My Summary and Thoughts: More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen is a collection of essays first published in 1993. Colwin wrote novels, but she also wrote articles for Gourmet magazine. She died suddenly at the age of forty-eight, and although she put the collection together and wrote the introduction, the book was published after her death.
My copy of More Home Cooking is a first edition, which I bought right after it appeared in the stores. I'm not sure why I never read it, because I liked Colwin's first collection of food essays, and I loved reading her column in Gourmet. The book is still in print and readily available.
Colwin's food memoir was compiled just when some segments of the American public began to change their way of eating and when people's lives seemed to be getting busier. Several essays touch on these points, such as how to find time to make dinner for friends and how to figure out what to serve when guests have to watch what they eat. She also notes changes in how we celebrate holidays and wonders about the fate of the traditional family dinner.
In each short piece, Colwin conveys her understanding of food and family, but throughout we are also treated to her sense of humor. For example: "When I gaze at Norman Rockwell's enchanting Thanksgiving picture, why do I suspect that the grandfather drinks more than he should?" In another essay she talks about the "cooking of the refined slob" and offers shortcuts for those of us who no longer have time to spend four hours making dinner.
Almost every chapter touches on the links between food and those we love and between food and memories. And many chapters include a recipe; some are complete recipes and others are more like ideas, along the line of take a little of this and add a little of that.
Just about half of the forty-five essays focus on a particular food, such as biscuits, beets, coffee, and duck. Here is a snippet from the tomato chapter: "One of the joys of summer is to go roaming through the garden, pulling ripe tomatoes off the vine, and biting in. Juice and seeds drip all over your nice white shirt, but who cares?"
In other essays, Colwin contemplates holidays, picnics, vacations, jet lag, and dinner parties.
I was pleased to discover that most of Colwin's work still holds up, even though it has been more than fifteen years since the book was published. This is not necessarily a book to read all in one sitting. In fact, I think it'd be grand to read a chapter each afternoon while taking some time to enjoy a cup of coffee—one of Colwin's and my own personal addictions.
I read this book to meet a number of challenges (listed below). To find out more about a challenge or to see what others are reading, click on the challenge title in the sidebar.
Published by HarperCollins, 1993, 2000
Challenges: Winter Reading, 9 in 2009, 100+, 999