Cookbook Author, Italian Culinary Legend Marcella Hazan Dies at 89

A legacy of seasonality and proper seasoning.

After Julia Child taught us the importance of butter, Marcella Hazan taught us the importance of salt. Hazan, the author of seven books on Italian cooking, died at her home in Longboat Key, Fla. on Sunday. She was 89.

Hazan was known for simplifying recipes down to their essentials and for emphasizing the importance of good ingredients long before farm-to-table became chic.  

Lidia Bastianich, New York-based restaurateur and television personality told The New York Times yesterday,  “She was the first mother of Italian cooking in America.”

Though she never achieved the star power of chefs like Mario Batali, Hazan’s influence was recently reawakened in the past decade thanks to the popularity of her recipes on cooking blogs. One of her most famous sauces, a simple mixture of tomatoes, butter, onion, and salt, has been reproduced online tens of thousands of times. Its simplicity has been called ingenious and “the most famous sauce on the internet.”

“I didn’t pay attention to Julia Child like everyone else said they did,” Mario Batali recounted to the Times. “I paid attention to Marcella Hazan.”

She is survived by her husband and cookbook translator, Victor, their son, and two grandchildren.