We live in a world of cookbook riches. Each year hundreds of cookbooks embracing cuisines from around the world are published. We often decide what’s for dinner by which cuisine we want to indulge in, Thai one night, Mexican another.
It wasn’t always like that. In the past cuisines from other countries were neutered beyond recognition, stripped of authentic taste. It took a few pioneers to bring food from other countries here in all its majesty. Marcella Hazan showed the world that Italian food was more than spaghetti and meatballs. She’s been dubbed the Julia Child of Italian cooking but that’s not an apt comparison. She wasn’t someone who came to a cuisine as Julia did, she was someone who was born with it and never had to hunger for it, someone who distilled the wisdom of her ancestors and culture into simple lessons. With PhD in biology, she had a keen sense of how components make the whole.
She’s also an example of the idea that is never too late to find the thing you are meant to do. She didn’t grow up cooking and only came to it during her marriage. Her first cookbook wasn’t published until she was almost 50. She published six cookbooks, a relatively small output by today’s prolific standards but enough to change how many people viewed Italian food.
Her son Guiliano carries on her legacy, creating food with more flavor than fuss using the fresh ingredients and techniques he was taught. Their food never goes out of style and yet somehow manages to be discovered afresh by each new generation.