Marcella Hazan Narrowly Avoids The Trolls

by A.J. Coltrane

Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is an excellent book. It’s a good thing though, that she wrote it before the internet existed. The trolls would have torn this humblebrag to pieces:

Pan-Roasted Breast of Veal

Although this had long been one of my favorite meat dishes, it was so simple and straightforward that I took it for granted, and it escaped my notice as a recipe to record. The late James Beard had it with me at Bologna’s Diana restaurant when he came, in the mid-1970’s, to observe the course I was then teaching. It was he who was so taken with it that he urged me to set the recipe down.

Seriously?

Breaking it down:

“Although this had long been one of my favorite meat dishes, it was so simple and straightforward that I took it for granted, and it escaped my notice as a recipe to record.”

“Twas but a piffle. I considered the recipe below my attention as anything of exception.”

 

“The late James Beard had it with me at Bologna’s Diana restaurant when he came, in the mid-1970’s, to observe the course I was then teaching.”

Where do I start? I didn’t go to see James Beard, he came to see ME! In Italy! To observe my cooking “course”. (Maybe it really was a “course” and not a “class”… *maybe*.)

 

“It was he who was so taken with it that he urged me to set the recipe down.”

He really liked it! ….no….. He loved it! ….no…. [In Master Thespian Voice]   It was HE who was so TAKEN with it that he URGED me….

 

Sheesh.

I’m giving it a “tag” for Favorite Cookbooks anyway. So there’s that.

I’m reminded of this scene from the Big Lebowski, set at rich Lebowski’s mansion.

 

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         And this is the study.  You can see 
                         the various commendations, honorary 
                         degrees, et cetera.

                                     DUDE
                         Yes, uh, very impressive.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Please, feel free to inspect them.

                                     DUDE
                         I'm not really, uh.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Please!  Please!

                                     DUDE
                         Uh-huh.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         That's the key to the city of 
                         Pasadena, which Mr. Lebowski was 
                         given two years ago in recognition 
                         of his various civic, uh.

                                     DUDE
                         Uh-huh.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         That's a Los Angeles Chamber of 
                         Commerce Business Achiever award, 
                         which is given--not necessarily given 
                         every year!  Given only when there's 
                         a worthy, somebody especially--

                                     DUDE
                         Hey, is this him with Nancy?

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         That is indeed Mr. Lebowski with the 
                         first lady, yes, taken when--

                                     DUDE
                         Lebowski on the right?

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Of course, Mr. Lebowski on the right, 
                         Mrs.  Reagan on the left, taken when--

                                     DUDE
                         He's handicapped, huh?

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         Mr. Lebowski is disabled, yes.  And 
                         this picture was taken when Mrs. 
                         Reagan was first lady of the nation, 
                         yes, yes? Not of California.

                                     DUDE
                         Far out.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         And in fact he met privately with 
                         the President, though unfortunately 
                         there wasn't time for a photo 
                         opportunity...

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