You know how sometimes you meet someone and you just click?  And you want to spend the rest of your life sitting on a sun drenched balcony with a glass of crisp rosé and maybe a some lovely fresh seafood just listening to that person talk?  Because right from the get go you recognise that this person is charming, delightful, witty and that you will be friends forever? 

These are the people who one of my childhood reading friends, Anne of Green Gables would have called “kindred spirits”.   And that is EXACTLY how I felt whilst reading Laurie Colwin‘s Home Cooking.

Oh, yeah, I’m back!  I hope you all enjoyed the Margaret Fulton holiday special.  Particularly as I only got about a third of the way through the book…so plenty more where that came from, even if it is about a year away.  Holiday deets will be forthcoming but first Home Cooking because like rust, I never sleep and I pretty much wrote this whilst on holiday almost immediately after closing the last page….or whatever the Kindle equivalent of that is.  

I LOVED this book.  And I really want to be BFF’s with Laurie Colwin. 

Wanna know why?

Laurie Colwin is a little bit like me

As frightening as that may be, reading parts of this book was a little like talking to myself.  I could just imagine us chatting and having so many of those “Me too” moments vis a vis….

  • “I love to stay home…I love to eat out, but even more, I love to eat in”
  • “In foreign countries I am drawn into grocery shops, supermarkets and kitchen supply houses”
  • “Dinner alone is one of life’s pleasures”
  • “There is no such thing as really bad potato salad”
  • “At night some people count sheep and others read mysteries.  I lie in bed and think about food.  Often I make up menus.  Sometimes I invent recipes”
  • “My favourite party is a tea-party”

 

She also shares some characteristics with some of my best friends both in real life and my favourite food bloggers!

She is opinionated

  • “As everyone knows, there is one way to fry chicken correctly.  Unfortunately, most people think their method is best , but most people are wrong.  Mine is the only right way,”
  • Grilling is like sunbathing.  Everyone knows it is bad for you but no one ever stops doing it”
  • “I do not like to eat al fresco.  No sane person does, I feel”
  • There is nothing to be said about (gingerbread) mixes.  They are uniformly disgusting”

 Home Cooking 3She has a sparkling wit

  • I was once romantically aligned with a young man who I now realise was crazy, but at the time, he seemed…romantic”
  • For eight years I lived in a one room apartment a little larger than the Columbia Encyclopedia”
  • “It is possible to get nasty food everywhere, but with the exception of a few eccentric meals fed me by my peers, the only awful thing I ate in England was a packaged pork pie; but then a person who eats a packaged pork pie gets what she deserves”
  • I am a great champion of English food, but what I was given at these dinners was neither English not food as far as I could tell.”

Home Cooking 2She writes about food like a dream

  •  “The smell of chocolate bubbling over and slightly burning is one of the most beautiful smells in the world.  It is subtle and comforting and it is rich.  One tiny drop perfumes a room like nothing else”
  • “Soup embraces variety.  There are silken cream soups that glisten on the spoon and spicy bisques with tiny flecks of lobster”

I was so sad at the end of the book to discover that Laurie Colwin passed away in 1992 aged only 48 that I cried a little.  After loving every word of this wonderful book, I truly felt like I had lost a friend.  And whilst I will never be able to a share cucumber sandwiches with anchovy butter with her in a teeny apartment in Greenwich village I feel like I have found a “kindred spirit” whose wit and wisdom will stay with me long after I have closed the last page of “Home Cooking”.

As I read this on holiday, I have not yet cooked anything from Home Cooking, but as soon as I do I will tell you all about it.  I have however ordered the sequel to this book, called More Home Cooking and, based on Laurie Colwin’s recommendation, I have also moved Elizabeth David’s book English Bread and Yeast Cookery to the very top of my wishlist.   In the meantime, the folks over at Food52 recently had their own Laurie Colwin celebration.  You can read about that here:

Food 52 Laurie Colwin Picnic

And I will leave you with some more lovely words from this wonderful writer.

laurie-colwin-author-1978photo-everettNo one who cooks, cooks alone.  Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.

Please note that whilst I received my copy of this book for review for free via Net Galley, my opinions are, as always, entirely my own.

 Have a great week! 

Signature 1Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2
 

 

 

 

 

5 Comments on Home Cooking – Laurie Colwin

  1. I was making gingerbread and suddenly this longing to read Colwin came over me and I also found myself wondering if there were any tributes to her great work online. This is a wonderful distillation of her lovely, warm and funny writing.

    I had not read any of Colwin’s writing in 1992 when she passed but I did read a Gourmet article in tribute to her. I felt the force of her personality leaping off the page, vivid and warm with powerful opinions about the pleasures of food both consuming and creating it. I have read more of her work and have a few recipes I cook and think of her. Today, after reading your column, I want to find and read much more. Thanks!

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