The best recipes often come with a story behind them. This week, looking for a nice basic red sauce, I came across the much-lauded recipe by Marcella Hazan that’s incredibly simple — so simple it’s surprised countless food bloggers with its deliciousness and depth. Food bloggers being who they are, this prompted them to tell their own stories of their experiences with this recipe, along with that of Hazan, who is credited with bringing authentic Italian food to American kitchens.
The writers’ tales, along with their telling of Hazan’s story, made making the dish all the more meaningful to me. (And Michael loved it even without hearing the story!)
Food and drink are much improved by backstories and memories. I think about the wine-loving journalist couple of Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher, who once wrote the Tastings column for the Wall Street Journal. One of their signature themes was “Open that Bottle Night” — a manufactured occasion (like all occasions, when you think about it) to open that special bottle of wine you’ve socked away for “a special occasion.” Enjoying the wine with friends, they contended, made an occasion.
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