'Mother of Italian Cooking' in US Dead at 89

Marcella Hazan published 7 bestselling cookbooks

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 30, 2013 8:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – Marcella Hazan—"the first mother of Italian cooking in America," according to restaurateur Lidia Bastianich—has died at age 89 in her Florida home, after years of emphysema. Even if you've never heard her name, Hazan may have influenced your cooking, the New York Times points out; in a tweet, Mark Bittman calls her "one of the true cooking greats in US history," the Braiser reports. Known for her Bolognese, minestrone, and pork braised in milk, she emphasized simplicity.

When the Italian-born Hazan first moved to the US, she was disgusted by US versions of her native food, the Times explains. She began teaching cooking classes at her home; eventually impressing then-New York Times food editor Craig Claiborne. Three years later, in 1973, she published her first cookbook, Classic Italian Cooking. It was translated, like all her writing, by her husband, and remains in print today. After that, she wrote six more bestsellers, the Los Angeles Times notes. "She was really the first to make Northern Italian cuisine available to Americans," says editor Judith Jones.

In this May 29, 2012 file photo, chef Marcella Hazan poses in the kitchen of her Longboat Key, Fla., home.
In this May 29, 2012 file photo, chef Marcella Hazan poses in the kitchen of her Longboat Key, Fla., home.   (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)
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