About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Beth’s Final Thoughts | Main

Marcella's Epilogue

Every day for sixty-two weeks the members of a group that called itself Pomodori e Vino, working in rotation, made one of the more than 400 recipes from the fourth of my six cookbooks. They posted the results of their work, candidly describing predilections and aversions, trials alternating with successes, laying out the procedures they followed in strict observance of my published instructions, and documenting their efforts with photographs that were unfailingly lucid and often potently evocative.

That they should have set themselves such a task excited wonder. That they accomplished it exactly in the terms that they imposed on themselves – absolute fidelity to the recipes as they appear in my book – arouses amazement. They held me spellbound for fourteen and a half months. Their posts were often so felicitously anecdotal, that Victor and I pulled them up, gripped by the kind of anticipation with which one might follow suspenseful episodes of cliff-hanging adventures.

Will Irene overcome her loathing of eggs and taste the frittata? How can Palma get past cooking a whole fish that is looking at her in the eye? Is Jerry about to touch those lamb kidneys with his ungloved hands? How is Doug going to fulfill his assignments if there is nowhere in Ontario that he can get caul fat, cranberry beans, or maraschino liqueur? Can Deborah make smothered lettuce with that hateful Boston variety?

63pomodori1.jpg During its life, and even before its existence in its present form, my book was itself pushed to the edge of a few cliffs. A substantial part of it was first published in 1973 as The Classic Italian Cook Book. It nearly perished in the indifferent hands of its original publisher until it was rescued and reissued by Judith Jones, Julia’s editor at Knopf.

In 1992 I updated the recipes of that first cookbook, combined them with those of my second, More Classic Italian Cooking, added a long chapter on the fundamentals of Italian cooking and fifty new recipes, and titled this compilation Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, the book through which the Pomodori team have cooked their way. Curiously, it did not win the heart of the editor who had once been so supportive, and Essentials might have been stillborn had it not found immediate favor with cooks everywhere. The last time I looked, it was in its 28th printing and going strong. It has been equally successful in its British edition and in several translations.

The history of Essentials reaches its zenith in the odyssey of the Pomodori, who lifted it out of its pages and brought it to their kitchens and onto their tables. It felt as though two decades and more had fallen away and I was living again, day after day, a significant part of my productive life. No author could ever expect such a gift.

Thank you Beth, thank you Irene, thank you Doug, thank you Cindy, thank you Sandi & Jan, thank you Jerry & Palma! Thank you Deborah, peerless photographer, irresistible persuader, supreme organizer. Friend.

Comments (6)

Marcella, you are a much bigger part of this project than just the author of the cookbook.
Your own daily comments were the great motivator. In our 'virtual' classroom, we all felt your presence. It was as if, in each of our kitchens, you stood beside us, looking over our shoulders. Commented on our technique, pointed out our errors, praised our successes, and then you and Victor joined us at table.
It is we who thank you.

I too have followed most of the Pomodori e Vino posts and wished that I could have been one of those who helped to cook my way through "Essentials".
You see, I fell in love with Marcella when a college roommate gave me "The Classic Italian Cookbook" when I returned from spending a summer in Cortona Italy....way before that wonderful Etruscan hill town was discovered. I have had a love affair with Italians and Italian cooking ever since.
This past year a dream came true when I was able to connect, if only through electronic media, to one of my culinary heros, Marcella Hazan. For me she has represented the way to cook Italian and the day that I received a response from a post to her Facebook page has allowed me to touch the stars!
Viva Marcella, I love you and wish you and Victor all the best. Thank you for all the happiness that you have brought me.

Charnee Smit:

Dear Marcella, this series made me realize I had gotten into a rut, cooking only some old familiar dishes from your two books. (Yes, I have both of them) So I will look at the books with fresh eyes, and try more things.

I was very disappointed a couple of years ago that I was unable to meet you when you visited the Pasta Shop in Oakland, CA. The reports from the staff there were that you were as pleasant and gracious as anyone could ask. I thank you for your cookbooks (ALL of them!) and your personality that comes through.


Scott Ruth:

As Cindy's husband and the recipient of many good dishes that Cindy cooked from Marcella's cook book I thank you!

Mindy :

It's been so much fun to follow along with the Pomodori as they have loveingly followed your recipes to the letter :) Their mouth watering photos, comments (and your comments too Marcella), have been a joy to read for the past year and few months. I have learned so much. Thank you ALL from the bottom of my growling tummy!!!

Brava!! Rah Rah!!!!!!!

It's been a wonderful series to follow. Thank you all for doing it - even us silent readers appreciated it!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 13, 2011 6:28 AM.

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