Food: Battling Spaghetti O Taste Buds

An Italian cook pleads the case for food that "matters"

A simmering sauce of endives, smoked pancetta and double cream fills the wood-beamed Venetian kitchen with its aroma. Bits of baby lamb are soaking up the flavor of juniper berries and white wine. Strings of homemade tonnarelli are drying nearby. Standing over her restaurant-size range, Marcella Hazan looks with mock astonishment at six blushing students. "You don't cook? What do you do? Starve?" It is her standard line when Americans complain that they don't have time to prepare real meals. "I despair," she says, waving a sauce-laden wooden spoon in the air.

But Hazan has good reason not to despair. In...

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