Monday, October 5, 2009

Home Cooking

Right after I graduated from college, I worked at an educational publishing company for a year. At 23, I only knew what I didn’t want to be and what I didn’t want to do. Other than that, I was fuzzy about the specifics. A friend who I met at work gave me the book Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin – and not only did it make me a life-long Colwin fan, but it also gave me a strong sense of the aesthetic direction that I wanted my life to take . . . if not an actual career goal. I already liked to cook, and I already liked to read cookbooks, but this food memoir/cookbook gave me a strong sense of how I feel about food, which in 20 years really hasn’t changed much.

In the foreward of her book, Colwin writes this: One of the delights of life is eating with friends; second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.

Colwin’s writing has a confiding, friendly quality to it unmatched by any other writer that I can think of. For me, this book – and the follow-up, More Home Cooking – are the ultimate comfort reading. Laurie Colwin is a gingerbread and beef stew sort of person, and so am I. She is also the sort of cookery writer who would title a chapter: Repulsive Dinners: A Memoir. (You’re not going to get that sort of humor in a Martha Stewart cookbook, now are you?) It isn’t for the Heston Blumenthal types out there; it’s for people who want to make delicious, simple food for their friends and family. It’s for people who do most of their socializing from the kitchen.


julochka said...

tho' i am partial to martha, this does sound wonderful. you're making me want to go to amazon again...sigh.

Elizabeth said...

Love the cover and this could just be the cookbook for me. Think I'm gonna make a wishlist for the holidays!!!!

Magpie said...

I love those two books of hers. I've cooked many happy meals from them, and the writing makes you wish you could have hung out with Colwin. I actually have a file of some of the original articles, ripped out of Gourmet - which, incidentally, has just been axed by Conde Nast. No more Gourmet. I'm shocked that they're letting it die.

Bee said...

Julochka - Martha has a place in my kitchen, too. But for good reading this cookbook is the best.

Elizabeth - If you haven't read these books you are in for such a treat! It is more like food memoir, really, and you will adore Colwin's voice. So much warmth and humour.

Magpie - I knew that we were kindred spirits. I LOVE that you still have some of the original Gourmet articles. I'm sad about the demise of Gourmet magazine, but I was really gutted when Colwin died so young.

Anne said...

I so agree with those lines you quoted. As for socializing from the kitchen: even more than I want a larger kitchen with more counter space, I want one that's more open to the rest of the house, so that I'm not so sequestered in the kitchen while I cook. I love a home where the kitchen is the center of the action.


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