Athena Magazine

Fashion, lifestyle, passions

Domestic Goddess Reads: Home Cooking April 27, 2009

homecooking_By Julia Pantoga


The other day I took my favorite book off my cookbook shelf to show to someone. This book is my favorite book—not just my favorite food memoir. The book is Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin, who died suddenly and completely unexpectedly at age 48 in 1992. Of course, I’ve read the chapters with recipes that I use all the time often enough to have memorized them, but when I showed the book to my friend, I realized that I hadn’t read the entire book in about a decade. So, I’ve been reading my favorite book again. If you read this book now, I have no doubt that you will say to yourself, “Aha! The original Domestic Goddess!” It is uncanny for me to realize how much my life has turned out to be modeled after hers. I’m a writer who likes to hang out in the kitchen, too. I prefer to stay home vs. travel, too. Like Colwin, I’m always looking for the easiest way to get the most credit for the domestic skills that I have .

When Colwin advises the novice cook to call an experienced cook, take his or her advice about a dish that works, then stick with that dish, I hope that you will say to yourself, “Where have I heard that before?” If you cook, or have ever tried to cook, I dare you to try not to laugh out loud when you take the two hours it takes to read this book. Her recipes are introduced with statements such as, “Here’s an amazing dish that you will never want to serve to your cardiologist …” When I reread her chapter on cooking disasters, after wiping the tears of laughter from my cheek, I thought, “Clearly, I do not take enough risks in the kitchen …” More later, I have a lot stored in my head for you. These days I am thinking about cheesecloth and pastry bags.