r.i.p.

Food World Mourns Marcella Hazan’s Death

Hazan, in 1996.

Hazan, in 1996.Photo: Bo Zaunders/Corbis

There is perhaps no person more commonly associated with influencing the way Americans cook Italian food than Marcella Hazan, so it is understandable that news of her death yesterday — at age 89, near her home in Florida — was met with an outpouring of appreciation from chefs and food writers.

Her books — including The Classic Italian Cookbook and Marcella Cucina — are often credited with forcing Americans to rethink what "Italian" food really was. Hazan emphasized simplicity and correct technique (and a proper amount of salt). Her tomato sauce, famously just tomatoes, onion, butter, and salt, is probably her most renowned recipe, and it accompanies her Times obit.

As famous as her food was her demeanor, which various rememberances have described as "blunt," " brusque," and "both warmhearted and prickly."

But her influence can't be overstated. As Corby Kummer writes in Bloomberg:

Because the Hazans championed fresh vegetables many people had never heard of (artichokes, fennel), olive oil and -- above all -- simplicity and clarity in cooking, they can be argued to have had even more influence on how Americans cook than Julia Child, a similarly gifted teacher and writer whose rise immediately preceded theirs and probably made it possible.

It's fitting, then, that Hazan won multiple awards, most notably a lifetime achievement in 2000 from the James Beard Foundation and another in 2004 from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She died early Sunday at her home in western Florida. According to the Times, her meal on Saturday consisted of trofie with pesto made of basil from her garden.

Changed the Way Americans Cook Italian Food [NYT]
How Marcella Hazan Made Italian Food All-American [Bloomberg]

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