Home Cooking

Author: Laurie Colwin
Published: 1988
Website: Amazon Page

Home Cooking explores food at its best and grossest. In a series of connected essays, Colwin explains the intricate nature of soup, the simple yumminess of good bread, and everything that can go wrong when eating at someone’s house (including her own). Colwin began cooking in a tiny apartment which she disgruntledly describes while telling the reader how to make pasta in a shower, beef stew in a fondue pot, and chicken on a one-burner stove. Her recipes, especially those involving sugar, beef, and bread (not combined) make me want to get up and give them a try, and her section illustrating which kitchen gadgets a cook actually needs proves the uselessness of everything from a garlic press to a toaster.

Colwin is the first author I have found who is capable of putting recipes in a novel or memoir without leaving me feeling like pausing, getting up from my chair, and taking a stroll around the block before reimmersing myself in the story. Her strategy of exhibiting recipes in paragraph form has mixed results, because although it makes the story flow, I would have to do some serious highlighting before attempting to recreate any of the recipes she inserted. There is nothing particularly special about Colwin’s backstory or her philosophy of food, but her writing style is quite engaging, her recipes sound like they would taste good, and some of the stories she discloses are hilarious and worth reading the next time anyone leaves six people at a table eating burnt or overcooked food.

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