Sunday, September 29, 2013

Marcella Hazan - RIP

If you're a cook, there are probably any number of people who helped shape your cooking chops.   There's family, of course - grandmother, mother, father, etc. And there are probably some TV personalities too; I always loved watching Julia, Jacques, Pierre, Graham, Jeff, James, Yan, etc. Nowadays, god forbid, it's Rachael and Guy, but that's another complaint and another post, and if they're shaping your cooking chops, maybe you should be, I dunno, drinking?

And then there are the cookbooks and their authors.  When I started cooking (I mean, other than helping my mother bake cakes and making scrambled eggs and stuff when I was 7), I took some cooking classes and I taught myself by buying and reading cook books.  One of the first, if not the first Italian cookbook that I bought, read and studied was The Classic Italian Cook Book. Released in 1973, I read it cover to cover, many times over.  I still turn to it, for inspiration, guidance and just because it's a great read.  I mean, look at these lines from the preface:
Nothing significant exists under Italy's sun that is not touched by art.  Its food is twice blessed because it is the product of two arts, the art of cooking and the art of eating.  The art of cooking produces the dishes, but it is the art of eating that transforms them into a meal.
Marcella Hazan passed away this morning at the age of 90 (and if that's not an endorsement for the art of eating well, I don't know what is), and the world of cooking has lost one of its greats.

RIP Marcella.  And thanks for all the lessons you taught me...

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