Cooking requires a good amount of motivation. Yes, we are talking about authentic cuisine, not minute rice, and definitely not the microwavable dinners secretly stuffed in the back of your freezer. For the less experienced chefs, what you need is some advice. Rather than recommending recipe books that will end up sitting on your kitchen counter defaced by ingredients, we are encouraging you to try out these audiobook narrated by uplifting voices.
Captions courtesy of publishers’ summaries.
1. Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation written and narrated by Michael Pollan
In Cooked, Michael Pollan explores the previously uncharted territory of his own kitchen. Here, he discovers the enduring power of the four classical elements – fire, water, air, and earth – to transform the stuff of nature into delicious things to eat and drink. Apprenticing himself to a succession of culinary masters, Pollan learns how to grill with fire, cook with liquid, bake bread, and ferment everything from cheese to beer. In the course of his journey, he discovers that the cook occupies a special place in the world, standing squarely between nature and culture. Both realms are transformed by cooking, and so, in the process, is the cook.
2. Ingredienti: Marcella’s Guide to the Market written by Marcella Hazan/Victor Hazan and narrated by Elizabeth Wiley
When Marcella Hazan died in 2013, the world mourned the passing of the “Godmother of Italian cooking”. But her legacy lives on, through her cookbooks and recipes, and in the handwritten notebooks filled with her thoughts on how to select the best ingredients – Ingredienti. Her husband and longtime collaborator Victor has translated and transcribed these vignettes on how to buy and what to do with the fresh produce used in Italian cooking, the elements of an essential pantry, and salumi.
3. The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection written by Michael Ruhlman and narrated by Donald Corren
In his second in-depth foray into the world of professional cooking, Michael Ruhlman journeys into the heart of the profession. Observing the rigorous Certified Master Chef exam at the Culinary Institute of America, the most influential cooking school in the country, Ruhlman enters the lives and kitchens of rising star Michael Symon and the renowned Thomas Keller of the French Laundry. This fascinating audiobook will satisfy any listener’s hunger for knowledge about cooking and food, the secrets of successful chefs, at what point cooking becomes an art form, and more.
4. 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line written by Eric Ripert and Veronica Chambers
Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as “heartbreaking, horrifying, poignant, and inspiring”, 32 Yolks is the brave and affecting coming-of-age story about the making of a French chef, from the culinary icon behind the renowned New York City restaurant Le Bernardin.
Taking us from Eric Ripert’s childhood in the south of France and the mountains of Andorra into the demanding kitchens of such legendary Parisian chefs as Joël Robuchon and Dominique Bouchet, until, at the age of 24, Ripert made his way to the United States, 32 Yolks is the tender and richly told story of how one of our greatest living chefs found himself – and his home – in the kitchen.
5. The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food written and narrated by Dan Barber
Traditionally, Americans have dined on the “first plate”, a classic meal centered on meat with few vegetables. Thanks to the burgeoning farm-to-table movement, many people have begun eating from the “second plate”, the new ideal of organic, grass-fed meats and local vegetables. But neither model, Barber shows, supports the long-term productivity of the land. Instead, he calls for a “third plate”, a new pattern of eating rooted in cooking with and celebrating the whole farm – an integrated system of vegetable, grain, and livestock production.
6. The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World written by Sandor Ellix Katz and narrated by Scott Brick
The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Ellix Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide listeners through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners. While Katz expertly contextualizes fermentation in terms of biological and cultural evolution, health and nutrition, and even economics, this is primarily a compendium of practical information – how the processes work; parameters for safety; techniques for effective preservation; troubleshooting; and more.
7. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn and narrated by Marguerite Gavin
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn’s “chefternal” instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals. The Kitchen Counter Cooking School includes practical, healthy tips that boost listeners’ culinary self-confidence, strategies to get the most from their grocery dollars, and simple recipes that get listeners cooking.
Book covers courtesy of Amazon
Feature image courtesy of The Huffington Post