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The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks

100% Positive Reviews
Rated #18 in Reference


Pros: Fresh, appealing recipes

Cons: Some recipes call for unusual ingredients that might not be for the less adventurous diner


Review by Sharyn Harding


When Merrill Stubbs was assisting Amanda Hesser on The Essential New York Times Cookbook they realized that some of the best recipes had come from home cooks.  Perhaps it’s that whole necessity-as-the-mother-of-invention that gets mothers tweaking recipes to make them easy to prepare or appealing to picky eaters.  To showcase this creativity, the FOOD52 website was created.  They ran recipe contests each week for a year with categories such as Best Apple Cake or Best Recipe for Beans and the winner in each category is presented in the book.


The recipes are grouped by season and all have photos, information about the cooks who submitted the recipes plus feedback from the website.  Since this is a collection from different cooks, there is quite a range of flavors and ethnic influences, but most of the recipes appear rather easy.  And even more importantly, I found them incredibly appealing.  As I first flipped through the pages, I immediately found  recipe after recipe I wanted to try.  For me, this is quite a win.  I already have a lot of cookbooks so was very excited to see so many recipes that seemed fresh and new. 


The first recipe I tried was for Spicy Shrimp and it was fantastic. This consisted of a very simple marinade thrown right into a plastic bag with the shrimp.  After chilling for a few hours, the shrimp were thrown on the grill for 5 minutes and -voila! -irresistible shrimp. The dish got its kick from Sriracha, but had just a touch of sweetness to balance the heat.  This is a recipe I would easily go back to time and time again.


For dessert, I made the Pudding Chomeur, a Canadian dessert that involves baking a buttery biscuit dough in a maple syrup and cream sauce.  I am very glad the comments on this recipe warned me about possible overflow or I would have made a mess in the oven.  But the chomeur was so delicious, I don’t think I would have cared.  The biscuit interior was exactly the right texture to eat with the maple sauce.  It was quite rich, but completely addictive.


The recipe that won week 51’s contest for Best Pork Sandwich was Caramelized Pork Banh Mi.  A pork tenderloin is sliced, pounded thin and marinated, then cooked over high heat and layered with the traditional banh mi accompaniments of pate, lettuce and pickled vegetables in a baguette.  The pork would have easily stood on its own as a delicious entrée, but was a great component in this flavorful sandwich. 


With three out of three winners, I can’t rave about this cookbook enough.  There are still many more recipes I plan to make and I have now started following the food blog to see what their current recipe contests are. 


Spicy Shrimp


Week 6 winner of :  Your Best Shrimp Recipe

1/3 cup Sriracha

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 handful cilantro, roughly chopped, plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon sugar


Freshly ground black pepper

2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined



Mix together the Sriracha, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, cilantro, and sugar. Season aggressively with salt and pepper. Put in a 1-gallon plastic bag, add the shrimp, and mix together in the bag. Marinate in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours. Or longer.

Heat a grill. Skewer the shrimp (4 to 6 shrimp per skewer) and grill until pink and delicious, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Remove the shrimp from the grill, slide the shrimp from the skewer using a fork, and pile on a serving platter. Sprinkle with finely chopped cilantro, and throw a few toothpicks in a few shrimp. Watch them disappear.


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The Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks

The Best Cooks Are Home Cooks Accomplished food writers and editors Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs had a mission: to discover and celebrate the best home cooks in the country. Each week for fifty-two weeks, they ran recipe contests on their website,, and the 140 winning recipes make up this book. They include: Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies Secret Ingredient Beef Stew Simple Summer Peach Cake Wishbone Roast Chicken with Herb Butter These recipes prove the truth that great home cooking doesn’t have to be complicated or precious to be memorable. This book captures the community spirit that has made Food52 a success. It features Amanda’s and Merrill’s thoughts and tips on every recipe, plus behind-the-scenes photos, reader comments, and portraits of the contributors—putting you right in the kitchen with America’s most talented cooks.

AuthorMerrill Stubbs
LabelWilliam Morrow Cookbooks
List Price$35.00
ManufacturerWilliam Morrow Cookbooks
Number Of Items1
Number Of Pages448
Product GroupBook
Product Type NameABIS_BOOK
Publication Date2011-11-15
PublisherWilliam Morrow Cookbooks
StudioWilliam Morrow Cookbooks
TitleThe Food52 Cookbook: 140 Winning Recipes from Exceptional Home Cooks
Release Date2011-10-25
Height1.39 inches
Length9.29 inches
Weight3.09 pounds
Width8.13 inches
Is Eligible For Trade In1
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