Unlike most cooking books, Laurie Colwin's little book
about cooking basic food doesn’t try to teach you everything. Colwin doesn’t preach so
much as reassure. Anyone can cook, she says. If you learned some things about cooking
as a child, she says, so much the better. Don't worry. You can do it.|
"I am no superwoman," she writes, "but I like to cook and…while I like a nice
meal, I do not want to be made a nervous wreck in the process of producing one. I like
dishes that are easy, savory, and frequently cook themselves."
the cookbook I'd always been waiting for.
The confidential tone of a big
sister about to make your life so much easier makes this is a great little book. I'd
recommend it as a gift for any one making a change in their life: going off to college,
moving into their own apartment, or about to be married, perhaps. I'd even give it to
someone in the wake of a separation. The advice and the recipes are simple and easy to
follow, and Colwin's voice is encouraging and friendly. Just don't make the mistake of
flipping through the book for the recipes. You won't get to meet Colwin that way and
that's what makes this book special. You can collect recipes anywhere, but only here
will you be told that most kitchen utensils are frills. In a pinch, she says, you can
always use a wine bottle as a rolling pin.
Colwin writes about scrambled
eggs and fried chicken and making bread. She includes stories about kitchen disasters of
her own, of parties and recipes gone wrong, of simple pleasures now easily accomplished.
You don't have to rig your kitchen with every utensil ever made. Colwin shows that you
can do just fine making do with what you have and a few essentials, like "sweet butter
and really good olive oil." A reassuring nudge to those of us who look at kitchens with
trepidation, Colwin's book is a keeper.