Today, the Piglet cookbook tournament released Chef Wylie Dufresne's judgment of Asian Tofu versus Japanese Farm Food. A very accomplished chef known for his work in molecular gastronomy, Dufresne is a thoughtful person. At the outset he wrote, "I wondered if it was not imbalanced to compare the two."
Nancy Hachisu's book, which I cooked from earlier, is a unique survey of a cuisine whereas tofu is a single-subject book that spans the Pacific Ocean. One is relatively broad and the other hyper-specific. We're talking oranges vs. kumquats.
Dufresne cooked a couple of recipes from each of our works and deemed it a stalemate. At the end of the day, it boiled down to pictures and presentation. Japanese Farm Food prevailed over Asian Tofu.
Am I sore? Not really. Dissappointed? Yes, but frankly, not by much. Dufresne's review, just like all the others, was subjective. (Ain't that most of life?) The face-offs are surprising and unusual, tough calls to make for each judge. It was nice to see three Asian cookbooks in the tournament this year.
The Piglet is a fun and great for focused discussion on cookbooks and home cooking. Now if Asian Tofu was reviewed against another tofu book, that would be a different situation . . .
Seriously, the bottom line is this: There are tons of cookbooks published each year and to get into the ring with 16 of the best — that's winning already.
Do you agree or disagree with Dufresne's call? Read his review and vote!
- My thoughts on when Asian Tofu bested Jerusalem (the NY Yankees of cookbooks)
- Fried Ginger Chicken (Karaage) from Japanese Farm Food