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Dietary Considerations and Natural Cooking

Dell'insalata e piante che in qualunque modo vengono per cibo dell'uomo A doctor and a naturalist, Bacci was probably the greatest exponent of literature with a scientific spirit. Similarities can be found between Bacci’s writing and in a letter written by Costanzo Felici (1525 ca.-1585), a doctor from Le Marche, to Ulisse Aldrovandi, a master of the naturalists during the time. The letter, called Dell'insalata e piante che in qualunque modo vengono per cibo dell'uomo, (On lettuce and plants that are consumed by man in one way or another) is dated March 10, 1572. The letter was written to explain to Aldrovandi the significance of salad greens and was finally published in 1986 in Urbino, after Felici’s death.
Archidipno, ovvero dell'Insalata e dell'uso di essaBrieve racconto di tutte le radici di tutte le erbe e di tutti i frutti che crudi o cotti in Italia si mangiano

In the following century, similar writings were published by Salvatore Massonio (1554–1624) of L’Aquilia, under the title l'Archidipno, ovvero dell'Insalata e dell'uso di essa, (Archidipno, or Lettuce and its Uses) published in Venice in 1627. There is also the work of Giacomo Castelvetro (1546-1616) of Modena. His manuscript, Brieve racconto di tutte le radici di tutte le erbe e di tutti i frutti che crudi o cotti in Italia si mangiano, ( A brief summary of all the roots, herbs and fruit that are eaten raw or coked in Italy) was written on July 11, 1614 and has been held in England where Castelvetro was a student. The text was conserved at Cambridge until our times, and was published by Luigi Firpo in Gastronomia del Rinascimento (Gastronomy in the Renaissance) in 1974.
In addition to the treatises on the culinary arts, there was a vast publication of works on diet, written by doctors particularly interested in food. This interest was handed down by the ancient science of Hippocrates and Galen and by the medieval followers of the Salernitana School. A key to understanding diet remained the classic theory of the “humors” – warm, cold, moist and dry – that were believed to exist in every substance and organism.  They should also be kept in balance: illness was believed to derive from unbalanced humor and a simple, natural diet was the best cure for reestablishing a lost physiological balance. The scope of these treatises was not, however, exclusively medical: the description of the effects of food is often accompanied by instructions taken from the gastronomic world.

Tesoro della sanitàTrattato della natura de' cibi e del bere Among the many works of this type, we would like to make mention – in addition to the previously cited texts of Manfredi and Savonarola – the De bonitate et vitio alimentorum, by the botanist and medical doctor Castore Durante (1529-1590) of Gualdo Tadino, and published in 1565 in Pesaro. The work was translated into Italian in 1586 in Rome and Venice with the title Tesoro della sanità, (Treasure of Health). There was also the Trattato della natura de' cibi e del bere, (Treatise on Natural Food and Drink) by Baldassarre Pisanelli (16th cent.) of Bologna, printed for the first time in Rome in 1583. This treatise had extraordinary fortune in the publishing world (with thirty editions printed in the second half of the 18th century) thanks in part to its approachable structure and usability: every product is classified based on its humor, and positive and negative aspects with relative cures.