Author J. Ryan Stradal‘s debut novel, KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST, is a unique and enticing work of fiction. Each chapter provides the story of a single dish and character, and the entire novel is sprinkled with tasty recipes (including ones for French Onion Soup, Chocolate Chip Banana Oat Cakes, and Mom’s Carrot Cake–with homemade cream cheese icing). It’s been met with early rave reviews, much advance acclaim, and was the LibraryReads favorite and #1 pick for the month of July.
Listen to narrators Amy Ryan (Academy Award and Golden-Globe nominated actress from Gone Baby Gone) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Golden-Globe nominated actor from A Serious Man) tell the story of the extraordinary, mysterious foodie, Eva Thorvald, and the rest of the colorful characters in her Minnesota hometown…while you cook, bake, or do anything kitchen-related. A charming, funny, and touching audiobook about the power of food, family, and community, KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST is also an ideal book club pick. (Be sure to download the Book Club Kit, which includes recipes for Midwestern party snacks and cocktails).
Check out the Penguin First Flights LIVE chat with J. Ryan Stradal below, as well as a video, recipe photos, and more praise for this outstanding debut—plus, listen to the audiobook clip.
LIVE CHAT – WEDNESDAY, July 15, 2015
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern)
And check out Stradal’s pre-First Flight video below, where he talks about his hometown library and Midwestern “salad”:
At Penguin Random House’s 2015 BEA Librarian Breakfast, attendees not only got to hear J. Ryan Stradal’s speech about how much he loves librarians, but also received the chance to sample Pat Prager’s Blue Ribbon-Winning Peanut Butter Bars—a delectable recipe straight out of KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST (a recipe card for this delicious concoction was also given out).
I was hooked on the peanut butter bars after the event and was dying for an occasion to try my hand at making them. A few weeks later, I finally got my chance when a friend of mine decided to throw a party. The recipe only required a few ingredients, a microwave, a refrigerator, and about twenty minutes of my time. Fictional award or not, it’s easy to see (and taste) why these bars have won a blue ribbon.
Here’s a closer look at these amazing bars:
KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST
By J. Ryan Stradal
Read by Amy Ryan and Michael Stuhlbarg
On Sale: July 28, 2015
Praise for KITCHENS OF THE GREAT MIDWEST:
“Narrators Amy Ryan and Michael Stuhlbarg serve up a delicious debut….Ryan and Stuhlbarg shine as they use subtle pacing and tone to portray the unique personalities of each character, adding just the slightest hints of a Midwestern accent to give authenticity and differentiation. Stradal’s skillful writing delivered by accomplished narrators offers listeners a debut performance to savor.”—AudioFile
“Foodies and those who love contemporary literature will devour this novel that is being compared to Elizabeth Strout’s Olive Kitteridge. A standout.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“If food is love, then Stradal’s tasty tale is the ultimate homage to the merits of the culinary experience, with just a soupçon of überfoodie-culture satire thrown in for a bit of zest.”—Booklist