My life is filled with writing, cooking, and writing about cooking. So it’s no surprise that on a recent snowy weekend I found myself curled up by the fire with a cup of tea, a plate of buttered toast, and Laurie Colwin’s Home Cooking:A Writer in the Kitchen.
In this comforting collection of essays, Ms. Colwin celebrates her devotion to food with fond memories and recipes ranging from Pepper Chicken with Polenta and Broccoli di Rape to Gingerbread with Chocolate Frosting. There’s a whole chapter devoted to potato salad, another to stuffing, and the essay entitled “How to Avoid Grilling” is a hoot. “Grilling is like sunbathing. Everyone knows it’s bad for you but no one stops doing it.” Ms. Colwin goes on to explain how to cook barbecued spareribs in the oven “so as not to get your hands all gritty with those nasty, smeary little charcoal briquettes.”
The tales of entertaining guests in her one-room apartment using nothing but a hot plate, a few simple ingredients, and her imagination are laugh-out-loud funny. I devoured this borrowed library book in a single sitting, then went straight to the computer to order my own copy from Amazon, along with the sequel, More Home Cooking.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Colwin, who passed away unexpectedly in 1992, but now her spirit lives with me not just in my writing nook, but in my kitchen as well, along with the likes of Julia Child; my grandmother, my aunt Joanne, and other great cooks I desire to emulate. More than a recipe collection, more than a memoir, Home Cooking is a companion. If you like to eat, you will love this book.