August 16, 2010
Thank you my dear Friends for your kind messages and your loyalty. It was enormously flattering to find my venerable cookbook – 37 years old this past spring – landing on the Guardian’s list as it did on a number of other lists, The Wall Street Journal’s 5 best, GQ’s 10 best, the Village Voice’s best cookbook ever, even among the 100 best ever chosen by a paper in David Downie’s hometown, Brisbane. It’s a peculiar feeling, similar perhaps to those of a mother’s whose little boy has become a movie star and won an Oscar. That book is still like a little boy to me. I wrote it without any knowledge of how one writes cookbooks, and puzzled that a publisher should have asked me to do it and been willing to pay me what seemed to me then the amazing sum of $2,500 plus $500 for groceries. The recipes were of the dishes that a woman who had never cooked in her life had managed to produce for her new husband. The kind of food that I was writing about seemed to be totally unfamiliar to anyone I spoke. Many of the ingredients I listed were not even available in any major market in a cosmopolitan city like New York. I look now at the food landscape in this and in other countries and as I gaze on the figure of Italian cooking that dominates that landscape, I say, omigosh!