Victor Hazan on Marcella’s “What you are, you cook”

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This post was written by Victor Hazan and originally published on Facebook.

It was the 30th, the eve before the Eve, I was at the stove, but Marcella was the cook. I was making the sauce she had devised in the first year of our marriage, the simple one that appears to have since become the most famous tomato sauce in the world. Tomatoes, an onion, a stick of butter. No basil, no garlic, no oregano, no black pepper, no red pepper flakes, no pancetta. If you use salted butter you don’t even need to add salt. When she was learning English at the same time that she was beginning to cook, Marcella was struck by the phrase, you are what you eat. Years later she turned it around in one of her cookbooks, writing, “What you are, you cook.” To some, her manner came across as curt. Marcella didn’t care for ornamentation, not in her speech, not in her cooking. She was brief and to the point, but no one could be kinder or more generous. That sauce is Marcella, simple, direct, pure in heart. On the 487th day since her passing, I approach another year without her, but with the taste of her within me. Victor.

December 31, 2014 · Longboat Key, FL
Photo chosen by Gustiamo

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