Colwin's culinary reminiscences are as graceful and engaging as her fiction (Family Happiness, 1982; Another Marvelous Thing, 1986; etc.). Her little three-to-five-page pieces, each one culminating in a usable, appealing, no-frills recipe, tell of feeding friends or savoring solitary eggplant dinners in her first apartment, a Greenwich Village find ""a little larger than the Columbia Encyclopedia""; of feeding Irish colcannon to homeless ""ladies"" at a drop-in Center; and of feeding offense-free dishes to the fussy, the variously restricted, and the allergic--as ""you don't want to be the death of your guests, though sometimes is seems that they will be the death of you.' Colwin rhapsodizes over English double cream, too thick to pour, and shudders to recall a genius host's repulsive but mercifully stingy casserole. She boasts of the Boston Brown Bread that ""I have now made so many times I could make it under general anesthesia,"" and confesses to a disastrous, capriciously stuffed snapper that ""finally emerged from the oven looking like Hieronymus Bosch's vision of hell."" Early on, in dismissing the need for an extensive batterie de cuisine, Colwin confides that ""I myself once cooked spaghetti in a champagne bucket""--a confidence that well sums up both the genteel legacy and the redeeming no-nonsense composure that inform her approach to the kitchen arts.