuffed salmon or the romaine-on-romaine) Happy in the Kitchen (Amazon). He was mum on the details, except that the book will be entirely devoid of photographs; instead, it will be illustrated with Richard's drawings of dishes, which Kaminsky likened to fashion illustrations. It's early enough in the planning stages that no release date has been announced.