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Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen Paperback – May 3, 2000
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
"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.
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.