Saturated is often associated with vision. But why limit ourselves when all of our senses can experience the same burst of sensory pleasure.
The sound of music can fill your your soul. Close your eyes and let a silk scarf flow through your fingers.
But today join me on a short journey of the smell and tastes of food. What better way than to celebrate these two senses than the life and contributions made by Marcella Hazan. She recently passed away at the age of 89, proving that good food means good life.
I was introduced late in life to the delicacies that Ms. Hazan introduced to so many with her precise, but simple Italian recipes.
Like many of you, I never had the pleasure of spooning beans and pasta for breakfast. But to a young girl born some 20+ years after Ms. Hazan, such left overs for breakfast never tasted so good. “Pasta e Fagioli” was one of her favourite meals…and always better the day after…
But I get ahead of myself. Remembering 1924 as a very good year for new and old as King Tut’s tomb was opened and IBM was incorporated.
But for us, 1924 was the delicious year that gave us Marcelle Hazan. Some may be unfamiliar with this inspirational chef and author. You may consider her the Italian version of “Julia Child” in that she was responsible for introducing a distinct food culture to British and North American home kitchens. But that is oversimplification. Marcella Hazan brought the food of her own country, her own region and finally her own family to those less fortunate for not having been nurtured on cucina italiana .
She introduced to home chefs everywhere the foods of Italy long before other “stars” came on the stage. Some of those stars, like Mario Batali , acknowledge her contribution. And Ms. Hazan, through that young Fagioli loving girl, introduced me tangentially to that wonderful food.
My much better half took her cooking direction from her own family long before she even knew of the existance of Marcella Hazan. Unfortunately going to school, and then work, meant cooking was placed on the back burner for a number of years. And unfortunately that also forced me to cook and that was detrimental to all….
Fortune turned for me when my wife fell in love with her Italian food heritage all over again once she finished university. Like Ms. Hazan, who came to cooking later in her life, she sought inspiration from many others to build upon the basics she had learned in her mother’s kitchen.
Marcella Hazan was one of the first inspirations returning my wife to her renewed path for culinary perfection. The 1980 British edition of Ms. Hazan’s 1973 “The Classic Italian Cook Book” was the “bible” for many enjoyable meals. That book was so well used it soon was falling apart at the seams…literally.
A replacement was sorely needed, but not to be had. The book was out of print, replaced by more modern fare. So to that initial edition were soon added more Hazan delights: “More Classic Italian Cooking”, “Marcella’s Italian Kitchen” and “Marcella Says….”
All these and more were added to the repertoire on sagging bookshelves. (We never stopped looking for that replacement and finally found a copy in the wonderful book store in Portland Oregon. Powell’s City of Books .)
So thank you to Ms. Hazan for making so many people’s lives more pleasurable. And a personal thanks for helping to inspire my own “personal” chef to saturate my taste buds.
For those less familiar, saturate yourself through the pictures of making of and eating of “Pasta e Fagioli” (or buy the book – see the Hazan’s web site).