WEFOUNDHome Book of Cooking Venison and Other Natural Meats (Stackpole Classics)

P art guide for the aspiring home cook, part culinary memoir, Laurie Colwin's republished collection of essays, Home Cooking , is a feast. Blending anecdotes, reflections and recipes from 40 or so years in the kitchen, Colwin's witty, no-nonsense prose oozes delight in earthy, home-crafted cuisine: "I love to eat out, but even more, I love to eat in."

A New York-based writer who died unexpectedly aged 48 in 1992, Colwin published several novels before moving into food writing, which, in 1988, had only a fraction of the cachet it has today. In her wry and unaffected style, Colwin presents the kitchen as a nucleus where childhood and motherhood, falling in and out of love, boredom and learning and success and failure are all played out.

Colwin stresses that although some have an "inborn talent" for cookery, these are skills that can be acquired with some commitment to good food. Home Cooking is her account of building up a wholesome (if not healthy) repertoire for home entertaining – from fried chicken "that makes people want to stand up and sing the Star-Spangled Banner" (it does, I tried) to easy beef stews, sauteed vegetables with poached egg in one pot, home-baked bread ("without the agony") and the simplest of puddings, orange ambrosia. Indeed, there are echoes of Nigella Lawson, one of Colwin's fans, the UK's own elegant earth mother championing straightforward food in both her writing and cooking.