It’s been a busy week.
Monday was Johnson & Wales with the formidable Mary Catherine Diebel, co-owner of the lovely Upstairs in the Square, to present ideas on the restaurant industry and have a discussion about my book, “Back of the House,” before 150 culinary students. I’d no idea that J&W had such a cool, modern campus and such a pleasant vibe.
Previously, research was being done on a series of articles I’ve been asked to write about Japan; interestingly, few of these are specific to food, but rather are concerned with comedy, jazz, and sumo.
Moving forward, more work on Japan and the snail’s pace, the glacial progress of my book on growing up Ethiopian; I rather like the slow pace, I have to say, as it forces me to think things through rather than put down on paper the first thing that comes to mind. It creates a relationship to the subject and, let’s face it, silence is always preferable.
In between all of this, I’m trying to ignore the “taco issue” in today’s NY Times, and instead am focusing on thoughts of Marcella Hazan–she died on Sunday–whose cookbooks were the first I studied and used again and again and again until many of the recipes became second nature.
Unlike the bombastic Julia Child, whose recipes convinced Americans that haute French was possible in home kitchens, who ironically lowered the standard of what ought to pass for beautiful food, Marcella Hazan brought to life the simplicity of Italian cooking. Her basic tomato sauce–onion, butter, salt, good canned tomatoes–is the perfect example of her sweetness and achievement and intelligence.