Charlotte Druckman is our new virtual food friend. We admire her food writing and are so in love with her column for The New York Times Style Magazine called “We Made It Ourselves” where she focuses on handmade food. We love Charlotte, and asked her to share more about her collaboration with Food52.com and her favorite cookbooks.
Your pals Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs started Food52.com, and you helped them scheme up ‘The Piglet: The Tournament of Cookbooks.’ How did you come up with the idea?
It was so whimsical and serendipitous. Powered by Twitter, actually. Amanda was a judge for The Morning News‘ Tournament of Books. It’s a fiction competition that uses that same bracket system and relies on its incredible roster of well-read, honest, and often quirky judges. The award given out to the best book of the year is The Rooster.
Amanda tweeted about her judging, and I clicked on the link. I wasn’t familiar with the tournament, and as soon as I saw it, I thought, this is awesome, and, simultaneously, why doesn’t this exist for cookbooks? I hadn’t thought it out. There was no master plan to create a tournament. It was a simple thought. And it’s true, if you consider it, the cookbook provides this added, interactive bonus. You read the book, but you also cook it. Seems like it lends itself more readily to competition than fiction.
Anyway, as quickly as I had the thought, I replied, via tweet, to Amanda, asking why such a thing didn’t exist for cookbooks. Literally, that’s how it started. Amanda had no idea who had sent the tweet, she just replied in kind, saying that it sounded like a fun idea. They made it a reality. In so many ways. Obviously, their site, which I’m addicted to, hosted it; but, more than that, working with them was a dream. Every collaboration should be that easy and productive and fun.
Which cookbooks are on your bedside table? Which one are you gathering inspiration from and cooking from regularly?
Not a cookbook, but Calvin Trillin’s Alice, Let’s Eat is at my bedside–it’s a two-fold love letter; it’s addressed to a person, his wife, and, to his other passion, FOOD. I kind of collect cookbooks. I read as many as I can get my hands on, and I flag recipes from all of them.
My constants, though, are the original River Cafe books, Ina Garten’s first two cookbooks, the Bittman/Vongerichten collaboration Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef, and, the tiny book Anne Rosenzweig did on her restaurant Arcadia years ago.
Charlotte is currently co-writing Anita Lo’s first cookbook with her, and just wrote the article she’s been waiting to write for a few years, on women chefs for the 10th anniversary issue of Gastronomica. [This is the third in a series of blog interviews with Charlotte. Read part 1 and part 2.]
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