September 30, 2013

Yesterday the culinary world said goodbye to Marcella Hazan. She taught us about Italian food, the Italian art of eating, and the importance of quality ingredients. Her story is rich and her life was long, but it’s never long enough.

Marcella believed cooking for her loved ones was the way to express herself. She cooked lunch every day for her beloved husband Victor in their early years in New York, and eventually cooked lunch for Craig Claiborne. From there, her career took an unexpected trajectory, and she became the singular voice of Italian cooking.

She cooked her way into my heart through her clear writing and her clever recipes using few ingredients. She told us to use fresh ground pepper, and in some recipes, the directions stated how many times to turn the grinder. I loved that sort of precision. She walked me through fresh pasta-making, she taught me how to make tomato sauce and bolognese and lasagne with besciamella. The recipe for grilled vegetables in Classic Italian Cooking is a lesson in recipe writing, stating the order in which the vegetables should go to the grill to ensure the food will be ready at the same time. But Little Veal Bundles? Oh what a recipe. For many years, I called it my Seduction Dinner.


My facebook feed today is full of remembrances. I can think of no better way to remember Marcella than to cook for people I love. Would you like to’ do it together? October 26th, a Saturday night, will you plan a Marcella dinner party with me? We can take photos on Instagram, tweet our menus, put photos on Facebook to show satiated guests around the table, and, if you have a blog, tell everyone what you cooked. Marcella would approve, I believe, particularly if you poured her a bit of bourbon.

Invite people you love. Cook for them from one of Marcella Hazan’s cookbooks. If you don’t have one yet, perhaps it’s time you did?


27 Responses to “october 26 dinner party: celebrate marcella hazan and cook for people you love”

  1. sharon miro

    I will be joining you on this…her cookbooks are the rare few Italian ones I have…and while I didn’t always agree, I was always fascinated by her, and her absolute look of cooking for family.

  2. Sandra

    I’m thinking an evening of veal…tongue, sweetbreads, brains, kidneys. I even keep all the caul for myself thanks to her! Maybe some squab or rabbit. Ossobuco, scallopine…I have worked my way through the pages of her books as my pastures have blessed me with such wonderful foods. Count me in on this one!

  3. Gail

    Beautiful idea. I am sure that Marcella will be smiling down on each table of gathering and the love of food and sharing. Count me in… it would be an honor.

  4. Christine

    I’ll be there, or here, in person. I have to teach a class that day at Stonewall Kitchen and I will work in some of her techniques!

  5. Lisa

    Count us in! Peter, who is the Italian cook in our family is planning Marcella’s Fileto al Barolo with a pasta to start. I’m the dessert maker so will explore her cookbooks for a good one. Any favorites to suggest? Thanks for organizing this! Con amore xoxo

  6. Maurine Fischel

    I’m in. I pulled out my copies of her splattered and worn books yesterday and read through them. Cooking this meal will be great fun!

  7. Cook In / Dine Out

    I was sad to hear about her passing, as I’ve recently gotten into her recipes. So far I’ve made her bolognese lasagna and pasta e fagioli soup, both of which were quite divine. If I’m around on the 26th I would definitely consider doing this too. Great idea Cathy.

  8. cynthia

    I made Zucchini fritters with Tomato Sauce and Baked finocchio and potatoes, last night for friends! I received my copy of Marcella’s Kitchen in 1989….she was the Italian family I never had and always wanted….

  9. Janis

    I will be on a plane on my way home from California. I will feed my family a Marcella dish. New baby will be here and we will celebrate.

  10. David

    Cathy, what a beautiful way to honor Marcella! I will start planning my dinner for the 26th, and I know just what I’ll make. Her bolognese and alla carrettiera recipes are still my favorites!!

  11. Christy

    This is such a great tribute to Marcella. I’m rounding up a few of my friends in Palm Springs and will be hosting a party for her on the 26th.

  12. Nanette

    We Have plans that evening. We will prepare a simple Marcella dish on the 25th for our wine group and will host a more intimate dinner on Sunday the 27th.

  13. domenicacooks

    What a sweet idea, Cathy. I would love to participate. We may be in New Jersey visiting my own Italian mother, who was born the same year as Marcella, who also grew up along the Adriatic coast, and whose cooking style is very similar. I know she would like this idea. I wrote a little tribute I think you would like. It’s on my blog. xo

  14. Beth (OMG! Yummy)

    An inspired idea Cathy. Funny – somehow I don’t have any of her cookbooks but have already remedied that situation.

    I will be celebrating 6 50th bdays with my high school girlfriends that weekend and more than likely we will be eating in that Saturday night. Most of us are avid cooks and I’m sure would be delighted to have a direction and purpose for our menu that evening. Just a few weeks ago I found Marcella’s simple tomato sauce recipe on Food52 – the one with butter and onion – and made it for dinner with some simple roasted eggplant. I loved the sauce – we ate it for days. Just found my notes about the dinner that night – sauce and eggplant. I can’t wait for my new cookbook to come in the mail! I will just have to get to know her through her recipes.

  15. Karen Rush

    I am definitely in. I have arranged to cook for 6 dear friends (several ex-chefs) on that evening. I mourn her passing but celebrate her amazing contribution to the food lives of countless keen cooks and lovers of authentic, season-based Italian cooking. She was a profoundly influential in my cooking life and forming my eating habits.

  16. gluttonforlife

    I will join you in this! Already made a wild mushroom risotto in her honor. Perhaps the pork in milk for the 26th, and definitely her sublime bottarga with carta di musica!

  17. June Jacobs

    I’ve been cooking this past year in remembrance of my darling Anna Teresa Callen. But October 26th will be for Marcella! #dinnerforMarcella!

    so easy to do. her recipes are so elemental and so delicious. My framily will be thrilled.

    What a great idea, Cathy! Grazie.

  18. Mary-Denise Smith

    I’ll be celebrating from my kitchen, raising a glass of red, thinking of all the folks doing the same!



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