Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Marcella Hazan Recipe Notebooks

Summary

Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.1604
Creators:
Hazan, Marcella (1924-04-15-2013-09-29)
Dates:
circa 1970s-1990s
Languages:
One letter is in
English
.
Physical Description:
.75 Cubic feet
3 boxes
Repository:
Collection consists of 26 handwritten recipe notebooks of Marcella Hazan, chef and author of Italian cooking.

Content Description

Content Description
Collection consists of 26 handwritten recipe notebooks of Marcella Hazan, chef and author of Italian cooking. Also includes one letter to Marcella Hazan from Julia Child, July 31, 1973. The recipe notebooks are in Italian.

Biographical

Biographical
Marcella Hazan (née Polini), was a tremendously influential cookbook author and culinary educator of regional Italian cooking traditions in the United States and United Kingdom. She is widely known for her six cookbooks on the cuisines of Italy, published between 1973 and 2004, which introduced American and British cooks to a wide range of ingredients, culinary techniques, and regional recipes at a time when Italian food for many in the U.S. leaned toward canned spaghetti and frozen pizza. What Julia Child did for French cooking in the United States, Marcella Hazan did for Italian cooking. Nevertheless, Hazan's name and legacy are lesser known by many Americans. Her story is deserving of preservation and integration into broad histories of culture, cuisine, education, women entrepreneurs, immigration, disability, and consumption in the twentieth-century United States.
Marcella's life in food was shaped by the fresh ingredients and simplified, efficient approaches to cooking and eating typical in the fishing village of Cesenatico, Italy, where she was born in 1924 and spent her early years. An accident at age 7 when her family was visiting Alexandria, Egypt, left her with limited use of her right arm for the rest of her life, a fact that would influence the design and use of her kitchens, but not her impact in the culinary world. During World War II, her family retreated to an inland farmhouse to escape the German occupation. They survived despite Facist takeovers of neighboring villages. Their return to Cesenatico in 1945 was also a return to the familiar foodscape of the sea and garden plants that had also survived the war. Marcella earned two doctorates in the sciences and became an elementary school teacher. She met Victor Hazan, who had left Italy with his family, Sephardic Jews, in 1939, ahead of the occupation. They moved to New York and established businesses there.
After marrying in 1955, Victor and Marcella returned to New York where Marcella struggled with learning English and finding appropriate ingredients to prepare meals from her Italian homeland. She enrolled in a Chinese cooking class and when the instructor abruptly left for China, the other students convinced Marcella to teach them Italian cooking. She opened a small cooking school in her home apartment in 1969 and attracted the praise and attention of
New York Times
food editor Craig Claiborne in the 1970s. Hazan published her first cookbook,
The Classic Italian Cookbook
, in 1973. From this surprising beginning, Marcella became a much-sought-after cooking teacher and cookbook author, active in the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy.
Hazan's cookbooks introduced American and British readers to the structure of the traditional Italian meal and to ingredients, dishes, and techniques largely unknown outside of Italy, such as balsamic vinegar, pesto, and the procedures for making fresh pasta. Unlike other chefs and authors of her day, Hazan rejected many high-tech shortcuts for chopping and mixing, insisting on manual techniques and stovetop cooking that demanded the cook's constant attention. In 1998, Marcella and Victor moved from Italy to Longboat Key, Florida, due to Marcella's declining health. She designed the kitchen in their Florida condominium to suit her cooking practices and tastes and continued to cook and write from her Florida home. Hazan died in Longboat Key, Florida, in 2013. She was the recipient of numerous awards, including the International Association of Culinary Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award (2004); Cavaliere della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana Award (2003); James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award (2000); and others.
Victor and Marcella had one son, Giuliano Hazan (b.1958). Marcella Hazan died on September 29, 2013.

Administration

Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Victor Hazan and Giuliano Hazan, December 6, 2023.
Processing Information
Collection is unprocessed.

Using the Collection

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation
Marcella Hazan Recipe Notebooks, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Keywords

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Cooking Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Cooking, Italian Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence -- 20th century Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Food Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Notebooks Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Recipes Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hazan, Giuliano, 1958- Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Hazan, Victor Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Child, Julia, 1912-2004 Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

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