It might be time to listen to your cookbooks

Audiobooks make wonderful road trip companions and are also a wonderful way to wind down at the end of the day. Fiction and autobiographies are the top sellers in this category, and you might not think that a cookbook would do well an audiobook. However, some of them translate exceptionally well to the genre as The New York Times’ Jennifer Reese explains.

Reese discusses four cookbooks and food-related books that are narrated by the authors. She dives into Nigella Lawson’s Cook, Eat, Repeat; David Chang’s memoir Eat a Peach; John O. Morisano and Mashama Bailey’s Black, White and The Grey; and Michelle Zauner’s memoir Crying in H Mart.

While Chang’s and Zauner’s memoirs generally fit the audiobook mold, the other two are not as obviously suited to this format, although Reese finds that they work beautifully. She notes that Nigella’s writing is “funny, casually erudite and seductive,” and that the prose “brings rote directions to life.” This is not a road trip book, warns Reese. As you listen to the vivid descriptions, you will wonder why you aren’t in the kitchen making the recipes instead of being trapped in a car.

Reese feels that while Morisano and Bailey’s recipe writing is not as sensuous as Nigella’s, the story makes up for the somewhat bland recitation of ingredients and directions. Listening to Black, White and The Grey “feels as if you’re overhearing a real conversation about the ways their partnership has been tested,” says Reese.

In any given year, there are dozens of cookbooks filled with lyrical prose and fascinating stories interwoven with the recipes. Perhaps we will see more of them released as audiobooks in the future. and will start asking each other “Have you listened to any good cookbooks lately?”

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  • etcjm  on  May 9, 2021

    I couldn’t agree more. How to cook from Nigella is also excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed Nigel Slater’s Christmas Chronicles while walking the dogs in the snow! It will be an annual listen for me I think. This year – early enough for me to do some of the recipes though…

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