Marcella Hazan, who wrote the bestselling cookbooks that introduced Americans to real Italian food, died on Sunday at her home in Florida. She was 89 years old.
Hazan once said that when she didn’t grow up with supermarkets in Italy and was shocked at what she found when she made the move to the U.S.
“I never saw a supermarket in Italy,” she said in 2010. “The chicken, they were arriving from the farmer and they were alive. And at the supermarket they were very dead. They were wrapped. It was like a coffin. Everything was not natural.”
Hazan was a big fan of using fresh ingredients as much as possible and was never afraid to use the salt shaker, despite a widespread fear in America of too much sodium. She also warned of using too much garlic for the sake of making something “more Italian”.
“The unbalanced use of garlic is the single greatest cause of failure in would-be Italian cooking,” she wrote in her cookbook “Marcella Says…” ”It must remain a shadowy background presence. It cannot take over the show.”
The iconic Italian cook didn’t aspire originally to be a chef, instead graduating from the University of Ferrara with a doctorate in natural sciences and biology. However, after taking cooking classes that didn’t pan out due to a cancellation, Hazan was asked by her classmates to teach her own course on Italian food. Soon enough, a star was born.
On Sunday, Hazan’s husband Victor posted the news of her passing on her Facebook page, offering a simple and sweet farewell for her many fans.
“Marcella, my incomparable companion, died this morning a few steps away from her bed. She was the truest and the best, and so was her food,” he wrote.