James Beard Award Finalists Announced
This afternoon in Portland, Ore., the James Beard Foundation announced the finalists for its annual awards. Among the cookbook finalist are, for American Cooking: The Food, Folklore, & Art of Lowcountry Cooking, The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual, and Pig. For Baking and Dessert: Good to the Grain, My Sweet Mexico, and Sarabeth’s Bakery. For General Cooking: The Essential New York Times Cookbook, Heart of the Artichoke, and Radically Simple. For Healthy Focus: Clean Start, The Simple Art of EatingWell Cookbook, and The Very Best Recipes for Health. For International: Cook Italy, Oaxaca al Gusto, and Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. For Single Subject: Good Meat, Ham, and Meat. For Photography: The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, Noma, and Tartine Bread. Winners will be announced Friday, May 6.

IACP Finalists Announced

The International Association of Culinary Professionals has announced the finalists for the 2011 Cookbook Awards. This year was one of the most competitive ever; judges selected 52 books out of more than 500 entries, in 17 categories. The list of nominees is available on IACP’s website; the awards will be given out at IACP’s conference in June.

‘Slow Cooker Revolution’ Sales Heating Up
America's Test Kitchen is doing very well with its Slow Cooker Revolution, which dropped February 15. The cookbook has landed on the Washington Post’s bestseller list, and ATK recently went back to press for the third time. According to editorial director Jack Bishop said, the third printing brings the book to 181,000 copies in print.

Ikea Cookbook Wins Design Award

Ikea furniture may be notorious for its diagrams-only assembly instructions, and while that may frustrate many customers, the store’s cookbook, Homemade Is Best, has made waves based on its images alone—which feature all the ingredients for each recipe measured out and beautifully arranged, photographed from above. The Swedish coffee-table cookbook recently won a Brit Insurance Design Award, given out by London's Design Museum. Alas, the book is only available in Sweden for the moment.

Why Celebs Write Cookbooks

Denise Vivaldo, who has written seven cookbooks and contributed to 50 more, lifts the lid on celebrity cookbooks in a piece on the Huffington Post today. Vivaldo, who not so long ago admitted she came up with the idea of Sandra Lee’s infamous Kwanzaa Cake, explains why famous people (who aren’t famous for anything related to food) write cookbooks. “I've worked with many celebrities that write cookbooks. Some are very sincere, some are skanks, some are desperate for the attention, and some want to transition out of what they are doing and broaden their platform. Some just get too old to play the ingénue and don't have the talent to become a character actor. Next career, please.”

Shop at a Fruit Cart, Get a Cookbook

Philanthropist Laurie Tisch has expanded on the $1.5 million in seed money she gave New York’s Green Cart with a cookbook tied to the initiative’s efforts to bring more fruits and vegetables to lower-income neighborhoods. Inside the cookbook are recipes from Tom Colicchio, Jehangir Mehta, Joan Nathan, Jonathan Waxman, and many other chefs and authors.