by A.J. Coltrane
Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is an excellent book. It’s a good thing though, that she wrote it before the internet existed. The trolls would have torn this humblebrag to pieces:
Pan-Roasted Breast of Veal
Although this had long been one of my favorite meat dishes, it was so simple and straightforward that I took it for granted, and it escaped my notice as a recipe to record. The late James Beard had it with me at Bologna’s Diana restaurant when he came, in the mid-1970’s, to observe the course I was then teaching. It was he who was so taken with it that he urged me to set the recipe down.
Breaking it down:
“Although this had long been one of my favorite meat dishes, it was so simple and straightforward that I took it for granted, and it escaped my notice as a recipe to record.”
“Twas but a piffle. I considered the recipe below my attention as anything of exception.”
“The late James Beard had it with me at Bologna’s Diana restaurant when he came, in the mid-1970’s, to observe the course I was then teaching.”
Where do I start? I didn’t go to see James Beard, he came to see ME! In Italy! To observe my cooking “course”. (Maybe it really was a “course” and not a “class”… *maybe*.)
“It was he who was so taken with it that he urged me to set the recipe down.”
He really liked it! ….no….. He loved it! ….no…. [In Master Thespian Voice] It was HE who was so TAKEN with it that he URGED me….
I’m giving it a “tag” for Favorite Cookbooks anyway. So there’s that.
I’m reminded of this scene from the Big Lebowski, set at rich Lebowski’s mansion.
YOUNG MAN And this is the study. You can see the various commendations, honorary degrees, et cetera. DUDE Yes, uh, very impressive. YOUNG MAN Please, feel free to inspect them. DUDE I'm not really, uh. YOUNG MAN Please! Please! DUDE Uh-huh. YOUNG MAN That's the key to the city of Pasadena, which Mr. Lebowski was given two years ago in recognition of his various civic, uh. DUDE Uh-huh. YOUNG MAN That's a Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Business Achiever award, which is given--not necessarily given every year! Given only when there's a worthy, somebody especially-- DUDE Hey, is this him with Nancy? YOUNG MAN That is indeed Mr. Lebowski with the first lady, yes, taken when-- DUDE Lebowski on the right? YOUNG MAN Of course, Mr. Lebowski on the right, Mrs. Reagan on the left, taken when-- DUDE He's handicapped, huh? YOUNG MAN Mr. Lebowski is disabled, yes. And this picture was taken when Mrs. Reagan was first lady of the nation, yes, yes? Not of California. DUDE Far out. YOUNG MAN And in fact he met privately with the President, though unfortunately there wasn't time for a photo opportunity...