"Lorennn" -- I can still hear that smokey, Italian-accented voice in my head. It belonged to the extraordinary Marcella Hazan who died a week ago in the art-filled apartment on the Gulf of Mexico that she and Victor, her husband of 60 years, shared.
The cover is gone from the first book and it is marked throughout on all of our favorite recipes. The second book is completely tattered and spotted with equal amounts of olive oil, wine and indistinguishable stains, the afterimages of the meals of our life together.
Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking features a photograph of Marcella and her husband arm-in-arm, smiling and touching each other in a way that suggests many years of happy intimacy. Newly married, we both wanted to be that couple some day.
Until Marcella Hazan published her instantly classic cookbook, you went to a restaurant that featured Northern Italian cooking, had a meal that was destined for your top ten list, and returned home with a nagging question: This is simple food. Why can't I cook like this?
Imagine offering books that enrich life, herbs and teas that promote health, food so delicious that gluttony is unthinkable, music that heals the soul, movies that spark the imagination. HSN might have taken us...higher.
There you are, in a restaurant that features Northern Italian cooking, having a meal that's destined for your top ten list. Then the old nagging question arises: This is "simple" food. Why can't I cook like this at home?