I loved the articles by Michael and Jane - they transported me to little known parts of the US and all sorts of crazy diner treats. Most of all I fell in love with the writings of a lovely lady called Laurie Colwin. I say lovely because you could just tell from her words that she was just that. They were short essays on life, love and food. I haven't kept all my Gourmets through the years, but I have certainly clipped out all of Laurie's essays and they're in with my recipes. Turning at random to one titled "Down-Home Standbys " There are times in life - usually after a spate of self indulgence - when one's soul cries out for minimalist food: clean, plain and non-taxing. A piece of grilled fish, some blanched asparagus, and perhaps the merest morsel of goat cheese with a very undressed salad are just what the doctor ordered. But there are other times, usually in horrible weather, when one longs for straightforward, savory down-home food, and lots of it. This is the sort of cooking people call "heart warming" and there is no doubt about it - it does cheer people up." She goes on to write about some of her favourites and where they came from, the recipes that is, all from friends, people she met along the way. Her book "Home Cooking", is one to seek out.
Laurie sadly died in her 40's from a heart condition, I didn't know she was unwell until looking for her essay the next month and finding a bi line of her passing.
Recently I've been reading Molly Wizenburg's (of Orangette) book and she is very similar to Laurie. I'm not the first to draw a parallel I'm sure, but there's an honesty and loveliness to both her blog and her book. So nice, I would imagine, for someone to think that you sound nice from your words, not even your spoken but penned words. Her book is a lovely light read, heart warming as mentioned in Laurie's piece above. How can you not feel drawn to someone who seems to have created her own destiny, I'll be going to Delanceys if we get that way any time soon.
Today I've made my first recipe from her book, a berry enriched pound cake which is one of her mother's. I haven't tasted it yet but but the girls pronounced it delish. That will follow a simple soup my sister in law recently made which I've replicated. Use young sweet carrots, sweat off an onion or two in some oil, add about a kilo of carrots peeled, and chopped roughly, grate in a generous thumb sized piece of fresh root ginger, cover with chicken stock and cook until carrots are very soft. Blitz in the pan and then serve with a small dollop of sour cream, a quick microplane of fresh ginger and a sprinkling of fresh dill - fresh, light and so so yummy. We'll be having it with homemade bread and a huge piece of cake for dessert.