Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pomodori E Vino

Here is a comment I posted over at the blog of the Pomodori E Vino (, who have almost cooked their way through Essentials.

I am posting this as the project is coming to a close. Your work has been of incredible interest to me, as I have been trying to teach myself how to cook Italian by cooking my way through Marcella's works for a couple of years myself. However, my modest efforts could not begin to approach the sheer volume of work you have all produced since you began: one a day! It is remarkable.

I have enjoyed getting to know each of you during the process. While Marcella says in her first book that anyone who is slightly alert will have no problem cooking every dish, she also admits that simple does not always mean easy. It isn't easy making the perfect pasta with only spaghetti, garlic and oil, for example. When ingredients are not masked, and have to speak for themselves, in simple combinations and manipulated by simple procedures, then you really do have to do everything right.

And you know what, I think that more often than not you did.

I've been inspired by some of your dishes. You might see that in things I have cooked after you did. Some of the photography is beautiful, and the writing lyrical. You should be proud, each of you, of your efforts.

But of course the real hero in this project has been Marcella herself (and you too Victor, I know you're never far away). It is not too strong a statement to say Marcella's generous interaction with her fans over facebook, in her advanced years, have been one of the highlights of mine in recent times. We all knew she was an extraordinary gifted cook and communicator, with a clear vision of how things should be, but the way in which she has offered her increasingly valuable time to so many people she has not even met is just a sign of what a giving and passionate woman she is.

I have always said it was the intelligence in Marcella's writings that first drew me to her, and it was my success with her recipes and her virtual presence and encouragement on forums such as this project that has kept me cooking through her books.

It really has been like a director's cut, this project, with priceless commentary coming 20 years after the film was made. Although in this case it has been 30 years.

Lucky for us good cooking is timeless.

But enough from me. Thank you to each of you, and the biggest thank you and grandmotherly hug and firm handshake to Marcella and Victor. You are all food heros in my book, and the bringers of much happiness to many families, over many decades.