A fantastic plot and a deliciously decadent sauce have one thing in common — they both thicken with time.
So turn on the stove or open the oven, tune into an audiobook and let the stresses of the day melt away.
Everyone deserves some self care after a busy day, but it can be hard to find the time to unwind and whip up something great to eat. Kill two birds with one stone by indulging in an audiobook while you cook.
Listening to a book will allow any avid reader a chance to multitask and these latest books may just pair better with recipes than a fine wine — but, of course, you can enjoy all three!
Amazon's Audible collection has thousands of bestselling titles and this fall is chock-full of tempting new releasees — from mystery thrillers to a self-help guide for any hard worker.
Listen: "I Eat Men Like Air," by Alice Berman
This Audible Originals Fall Editor's Pick is a riveting thriller that's drawn comparisons to "13 Reasons Why," "A Simple Favor" and "Gossip Girl." In the novel, author Alice Berman, 28, follows a group of affluent 20-somethings who travel to snowy New Hampshire for what should have been a celebratory weekend. But all is not as it seems. Following the untimely death of a billionaire's son (who was once the sole witness in a classmate's rape trial), the characters' lives quickly unravel, mired by deceptions and festering rage. Underneath the book's addictive storyline is a strong female voice foraging the complex landscape of the #MeToo era.
Cook: Penne Alla Vodka
Berman discovered this Italian classic when she was a teenager at boarding school in Connecticut. She began to enjoy it during any celebratory event every time she finished an exam or term paper.
"There was a place a few blocks from campus called Half Moon that we were all devoted to, and everything about the experience was utterly picturesque. You would walk down sidewalks strewn with crisp autumnal leaves, past the classic, white clapboard church that all old New England towns have, and there inside the steamed-up windows was the best penne I've ever eaten," Berman told TODAY.
Fourteen years later, the tradition has stuck.
"When I finish a particularly big chunk of the book, or even a chapter that's difficult to write, I reward myself with a really beautiful plate of penne alla vodka," Berman said. "There is something so warming about eating pasta on a cold night, and, to me, this dish always tastes of accomplishment, no matter how minute the achievement may be."
Listen: "The Sisters," by Dervla McTiernan
Dervla McTiernan wrote "The Sisters" as a prequel to her two-book series about crime-fighting women. The series is now being turned into a movie starring Colin Farrell. Although this book is a prequel, anyone can enjoy the story without hearing the first two. Hailing from Ireland, the author creates a riveting story about two sisters who climb the ranks of the criminal justice system in Dublin. As they investigate a murder case that could determine the fates of their careers, listeners will feel the characters' passion for justice — and their haunting past from which it was born.
In McTiernan's opinion, the best way to settle into her audiobook is with a decadent slice of gingerbread.
"Gingerbread is such comfort food. It is outrageously sweet and sticky and smells completely divine," she said. "It's really made for sharing, so for me it's a dish that's all about sisterhood — an excuse to sit down with a cup of tea and talk."
Listen: "Work It Out," by Mel Robbins
Mel Robbins wrote and narrated this motivational book with the goal of empowering women with various tools that may help them get ahead at work in today's busy world. The bestselling author, who also recorded the book "Take Control of Your Life," includes helpful tips — what she calls "the new rules" — for women in any type of business. "Work It Out" is an easy listen for the kitchen or a morning commute since the chapters and topics are well organized and easily digested.
Make: Crock-Pot Chili
“When I’m busy writing, my favorite thing to eat is anything my husband cooks," Robbins told TODAY.
Among her favorites is this hearty, spicy Crock-Pot chili. Slow-cooker meal prep is ideal for listeners who want to just throw everything in the pot, enjoy a class of wine and let the cooking device do all the heavy lifting.
Listen: "Twisted," by Mary Pilon & Carla Correa
In this Audible Original book, authors Mary Pilon and Carla Correa chronicle the downfall and ensuing trial of Larry Nassar, the U.S. Olympics coach who admitted to sexually abusing his patients for years. Pilon and Correa track and expose the institutions Nassar hid behind, the athletic culture that he benefited from during his tenure and the people who brought him to justice.
This book is unique in that those involved — coaches, parents, industry leaders and even some survivors — speak directly to listeners throughout the narration as they grapple with the truth about Nassar and detail their personal, and often harrowing, experiences.
Make: Banana Bread
During the trips Pilon took to interview coaches, parents and other interviewees for "Twisted," she told TODAY she always stocked up on banana bread to keep her energized and on track. Pilon's secret to an extra-moist loaf? She always uses "super ripe bananas" and almost always adds walnuts, nutmeg and lots of cinnamon to enhance whatever recipe she uses.
Pilon said she also loves a good lasagna recipe when she's working on a long reporting job.
Lasagna "makes a great group meal for a dinner party — or reporting party — and the leftovers are hearty and bomb," she said. "(It) has fueled me through many projects."