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Letter writing is an endangered art. In the rush to email, text or tweet, sitting down to put pen to paper is a rare indulgence. To change all that we invited three food writers to pen a note to someone – living or deceased – who’s inspired their cooking. It’s not something that can be done in 140 characters or fewer, and it’s so much better as a consequence

Thane Prince writes to… Marcella Hazan

Marcella had a reputation for being forthright and exacting – a New York Times obituary admiringly described her as “a tough biscotti with a raspy voice, who didn’t suffer fools gladly”. One of the foremost Italian food writers, she was born in Emilia-Romagna in Italy in 1924. She earned a doctorate in biology and natural sciences before marrying wine writer Victor Hazan and moving to New York in 1955. She’d never cooked before she married but taught herself using Italian cookbooks. She began giving cookery lessons in her apartment and contributed recipes to The New York Times. Her first book, The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (1973), has become a standard text on the subject. She went on to write five more books before she passed away in 2013.

Dear Marcella

It was over 30 years ago that we met and talked, but so much of you has followed me through my cooking life. You were three years younger than I am now, grey-haired with smiling eyes and accompanied by your husband Victor who was your biggest critic and inspiration. I saw you then as old. What little I knew.

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About delicious. Magazine

Get summer off to a sizzling start with the June issue of delicious. and cook paella on a barbecue, whip up Gill Meller’s outdoor meal or feast on Richard Turner’s epic umami burger. Discover new ways to roast chicken and try our fab G&T cheesecake, Martin Morales’ sea bass ceviche and midweek meals ready in 15 minutes. Along with The World’s Best Cake recipe, there’s our 16-page guide to cooking with dairy including exclusive recipes and foolproof techniques. Bring on the sun…