I (Emily) discovered Laurie Colwin’s writing too late (she died in 1992, at age 48). She’s the kind of author who writes so frankly and freely that she becomes familiar, almost like a friend. After I finished reading her second cooking book I felt like grieving. How could such a talented woman’s life be cut off just like that? She had so much more to give. But, give she did: five novels, two short story collections, and two collections of essays, which we’ll focus on here: Home Cooking and More Home Cooking.
The best way to explain Colwin’s writing is in her own words. Chapter titles from Home Cooking include: Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant; About Salad; Bread Baking Without Agony; Easy Cooking for Exhausted People. This lady! She’s hilarious and so sure of herself — her failures included. You’ll learn all about her amazingly tiny New York apartment (she claims she never could’ve invited Wilt Chamberlain to dinner because his wingspan wouldn’t have fit) and how to make perfect fried chicken, and laugh out loud at her kitchen horror stories. Recipes are interspersed among her tales, from old-fashioned fish bakes to her famous Lebanon bologna.
More Home Cooking might be even more dog-eared than Home Cooking. In the chapter entitled Real Food for Tots: “Food is not fuel. It is not nutrition. It is fun, educational, horizon-expanding, delightful. It is consoling, transporting, and a comfort. If you want a happy eater, run a happy kitchen.” Later, on tomatoes: “A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.”
Colwin’s meditations on cooking apply to all things in life. Chances are, you’ll take more pleasure from being in your kitchen after entering her world.
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