I only recently discovered Laurie Colwin as a food writer (I still haven’t read her novels) and got Home Cooking and More Home Cooking in quick succession from the library. More Home Cooking in particular has been a delight: How can you not love a cookbook/memoir whose first chapter begins with, “There are those of us–the harried, cowardly, overextended–who find the beginning of December to be life’s most trying time.”

She encourages us to hang in there until New Year’s Eve, when we can stay home with “a couple of similarly New Year’s Eve-phobic close friends” and eat delicious soothing food, including salmon and marinated Brussels sprouts and lemon rice pudding.

The books are smart, engaging, funny (read the “Jam Anxiety” chapter) and most of all encouraging. And we all need encouragement.