Your Sous Chef for the Evening Will Be Toni Morrison

published Dec 5, 2017
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Holiday cooking is a marathon, not a sprint. Even when you love cooking (hi!), all that chopping and mixing and proving can get a little dull. So this season, we’re inviting some of our favorite authors into the kitchen—and into our earbuds. Audiobooks are the perfect cooking companions: They tell you great stories with no expectation of conversation—difficult when you’re focused on not breaking your béchamel—and they keep a sometimes-lonely task lively.

Penguin Random House Audio has a huge library of great books to welcome into your kitchen, and they’re giving away one free audiobook listen, Swan Huntley’s We Could Be Beautiful. We picked the three titles we plan to cook to over the holiday break, and paired each with the recipe we plan on making. The library is vast, though, so see what titles will make your queue.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Spun off Faris’s popular podcast and narrated by Faris herself, Unqualified is like reading a book by your fearless (and famous) BFF. From embarrassing childhood moments to her marriage and divorce from Chris Pratt, Faris writes with brave vulnerability. If she can do that, you can tackle a more advanced recipe like this from-scratch French Onion Casserole with homemade stock: a little intimidating at first look, but ultimately rich and comforting.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Wait, baste, repeat: Even an easy roast turkey—which this one definitely is—involves a lot of down time. This stunning and powerful novel will make those hours fly by. First published in 1997 and finally available unabridged on audiobook, this was Morrison’s first novel after her 1993 Nobel Prize. Beginning and ending with a massacre, it tells a gripping story of the tension between the men of an all-black town and the women in a nearby former convent. Hearing this mesmerizing prose read for the first time in its entirety by Morrison herself is a gift to the ears.

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Opening with a house fire set by the household’s outsider daughter, Little Fires Everywhere is not a whodunnit but a whydunnit. That house is at the center of a story that revolves around one seemingly perfect family, a couple enigmatic newcomers, and a fraught local adoption case. You’ll be so rapt that you might not even notice when the two hours that the custard needs to set have passed. And who could resist a sweep of the kitchen torch to harden the crackly crust?

Those are three you’ll hear in our kitchens over the holiday break, but there are plenty more to choose from in the Penguin Random House Audio library, like these below.

This post was created by the Kitchn Creative Studio and is sponsored by Penguin Random House Audio.
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