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There was a lovely piece in the New York Times yesterday by Stephen S. Hall in which he writes of his favorite dish, pasta all’amatriciana.

Hall writes, “Friends in Rome had warned me: no one should eat pasta all’amatriciana nonstop for a week. The sauce — a glutton’s glorious punishment of pork, pecorino and tomatoes — produces one of the most satisfying dishes on the Roman table. But what’s the best way to make it? I planned to eat my way all the way to the source waters, in the mountain village of Amatrice, about two hours north of Rome, to find out.”

There is, of course, one problem with that quest: in 2016, “a magnitude 6.2 earthquake had struck Amatrice … killing nearly 300 people and causing widespread devastation … So this is the oddest of travel articles: urging a trip to a place that, according to a former mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, mostly doesn’t exist anymore. But it is still worth going. Not just for the food, which is the ultimate farm-to-table version of amatriciana, but for a moving reminder of human resilience in the face of a devastating tragedy.”

And, another complication: Hall writes, “I have been preparing the dish at home according to the recipe in Marcella Hazan’s “The Classic Italian Cook Book” (page 105, I don’t even need to look it up), because that version — with onions, butter and pancetta — most closely approximated what I ate in Rome. I had to travel all the way to Amatrice to find out I’ve been doing it wrong for 40 years.”

It is totally worth reading, because it is about how wonderful food can be inextricably linked to place and time and people … something that people who say they are in the food business sometimes forget.

You can read the story here.
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