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Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – March 23, 2010

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Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (Vintage Contemporaries) + More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen + Happy All the Time (Vintage Contemporaries)
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Editorial Reviews


“As much memoir as cookbook and as much about eating as cooking.” —The New York Times Book Review

“The one true kitchen friend." —The Washington Post

“Celebrates a life devoted to food, with chapters on how to cook a meal for several hundred people, how to prepare a gourmet dinner with eggplant in your bathtub, and how to make the best fried chicken in the world.” —Santa Fe New Mexican
“Laurie Colwin's food thoughts are like phone calls from a dear friend.” —The New York Times
“A delightful tribute to food, friends and kitchen memories.... This charmer is as irresistible as homemade shortbread.” —San Diego Union-Tribune
“A very funny book. Funny enough to make you giggle out loud.” —Newsday

“[Laurie Colwin] is a home cook, like you and me, whose charm and lack of pretension make her wonderfully human and a welcome companion.” —Chicago Tribune
“I decided to lean back and trust Ms. Colwin when she revealed that ‘I am never on a diet regime I cannot be talked out of.’” —Ann Banks, The New York Times Book Review
“Delightful. . . . [Colwin] is funny, and for some reason funny stories about food are as funny as things can get.” —St. Petersburg Times
“Cozy, unpretentious good sense . . . characterizes all her food writing.” —The New York Times
“I have in my kitchen a book called Home Cooking. And, in between following the recipes for Extremely Easy Beef Stew, or Estelle Colwin Snellenberg’s Potato Pancakes, I would frequently sit down on a little stool in my kitchen and read through one of the essays in that book. I never read through The Joy of Cooking, and I can read the Silver Palate Cookbook standing up, but I always sat down to read these.” —Anna Quindlen
“Laurie Colwin is both sensible and sensitive when writing about food, and [her] prose makes me laugh, cry and feel hungry all at the same time.” —The Baltimore Sun
“Reading the essays of Laurie Colwin is a bit like eating comfort food: warm, familiar and good for the soul.” —Hartford Courant
“A warm, personal remembrance of the foods Colwin ate as a child and later served to friends and family.” —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“[Colwin] is a beacon of hope. For beginning cooks, Home Cooking is a grand consciousness and/or confidence-raiser.” —The Oregonian
“Like a classic dish, [Colwin’s] writing is magic in its simplicity.” —Charlotte Observer
“Wry and funny.” —Dallas Morning News
“Charming and humorous.” —USA Today
“Enthralling, but all too short. The only thing to do [is] reread it. And then turn to her novels.” —Buffalo News

About the Author

Laurie Colwin is the author of five novels—Happy All the Time; Family Happiness; Goodbye Without Leaving; A Big Storm Knocked It Over; and Shine On, Bright and Dangerous Object—three collections of short stories—Passion and Affect; The Lone Pilgrim; and Another Marvelous Thing—and two collections of essays, Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. Colwin died in 1992.

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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307474414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307474414
  • ASIN: 0307474410
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

94 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on May 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
A talented and extraordinarily accessible writer, Laurie Colwin died unexpectedly at the age of forty-eight in October 1992. In "Home Cooking," as in her other books, Colwin's writing charmingly combines an easy, conversational style, an innate curiosity and a good-natured disrespect for things fancy. She was a decidedly unstuffy columnist for GOURMET magazine for some years, giving the magazine a needed breath of fresh air.
If you have not already partaken of the pleasures of reading Colwin's work, I urge you to buy a copy of "Home Cooking." Colwin is insouciant, opinionated and very funny. My favorite chapter in "Home Cooking" is entitled "Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir". It begins:
"There is something triumphant about a really disgusting meal. It lingers in the memory with a lurid glow, just as something exalted is remembered with a kind of mellow brilliance...I am thinking about meals that are positively loathsome from soup to nuts, although one is not usually fortunate enough to get either soup or nuts."
With great relish, Colwin describes several perfectly horrid meals, the most striking of which is a variation of the medieval starry gazey pie, "in which the crust is slit so that the whole baked eels within can poke their nasty little heads out and look at the piecrust stars with which the top is supposed to be festooned."
The recipes in "Home Cooking" seem almost like afterthoughts to her meanderings on entertaining, home and hearth, and disguising vegetables, but they are mostly very good and always very simple. Colwin's gingerbread recipe is particularly delicious, and will make your house smell like a Christmas party. Highly recommended both as a cozy read and as a source of reliable recipes. We lost her too young, but Laurie Colwin lives on in "Home Cooking" and her other fine books.
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on April 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is the first book containing a collection of Laurie Colwin's columns for Gourmet magazine. Colwin died suddenly of heart problems at age 48 in 1992. Many of you may have read her fiction (A Big Storm Knocked It Down, Happy All the Time, etc.). When she died, she left an additional 12 columns, some of which are in "More Home Cooking", a companion to "Home Cooking".
"Home Cooking" is a great memoir, disguised as a collection of columns about food! It has stories, vignettes, food lore and advice, and...oh, yes some recipes. I love the titles of the columns--some were: Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant; Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir; Kitchen Horrors.
Colwin was an engaging, amusing, clever, and elegant writer. She was not afraid to stand back and laugh at herself as she told about kitchen mistakes she had made. Her nurturing nature is apparent in her writing. I would have loved to have known her, to have had her as a friend.
I have read this book, or portions of it, many times and it keeps getting better.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 18, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always loved Laurie Colwin's novels and short stories. I've always been an avid (and an immodestly talented) home cook. So I was delighted when she first began writing her monthly food columns in Gourmet magazine. What a brilliant idea to ask a skillful writer of fiction to create columns devoted to food. Of course, I've owned the two collections gathered from those wonderful columns, but decided I had to get a new set to give to a friend. This month's Gourmet magazine offers Anna Quindlen's loving memories of Laurie Colwin, which triggered my ordering the books.
After reading the first volume, I had to write her a letter. I was telling her about a recipe to which she responded by saying, "sounds way too complicated to me." The recipe had only three ingredients. We would periodically exchange letters (she actually sent postcards). So when she died of a heart attack at the age of 48, I was stunned and profoundly sad. I thought I would be reading her Gourmet columns for years to come. Now that wonderful voice was silenced.
I've made Colwin's simple roast chicken many times. Her chocolate cakes are predictably wonderful, but it is her recipe for "Damp Gingerbread," that I return to most often. And when I do, I invariably reread one of her chapters. You can't imagine a more vivid and cozy writer. It's Colwin's distinct voice that captures my imagination--the simplicty of her prose style, the elegance of her thoughts and her refusal to take anything too seriously (except her daughter) that I find most appealing. This is writing that makes you smile. You can actually smell things cooking in these stories. I hope they stay in print forever for generations to admire. So the next time you're thinking of roast chicken (and who doesn't) pull down a copy of HOME COOKING.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By on December 23, 1997
Format: Paperback
I first read this terrific book about eight years ago and my copy is dog-eared and stained with "pure cane syrup," etc., as apparently are the copies of other reviewers. I read it when I need to feel comforted, consoled, uplifted, as well as when I need a recipe. On a disturbing note, I read on the back flap of a more recent book of Colwin's that she had passed away. I wrote to the publisher, saddened that we would never hear her wonderful literary voice again, but received no reply.
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