|The French revolution left its tracks also in the kitchen. The chefs of the fallen, noble families often opened restaurants and the middle-class became the audience of the new food publications. Economics and cost cutting, bourgeoisie values completely foreign to the ostentatious culture of the aristocracy, became the basis of food writing. The publications are simpler and more focused of the price of goods: wasting food is banned and books about reusing leftovers begin to appear. Local, accessible products are preferred to expensive, exotic ones, which were once status symbols of the nobility. Instead, inventive recipes emerge based on the new American ingredients – potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and corn. These crops spread quickly due to hunger, despite a strong sentiment of distrust, during the course of the 18th century. Food conservation techniques for everyday use also enter the scene: from solid bouillon bars to vegetable preserves by Nicolas Appert (1749-1841). The simplicity of the food was not only intended to promote savings and well being, but also hygiene and good health.
Some good examples of this middle-class literature are La nuova cucina economica (New Low-cost Cooking) (Rome, 1803), and La nuovissima cucina economica (Even newer Low-cost Cooking) (Rome, 1814), about new, and newer, low-cost cooking, by Vincenzo Agnoletti (1780 ca.-1834 later), who worked for Maria Luigia, duchess of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla, and also the author of Manuale del Credenziere, Confetturiere e Liquorista di raffinato gusto moderno, (Manual to Storage, Confections and Liquors of a Modern, Refined Taste) in Rome in 1830; Il cuoco moderno ridotto a perfezione secondo il gusto italiano e francese, about a modern cooking in the French and Italian styles, published in Milan in 1809 authored by an unidentified “L.O.G.”; the previously cited Nuovo cuoco milanese economico, by Giovanni Felice Luraschi (19th cent.), that underlines the flavor and safety of simple recipes; the Cucina economica moderna (Modern Low-cost Cuisine) published in Bologna in 1843; La cucina sana, economica ed elegante (The Healthy, Low-cost and Elegant Cuisine) by Francesco Chapusot (18th-19th cent.), published in Turin in 1846, that counters the excesses of French cooking with support of simplicity in the kitchen, a necessity for bringing out “the aroma and the nutritional value” of the ingredients; and in a similar vein, La vera cucina casalinga sana, economica e delicata (Real Home-cooking: healthy, low-cost and delicate) from 1851; the Trattato di cucina semplice per conservare lo stomaco e di preparativi che saranno vantaggiosi per economia (Treatise on simple cooking, easy on your stomach and your wallet) by chef Giuseppe Riva (1828–1880 ca.) called il Biondo, or the blond, published in Bergamo in 1878.
La Cucina teorico-pratica (Theoretical-Practical Cooking) by Ippolito Cavalcanti duke of Buonvicino (1787-1859), published in Naples in 1873, seems, instead, oriented towards a more sophisticated audience. The book includes an appendix with recipes written in Neapolitan dialect, geared to a wider group of readers.
|Likewise, Trattato di cucina, pasticceria moderna, credenza e relativa confettureria (Treatise on cooking, modern pastry, storage and confections) Giovanni Vialardi (1804-1872) from Piedmont, published in Turin in 1854 and containing many illustrations, is intended for a more aristocratic target; but the author does not hesitate to publish in 1890, a version of the book with the revealing title of Cucina borghese semplice ed economica (Simple and Low-cost Middle Class Cooking) and in 1899 an abridged version called Il piccolo Vialardi: cucina semplice ed economica per le famiglie (The small Vialardi: easy and low-cost cooking for families).|
|There are also books intended for an even larger public, generically called “popular.” In this category, you will find cookbooks in the form of almanacs, like the one published in Bologna in 1828 under the title La serva cuciniera e credenziera ammaestrata dal cuoco piemontese (On cooking and storage by a Piemontese cook). This work was a forerunner for an endless number of books, special editions and pamphlets, published according to the custom started in Florence in 1785 with Oniatologia, ovvero discorso dei cibi “corso completo di regole moderne, non ideali ma pratiche”, a discussion of the practical foods, distributed every fifteen days. From 1850 to 1851, Giovanni Rajberti (1805-1861), a medical doctor from Milan, published L'arte di convitare spiegata al popolo (The Art of Living Together Explained by the People) and prescribed, with some irony and a moralizing tone, “a fraction or slice of etiquette a couple hours a day when one sits down to eat. The work was written in two volumes, intended, not for the aristocracy, to whom it would be superfluous to give advice on table manners, but to the common people who were not familiar with the rules of “formal dining”. It is this group of people that did not know how to organize dinner parties, filling themselves with food the minute the most delicate treats are presented.|