Kitchen Resolutions: A New Year is a Chance to Sharpen Your Cooking Skills

A chef adds spices to some cutlets as he prepares a meal featuring vibrant ingredients on a cutting board
01/12/2021

2021 Is Your Year to Conquer the Kitchen

Tie on your apron, press play and get cooking

These days, we’re spending more time than ever at home and that means we’re also in the kitchen cooking more meals. We can choose to look at mealtime as a task or perhaps we can look at it as an opportunity to embrace our kitchens as spaces for personal enjoyment and improvement.

At Audible, we love sharing sizzling titles to enjoy while cooking, and if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to improve your kitchen skills and eat better along the way, a little inspiration can really help. There are many food audiobooks to choose from, but below we’re spotlighting titles that will help motivate you on your journey to culinary self-improvement. These listens will teach you the foundations of cooking, introduce you to the fascinating secrets of culinary culture and entertain you with the personal stories of some of the world’s most interesting chefs and food personalities.

Learn the Building Blocks of Cooking

Collecting recipes is every novice cook’s first foray into the world of the culinary arts. They can be a great way for beginners to build up their confidence. But some recipes, even for all their uses, don’t make the best teachers because they don’t help you build an actual skill set and knowledge base. They tell you what to do, but they rarely tell you why to do it.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

If a recipe makes you feel like you’re laying bricks, this title makes you feel like an architect. For years, chefs and critics around the world have been celebrating Samin Nosrat’s ground-breaking approach to cooking. In Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Nosrat teaches you how to establish a strong base of skills by mastering four simple elements:

  • Salt to enhance the flavour profile of any food
  • Fat to deliver flavour and create texture
  • Acid to create balance and affect other flavours
  • Heat to affect the ultimate outcome of texture and temperature By following the simple rules laid out here, you’ll be inspired to think outside the recipe book and try experimenting with exciting new food combinations.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking

Author:
Samin Nosrat
Narrator:
Samin Nosrat
Length:
5:57
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Good Food Revolution

For some, making the shift to cooking healthier, plant-based meals can be difficult. But with the right motivation, changing habits is possible. If incorporating a healthier, more sustainable food lifestyle seems like an uphill climb, Good Food Revolution will help you understand the food fundamentals.

From growing basil and tarragon on your windowsill to building and maintaining an urban farm, Will Allen’s eco-classic shows you how anyone can make positive changes in their life, at any level.

Part food manifesto, part inspirational memoir, part guidebook to growing healthy, sustainable food, this title will teach you the basics of how to turn a green thumb into a green lifestyle. And for even more audiobooks about gardening, be sure to check out our full selection.

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities

Author:
Will Allen, Charles Wilson - with, Eric Schlosser - foreword
Narrator:
Mirron Willis
Length:
8:17
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Immerse Yourself in Culinary Culture

If the last section taught you how to walk the walk, this one will teach you to talk the talk. This new year, if you’re getting into cooking delicious, healthy, gourmet meals, it helps to immerse yourself in foodie culture. Learn what goes on behind closed doors at swanky restaurant kitchens. Find out what techniques and ingredients make the most famous foodies salivate. And listen to podcasts about the wild, quirky lives of food fanatics.

At Audible, you’ll find lots of great memoirs, tell-all audiobooks and documentary podcasts about food culture. Here, we’ve chosen two terrific titles to get you started.

A father and his children select ingredients from a pantry

Kitchen Confidential

When the late Anthony Bourdain’s classic first memoir burst onto the scene in 2001, it gave audiences a never-before-seen glimpse behind the doors of New York’s high-end kitchen culture. Bourdain gained a reputation as a culinary enfant terrible partly because of the high-tension, high-drama stories listeners will find in Kitchen Confidential.

Bourdain’s been a soldier in many “blood-stained,” “sweat-sodden” kitchens and his colourful military language turns steak knives into sabers and sous chefs into sergeants.

For anyone who wants to up their kitchen game – or simply wants to know more about what really goes on in trendy restaurants – there is a lot to learn from Bourdain, who spent more than 20 years in the kitchen trenches.

For Bourdain, you have to follow your gut when cooking meals. Food is better understood by your belly than your head. Get ready to season your kitchen skills with this no-nonsense approach to food essentials.

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly

Author:
Anthony Bourdain
Narrator:
Anthony Bourdain
Length:
8:19
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

It Burns

From eccentric food engineers to dodgy distillers, the cast of characters you’ll find when you explore any food subculture is guaranteed to be a bit on the wild side. But in our opinion, you’ll find no collection of food enthusiasts quite as unique as the bombastic botanists behind the world’s spiciest chilli peppers.

Marc Fennell’s It Burns was the winner of the Silver Narrative/Documentary Podcast Trophy at the 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards and nominated for the 2019 Rose D’Or award for Audio Entertainment. This audio documentary offers a rare glimpse into this strange world, revealing creativity and competition in equal measure.

With each episode, you’ll meet new “Chilli-heads” and be introduced to an international chilli competition plagued by 10 years of scandal, cheating, performance enhancing drugs and other chilli chicanery.

It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli

Author:
Marc Fennell
Narrator:
Marc Fennell
Length:
2:50
Type:
Podcast Podcast

Field Guide to Eating in Canada

If you’re looking for a slice of Canadian culinary culture, then you’ll love every episode of this new Canadian Original featuring food writer and cookbook author Meredith Erickson.

Get ready to salivate as Erikson takes you on a culinary adventure across Canada, visiting far flung locales, meeting interesting Canadian foodies and — of course — tasting the best meals by some of Canada’s most fascinating cooks.

Serve with a Side of Entertainment

You’ve learned the ins and outs of culinary culture and food science — now it’s time to tie on your apron and get down to business. You’ll want some company while you put your new kitchen skills to work, so press play on these fantastic kitchen memoirs that are guaranteed to educate and entertain as you poach, puree and pickle your way to culinary mastery. You can even master a recipe from Kwame Onwuachi, one of the authors we feature below.

When it comes down to it, these food memoirs are like a perfect stew — an amazing mixture of heady ingredients that combine into a perfect portion of entertainment served with some recipes on the side.

My Life in France

This classic food memoir about Julia Child’s formative years studying the art of cooking in France is an incredibly popular listen and even inspired a Hollywood film starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams.

In this autobiographical love letter to France and the French culinary tradition, Julia Child explores the pleasures of cooking and eating in what she came to call her spiritual homeland.

As Child herself explains, "The sweetness and generosity and politeness and gentleness and humanity of the French had shown me how lovely life can be if one takes time to be friendly." Listeners will lose themselves in the passionate story of Child’s time cultivating friendships, love and a slew of French recipes that would change the American palette upon her return. Along the way, listeners will also gain invaluable knowledge on how to make a better quiche Lorraine or soufflé Grand Marnier.

Embrace your inner cuisinier with this fabulously entertaining memoir, which doubles as a guide for burgeoning chefs who want to learn more about French recipes and techniques.

My Life in France

Author:
Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme
Narrator:
Kimberly Farr
Length:
11:17
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

Notes from a Young Black Chef

There is no shortage of memoirs by chefs and food personalities, but Kwame Onwuachi’s culinary coming-of-age story gives listeners a chance to hear a young Black man’s unique commentary on race, resolve, food and fame.

It’s a story of how a young chef’s love of food helped him to come to terms with how cold and unwelcoming the food world can be for people of colour. This is a refreshing, palette-cleansing exploration of Black culture through the lens of food, and an honest account of the victories and failures associated with chasing your dreams.

When you add this title to your library, you’ll also gain access to a PDF with some of Onwuachi’s favourite recipes, including a delectable gumbo and thyme-scented rice.

Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir

Author:
Kwame Onwuachi, Joshua David Stein
Narrator:
Kwame Onwuachi
Length:
7:37
Type:
Unabridged Audiobook

There’s nothing like mastering a new skill, and when the results are delicious meals that embrace healthy eating — even better!

This New Year, resolve to cook the best meals, use the best ingredients and listen to the best in kitchen-inspired audio entertainment from Audible.ca. Are there any foodie titles you plan on enjoying this new year? Let us know on Facebook.

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