Cookbook Club

It's Time to Cook From Laurie Colwin's Books!

May 20, 2015

We spend more time talking about cooking from cookbooks than we spend cooking from cookbooks, and it’s time to change that. Once a month, we’ll have Cookbook Club—a meal planned entirely from a cookbook or two, new or old, big or small—and we’ll ask our community members to do the same. 

For the next cookbook club, we want you to cook from Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking and More Home Cooking.


Shop the Story

We want to read Laurie Colwin's words over and over again, but we also want to cook her recipes. So for our next cookbook club, where the editors each cook a recipe from a book or two and write about their experience (and we ask our community members to do the same), we're cooking from Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking and More Home Cooking. They're classic books, which means you might have cooked from them, too. So we want to know what the standout recipes are! Lead us to the gems. 

Tell us: What recipes should be on our cookbook club menu? We'll be looking at the comments section below for the hot tips. And be sure to check back to see how all the recipes panned out.

* * *

ADDENDUM: Since you had so much to say about Laurie's recipes, we want YOU to cook from her books. Cook from Home Cooking or More Home Cooking and share what you've made with us: Take a photo of your finished dish (or your cooking experience) and tag it with #f52cookbookclub on Instagram (or simply email it to [email protected]). Share a review of the recipe on Twitter (or email us a blurb). We'll round up your photos and your commentary in a post at the end of the month. 

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Winedamsel
  • witloof
  • Cinnamin
  • Lobstersquad
  • Mrs. Thor
    Mrs. Thor
Editor/writer/stylist. Author of I Dream of Dinner (so You Don't Have To). Last name rhymes with bagel.


Winedamsel May 25, 2015
Buttermilk cocoa cake! It turned out fabulous! 94pt Bennett Lane’s 2009 Maximus Napa Valley - Best value Napa red?
94pt Bennett Lane Maximus Napa Valley 2009

$27.30 / bottle
List price ($42.00/bottle)$252.00
Your price ($27.30/bottle)$163.80
Free delivery for orders of 6 bottles or more

1361 bottles sold

94 pts - Chris Stanley, Certified Sommelier

"I’ve been hooked on the Maximus Red since the Wine Spectator 94point rated 2007 vintage. This is Napa Valley at its finest and performs better than most upper echelon Cabernet’s from Napa. Shows an elevated layer of extraction with dark chocolate, mocha, blackberry, cherry fruit, and cedar notes. Shows huge raw power and intensity. Highly recommended- Best Napa Cab (blend) under $50."

92-94 Brian Whittiker- Blackhawk Grill Somm/GM "

Perfectly aged and in its prime; the 2009 Maximus Red was impressive. Unfiltered, the wine showed high amounts of tartrate crystals which is usually a trait of a mature wine of the highest quality, which held true. Blackberry and dark fruits, licorice, cocoa powder. Powerful and in balance. Should hold easily for another 6+ years. Pair with a New York or Ribeye."

This wine is sold by Jackson Wines & Spirits, a California licensed retailer
Chris Stanley, Certified Sommelier94 / 100
Brian Whitaker, Sommelier & GM Blackhawk Grill92-94 / 100
Vivino Users 4.3 (95 Reviews)4.3 / 5
Calistoga is home to some of the Napa Valley’s most iconic wineries, such as Chateau Montelena, Araujo Eisele Vineyard, Larkmead, and Clos Pegase. Bordeaux-styled blends from these wineries sell for $100+. Calistoga’s Bennett Lane makes one of the best value Cab blends in all of the Napa Valley. Their 2009 Maximus is not to be missed by fans of Napa Valley wine in search of an affordable luxury.

About the wine

This unique Cabernet-based blend includes Syrah, otherwise it’s a pure Meritage. Flavors of cassis, blueberry pie, blackberry, dark chocolate, coffee, and licorice offer an exotic, spicier take on the classic Bordeaux blend. 2009 was a terrific vintage in the Napa Valley (94pt RP “vintage rating) and the wine has entered a beautiful drinking window right now. Winemaker Rob Hunter is an expert at crafting Cab blends that deliver big time Napa flavor. Drink now through 2020.

Winemaker: Rob Hunter
Appellation: Calistoga, Napa Valley
• 94 pts Chris Stanley, Certified Sommelier
• 92-94 pts Brian Whitaker, Sommelier & GM, Blackhawk Grill
• 4.3/5 Vivino Users (95 ratings)
Vineyards:Estate grown Calistoga fruit with Syrah from Oak Knoll District
Grapes: 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 5% Malbec, 4% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot
Cooperage: 100% French oak, 20% new barrels
ABV: 14.5%

About the Winery & Vineyards

Bennett Lane is located at the picturesque north end of the Napa Valley near the town of Calistoga. Proprietor Randy Lynch traded his passion for racing cars to growing grapes and making wine. Inspired on a trip to Italy, his first wine became known as Maximus, named after the Roman Emperor who loved wine. Bennett Lane is a consistent source of excellent Cabernet Sauvignon and blends, made under the expertise of Napa Valley winemaking veteran Rob Hunter.

Maximus is an estate grown blend of Bordeaux grapes from Bennett Lane’s Calistoga hillside vineyards located at the north end of the Napa Valley. The Syrah comes from further down Valley in the Oak Knoll District at Claussen Ranch along the Napa River. The estate fruit has intense color and graphite-like tannins that are typical of Calistoga fruit. The warmer Oak Knoll Syrah provides a plush berry character and the signature meaty spiciness of the grape. Bennett Lane farms their vineyard using sustainable practices.

About the Winemaker, Rob Hunter

Rob Hunter grew up in Northern California working on his family vineyard as a teenager. After completing his enology studies at UC-Davis, he landed an assistant winemaking job at Groth under the legendary winemaker Nils Venge. The 1985 Groth Reserve Cabernet earned a perfect 100pt Robert Parker rating, and taught Hunter firsthand how to make top-notch Napa Valley Cab. Hunter’s career has spanned nearly 30 years in the Napa Valley

witloof May 23, 2015
Has anyone made that Nantucket cranberry pie? I did once and thought it was awful. The lack of leavening in the batter made it gummy and weird. I seem to be in the minority here.
Kate May 28, 2015
Something must have gone wrong when you made it. I've made it for years, at least once a year. My family loves it. It's one of my standard Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts...and it's always been delicious. One of my favorite Laurie Colwin recipes!
Cinnamin May 23, 2015
I'd like to see her chocolate wafers recipe from the editors, from Home Cooking. The recipe says to add 2 yolks to the whipped egg whites, but it doesn't say how many egg whites, strangely.
Lobstersquad May 21, 2015
Biscuits. Chutney. Rice pudding. Lentils. Black bean soup. Roast chicken. They're not so much recipes as constants in my kitchen now, so it's hard to choose just one thing. I learnt to cook with these two books. But if I have to: Nantucket Cranberry Pie.
Sarah J. May 21, 2015
Please make these and share your results with us! We'd love to compile everyone's Laurie Colwin cooking experiences at the end of the month.
Mrs. T. May 20, 2015
After wanting to do it since the early '90s, I finally made black cake five years ago, and now it is part of my Christmas tradition. And that reminds me, it's just about time to start soaking the fruit for this year's cake!
Winedamsel May 20, 2015
I have always loved her writing and have both cookbooks from when they were first published. I haven't cooked from them for a long time, but now I'm inspired to start cooking from them again, and also to re-read her books! I used to run and buy Gourmet magazine every time her column was in it. It's a wonderful legacy for her that so many appreciate her recipes and writings! I would love a cooking club, too!
bonnie May 20, 2015
I've made the black Cake. It is wonderful. I will make a note in my calendar so I will put up the fruit mixture by Thanksgiving for I cake bake the cake for New Years
cookinginvictoria May 20, 2015
Love this thread. Laurie Colwin's books have had a huge influence on me as a home cook and baker. I would suggest that you all do a bakeoff of the gingerbread recipes (there are three of them): Old Fashioned, Damp and the recipe that features Steen Cane Syrup. I have made them all, and they are all wonderful.

Other LC recipes that I love: For main courses, Pepper Chicken with Broccoli Rabe and Polenta and Pot Roast with Potato Pancakes. My favorite desserts are Happy Winter Fudge Cake (I often make this for my daughter's b-day cake) and Rice Pudding. I have never made the Black Cake but I always think about it at the holidays. Maybe this year! The honeycomb mold also sounds very intriguing.

Hope that you do a post of what you all make! Cooking clubs are so much fun. It would be great to have a Food52 cooking club someday -- hint, hint. :)
Sarah J. May 20, 2015
Update! Since there was so much interest in Laurie Colwin's recipes (, we want everyone to get involved:

Cook from Home Cooking or More Home Cooking and share what you've made with us: Take a photo of your finished dish (or your cooking experience) and tag it with #f52cookbookclub (or simply email it to [email protected]). Share a review of the recipe on Twitter (or email us a blurb). We'll round up your photos and your commentary in a post at the end of the month.
erincpdx May 21, 2015
I agree with cookinginvictoria, the gingerbread recipes are great. I am most partial to the one with the cane syrup, but it is so important to let it sit the full day before eating it. The flavor will transport you.
Cindy June 3, 2015
Is there an official page for the cookbook club? I saw it mentioned that once a month, you'll have cookbook club. Just wondering where the information will be posted. Thanks!
Sarah J. June 10, 2015
We are working on it, Cindy! Please stay tuned. :) Thank you for your patience.
Holly May 20, 2015
The lemon honeycomb mold!
bittersweet May 20, 2015
All of the stories that accompanied Laurie's recipes were wonderful, but I was especially taken with "Stuffing: A Confession" in Home Cooking. She did not approve of a stuffed turkey and presented one to her disappointed family one year. After that, while meditating on the topic one night, she came up with the perfect stuffing: cornbread and prosciutto. And she was so right. I've been making this ever since Thanksgiving became my holiday, and just as Laurie said, "it was universally loved. It made everyone happy." My family is Italian, so the unusual addition of prosciutto was most welcome, and more elegant than the usual sausage. Home-made cornbread, leeks, onions, scallions, garlic, parsley, and turkey stock make for serious deliciousness. My only addition is some dried cranberries and a little fresh thyme. No one wants me to change anything. Thank you, Laurie, for one of my family's favorite food traditions.
bonnie May 20, 2015
The marinated brussel sprout salad with toasted walnuts on arugula
zephyr050 May 20, 2015
Her tomato pie is fabulous. And so is her beets with rosemary over angel hair pasta
Nancy May 20, 2015
Yes to Witloof and Gwen Soto comments about the power of her books and her reviews of other books to inspire us. My two favorite, most-made of her recipes are Damp Gingerbread and the lime chutney.
Patty May 19, 2015
Her gingerbread is great. Also the Nantucket Cranberry Pie. Easy and perfect.
laurajg May 19, 2015
I would love if you did her gingerbread, because I have lost the recipe, and it was among the best I've ever had.
creamtea May 20, 2015
Ditto for the gingerbread from Home Cooking. here's the recipe, laura:
cream one stick of sweet butter with 1/2 c. of light or dark brown sugar, beat until fluffy and add 1/2 cup molasses. Beat in 2 eggs. Add 1-1/2 c. of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and a generous tablespoon ground ginger (more or less to taste). Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon brandy or vanilla extract (do not use lemon extract). Add 1/2 cup buttermilk or milk with a little yogurt beaten in. Turn into a buttered 9" tin. 350º 20-30 minutes (takes longer in my oven). Cool on a rack.
mrslarkin May 20, 2015
I just pulled mine out of the oven. It smells divine.
Jodi May 19, 2015
Definitely the succotash from Home Cooking. I've made it a hundred times and it's always delicious. Especially on toast the next day just as LC suggested. Enjoy!
witloof May 19, 2015
I just made her flourless chocolate cake {cribbed from Elizabeth David} last week for about the 20th time { the recipe is lovely but it absolutely needs a half teaspoon of salt}. It's true that you don't have to blanch the almonds. You don't have to brew the espresso, either.

How about the almond blancmange from Edna Lewis? Or the Dukka?

This thread is making me dizzy with pleasure. I've had those two books since about 1990 and they are never far away from my bedside table. When we're done with the recipes in her books, I would like to suggest we take up the ones she wrote about in her essays. I have a small collection {Fancy Pantry, English Yeast Bread and Cookery, French Provincial Cooking, Curries and Bugles, Feasts and Friends}.
miamineymo May 19, 2015
Without repeating previously mentioned favorites, I've always loved her brownies, even if she acknowledged the recipe as Katharine Hepburn's. I call them Colwin's Brownies, and they remain my standard.
skb May 19, 2015
another vote for the mustard chicken! I've never made it, and I'd love to know how it looks in the "real world".
gwen S. May 19, 2015
Her broiled salmon, peach pizza, buttermilk cocoa cake, creamed corn, corn salad with black beans,peppers, cumin and shrimp, rosemary walnuts, and many more have all been loved by my family for many years, but the BEST thing about her books and recipes is the inspiration she instills. As I look through my tattered copies (esp More Home Cooking) I see all the myriad notes, comments and changes I've made over the years, and the truth of the matter is that although times and tastes have changed, her recipes a still provide a wonderful canvas for dreams and embellishment!