Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen - Laurie Colwin I haven't run across much food writing that can make me laugh out loud, but this book did just that. These are chatty, revelatory, often humorous essays on cooking, entertaining, and domestic life in general. Colwin's approach is warm and accessible. You need not be a cook to enjoy the book, but it might make you want to start using your kitchen for more than just the microwave oven. There are informal recipes scattered throughout the book, and some more formal ones at the end of most of the essays. She demystifies daunting tasks such as baking bread, and encourages the reader to "always try everything, even if it turns out to be a dud. We learn by doing." If you've had your share of kitchen disasters, Colwin is here to commiserate. She shares some of her worst mistakes, as well as a few of the disgusting foods other people have tried to feed her. There's her attempt at Dundee Cake, where her guests were served "a ring of buttered sawdust in which was embedded a series of jujubes." And then there was the peculiarly crunchy tortellini she served to some guests who had been smoking a lot of marijuana, after which one of them said, "Hey, wouldn't it be groovy if we could dump this whatever it is in the garbage and go out for dinner?"The 33 essays range from basics like fried chicken and potato salad to special cases such as How to Avoid Grilling, How to Disguise Vegetables, and Kitchen Horrors. The variety of topics makes the book especially useful and much more enjoyable to read. I'll be keeping it on hand for kitchen reference, and just for laughs.