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Amarcord: Marcella Remembers

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  188 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Widely credited with introducing proper Italian food to the English-speaking world, Marcella Hazan is known as America's godmother of Italian cooking. Raised in Cesenatico, a quiet fishing town on the northern Adriatic Sea, she'd eventually have her own cooking schools in New York, Bologna, and Venice, where she would teach students from around the world to appreciate - an ...more
Hardcover, Large print, 453 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Thorndike Press (first published September 30th 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 358)
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Jennifer
I adored this memoir by talented, opinionated, entrepreneurial, tenacious Signora Hazan. I was fascinated to read about her family history (and so also some history of Italy), her travels with husband and their various homes in Italy, and her interests, which were not limited to Italian cooking, naturally.

Her enthusiasm for meals as memorable as they are simple and her insistence on teaching others to cook good, unpretentious Italian food are both inspiring. I suspect that her frequent squabbles
...more
Marji
Honestly, I really enjoyed this book, but I love cooking and have been cooking from her cookbooks since the 1980's. That said, I agree with the other reviewers that liked the first half better than the second half, and agree that this could have been so much better. She writes a good cookbook, she would have done well to enlist the aid of a ghost writer to write her memoirs. It was very interesting reading about the advent of destination cooking courses, which are quite common now but when Marce ...more
Julie Davis
Average. Too bad Ms. Hazen didn't have a talented grandnephew to write this as did Julia Child in her fantastic memoir, My Life in France. The beginning of the book is interesting as it is filled with memories of life in Italy during WWII, moving to New York as a nonEnglish speaker, and suchlike. However, once her career becomes food oriented the pace and interest level slows way down. I was especially put off by the way she justified her final break with Knopf by entering her book that compiled ...more
Janyne
The first section of this book was very interesting. I enjoyed reading about Marcella's journey from Egypt to Milan and reading about her time at Lake Garda during World War II. She has some very interesting stories to share, especially the one about the skeleton.

The last 2/3 of the book involved a lot of self serving name dropping and that was considerably less enjoyable. The book became a slog to read. The low point was when she devoted an entire chapter to a child-like criticism of famed foo
...more
Bibliovixen
As the author says, this is more a book of memories and remembrance than an autobiography. A thoroughly enjoyable read of her travels from Italy to the US, of the woman many of us look to teach us classic Italian cuisine.
Trina
Fascinating memoir of the life of Marcella Hazan. I especially enjoyed the stories of pre war Italy. She had a long and eventful life. If you've used her cookbooks you'll love this.
Barbara VA
I really enjoyed this book! I just came back from a trip to Tuscany and her Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking has become my bible, much to the happiness of my family. I wondered why with so many reprints it had not been updated to a more contemporary look, now I know. I loved reading about how she became a cook for her family in New York. I live in Virginia and even today with the new gourmet grocery stores, like Wegman's, it is hard to find all the right ingredients. I remember a trip to F ...more
Jennifer
Aug 14, 2012 Jennifer rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: http://www.foodinjars.com/2012/03/a-few-food-books-ive-enjoyed/
Shelves: 2012
A housemate of mine was getting her PhD in science. "What do you want to do when you finish school?" we would ask. "Get married, have babies, and bake cakes." "And you need a PhD for that?"

I know we aren't to judge a book by the cover, but I'm failing to see how she left this science career and taught America how to cook Italian food. I see that she got some good degrees and didn't really make it in Science for a variety of reasons. Reading the book it seems that other than a handful of people
...more
Erica
Hazan recalls her life, from its beginning in Cesenatico, a fishing village in Italy, to marrying her husband, moving to New York and stumbling into a cooking career, born of their love of the Italian extended lunch.

I listened to this on CD and loved it -- there's nothing better than hearing how someone followed their passion (in this case inadvertently -- her initial training was as a scientist) and created a wonderful life, from New York City to Bologna to Venice. I wish I could have attended
...more
jill
I didn't quite finish this book before returning it to the library, but I doubt I'll go back to finish it, so I'm marking it "read," by which I mean as read as it's going to be.
My dad loves his Marcella Hazan cookbooks; in a family as food obsessed as mine, she's almost the Italian matriarch we Dutch-British Rowleys never actually had. So it is perhaps fitting that this book reads like a conversation with your sort of self-involved grandma -- it's not that she didn't lead an interesting life, it
...more
Kathleen Bridgman
I wish someone else would read this book. I got bogged down about 2/3 of the way through, because, although I think her life, epsecially the earlier years, was fascinating, I started to be irritated by the detailed memories she holds about people who did her wrong in one way or another. There was too much of a complaining tone for me. I wonder what the gossip is about her in the foodie world. Anyway, won't someone else read this book and tell me if I am being too hard on Marcella? I will try to ...more
Randall
Wonderful autobiography of a self taught cook who went from a war time bride in Italy to the Muse of Italian cooking in America. Definitely entertaining for those who love cooking and love Italian Food.
April
As a worshipper of all things Italian and a frequent user of Hazan's cookbooks, I found this memoir inviting, with its glimpses into Italian food and culture. The ending, however, was disappointingly abrupt. Hazan's move from Venice to Florida was occasioned by necessity (Venice is apparently hard to get around for those who are less mobile) but even so, I would have appreciated a half chapter about the adjustment to life in Florida and whether there are emotional compensations for the loss of a ...more
Laura
I adored this book. The interesting part is, I'd never heard of Marcella Hazan's name before discovering her memoirs. The first half was written fantastically and while the second-half did include some pretty heavy name-dropping, the narrative still flowed interestingly enough to hold my attention until the end. Her portraits of Italian life and cooking are something I'd frame on my wall and her descriptions are amazing. I would highly recommend this book for anyone seeking a combination of hist ...more
Catriona
Dec 30, 2008 Catriona rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Marcella
This was an interesting quick read, but was not compelling literature.

The most interesting issues were hinted at and not really discussed:
a) How much of the cooking passion and school was from Marcella and how much was her husband, Victor?
b) What really was the relationship between Victor and Marcella?
c) What happened with their relationships with their parents and their son?
d) What really was going on with various friendships and relationships in the cooking and publishing world?

If you want to
...more
LorCon
A trip to Italy and Marcella Hazan changed my life. She is to Italian cooking what Julie Child was to French, known as "The Godmother." Amarcord is strangely unsatisfying, perhaps because she's not speaking in her native tongue. I've come away with no sense of how awful it must have been to grow up in war-torn Italy, how wonderful to find a soulmate like Victor Hazan and a son who has followed her footsteps, how fabulous to be a globetrotting celebrity and how heartbreaking to have to move from ...more
Christine
Marcella Hazan is considered the Julia Child of Italian cooking having introduced it in her cookbooks in the late 70s. She is less well known than other celebrity chefs and the book gives great insight into her humble beginnings. Its also a good story about how an immigrant who did not know the language, and lived most of her adult life in Italy, could still make a place for herself in America. She is rather "confident" about her contributions to the American cooking and food scene and I have no ...more
Dina
What a beautiful testament to the benefits of having two spouses who support each other.
Susan
A very personal memoir of interest to anyone who lived through the 80s and 90s when good food was serious for the first time and we were all learning to cook well and explore new cuisine at home. She should have titled her books..."more than tomato sauce" because we were all so naive and she introduced a new vision of Italian food you could not get in a restaurant. Marcella's cookbooks saved marriages. The behind the scenes view answers some questions I had - most mostly the "entertainment tonig ...more
Pat Borghesan
I am a foodie so I thought I would love this book. Even though a big fan, I felt it would have benefited from more editing. Marcella Hazan's early life is very interesting as are the war years and her first years in America. The first cooking class reminded me of my own experience with 5 other women traveling to someone's house for instruction and lunch very on target, very genuine. Once she gets successful, it was harder to keep going. I did finish it and realize I never want to be a chef.
Matthew
what to say- well, I know I'd heard her name before, but had no idea why. While I usually am not a big autobiography fan, this was a very interesting story where the writer interjected herself but not in a n off-putting way, so it worked.
She lived a very interesting life, and makes me want to explore my Italian roots even more! and the old pictures of celebrities that took her classes or gave her awards (Wolfgang Puck 25 years ago was a hoot!) were nice little treats intermixed.
Steve
Nov 02, 2009 Steve rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: foodies
Nice read - no recipes, but lots on food. Fun that she "pays back" some slights in her life, and even takes time to complain of her grumpy servant of 12 years! Boy, the moves she made to keep her husband happy. the first 60-70 pp on her earlier Italian life are the best part, as is the part on her later life in Venice. A nice read, but she is not all "sweetness and light" - which makes it even better. And not afraid to "toot her own horn" either!
Belle
I wasn't sure Marcella's life was going to be interesting enough to read about but Amarcord quite well written and engaging. There were a few stories that I'd love to hear the other side of - maybe just knowing Marcella's reputation leads me to think that some of these stores are a little slanted.

How i would have LOVED to take a class with her. The queen of Italian cooking. I wonder if she would have scolded me too.
Jodi
Well, I'm a bit of a foodie, so I enjoyed reading about Ms. Hazan's life. It isn't terribly well written, so it wouldn't be the first book I recommend to a friend. Marcella does have exceptionally detailed memories, and provides great descriptions of parts of the world I've never seen. She's also met all the influential people in the culinary world...neat to hear about. A fun, quick read.
Barbara
You can't get into this book expecting great literature. It is more in the style of listening while your grandmother recalls her past experiences....sometimes out of chronological order but interesting none the less. I think Hazan's description of Italian food and cooking style is very appealing to any who enjoy cooking and are adventurous in their culinary pursuits.
Cerealflakes
I am glad I read this book, but it wasn't the best written. I enjoyed Julia Child's book much more. That book was co-written with her nephew, who is a writer. Hazan's book had a lot of going back and forth and could've done with some help from a knowledgeable writer. The story of how she got her start and her time in Italy during WWII was interesting.
CJ
Interesting, but I got tired of the complaining tone. Blaming your housekeeper for your dour tone is silly. she hadn't accepted that she was a pioneer in teaching Americans to appreciate Northern Italian cooking, but she has been passed by younger chefs and writers.
Gotta quit reading auto-biographies by 80-something-year old cookbook writeres.
Arline
I don't particularly want to own this book but I am interested in Marcella's bio. She and her husband live in the same condo complex on Longboat Key, FL as my in-laws. They trade restaurant recommendations. She tells them where to dine in NYC (she favors Chinese restaurants) and they tell her which local restaurants they have enjoyed.
Amy
I had a chance to review this not-yet-published autobiography, which will be of interest to anyone that enjoys reading about personal takes on artichokes and fennel. I liked her reading of her memories of Roma and Milano back in the day, which affirm that not much has changed or ever changes in Rome (a comfort to me).
Elizabeth
Marcella Hazan's story is absolutely fascinating, with many interesting parallels to the Julia Child story. Many. She is truly one of the greats of food, though equally clearly she could not have been that easy to work with.
Great read, and I would kill for her Venice apartment.
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Born in 1924 in Italy, she later moved in New York where she founded a cooking school specialized in traditional Italian cooking. She published her first cooking book, The Classic Italian Cook Book, in 1973.
More about Marcella Hazan...
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking The Classic Italian Cook Book: The Art of Italian Cooking and the Italian Art of Eating Marcella Cucina Marcella's Italian Kitchen Marcella Says...: Italian Cooking Wisdom from the Legendary Teacher's Master Classes, with 120 of Her Irresistible New Recipes

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