The inimitable Marcella Hazan died this week at the age of 89. As the New York Times noted in the headline for her obituary, she "changed the way Americans cook Italian food." Her passing got me thinking about enduring cookbooks by strong-minded writers who have guided me in the kitchen and whose prose is a pleasure to read away from the stove.
Hazan authored a number of cookbooks, notably The Classic Italian Cookbook. Although she never felt comfortable enough in English to compose in that language (she wrote in Italian and her husband translated the text), she had a forceful voice that commanded the reader's attention. She was exacting, opinionated, and sometimes peremptory--a stern teacher whose rigor her students cherish.