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Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen Paperback – May 3, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"As much memoir as cookbook and as much about eating as cooking." -- --New York Times Book Review

About the Author

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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reissue edition (June 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060955309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060955304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #375,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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I discovered Laurie Colwin by accident (luck!), and have fallen in love with her writing. I read "Home Cooking" in two days, and then went on to devour "More Home Cooking." Reading this book makes you feel like you are in Laurie's kitchen with her, just chatting and creating some delicious food. Her musings are interesting, inspiring, and down to earth. In many ways, she is the anti-Martha Stewart, as she openly admits short cuts she takes (cutting up canned tomatoes while they're still in the can!), and discourages purchasing lots of kitchen paraphenalia. Throughout all of her writing and her cooking, the biggest ingredient is love. I felt warm all over reading this book, and whether you're into cooking or just having a great read, I'm sure that you will too!
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