|Beginning in the first decades of the 17th century, Italian gastronomic literature surpasses by its French counterpart. This holds true not only from the point of view of the technical instructions and basic taste education, but also in the lexicon that had already taken over Italian nomenclature at that point.
In 1682, Il coco francese ove è insegnata la maniera di condire ogni sorta di vivande (The French chef and how to season all types of foods), comes out in Bologna. It was proclaimed to be the translation of the work by François de La Varenne (ca. 1615–1678), the most important French chef of the century. The book was totally innovative in its cooking techniques and in its food styling and presentation. In reality, the Italian book had nothing to do with Cuisinier françois (French Cuisine) of La Varenne, but rather the translation of minor texts falsely attributed to him. Even Cuisinier royal et bourgeois (Royal and Bourgeoisie Cuisine) by François Massialot (1660-1733), also published in Bologna in 1724 with the title Il cuoco reale e cittadino (The real, cosmopolitan cook), only slightly corresponds to the original. The book was a sloppy, quickly executed, misinterpretation. All that mattered to the Italian public was the French attribution in the title.
And also in the French vein, we have Cuisinière bourgeoise (Bourgeoisie Cuisine) di Menon (18th cent.), the first cookbook addressed to the female audience, published in Paris in 1746. This book was the basis of the work published in 1766 in Turin: Il cuoco piemontese perfezionato a Parigi (Piemontese chef refined in Paris). The derivation of French terms, techniques and recipes is undeniable. The French influence is noticeable outside the kitchen in the area of Piedmont, where a renewed cultural understanding was occurring. During the following decades, the gastronomic literature of Piedmont will blossom in terms of print styles and, especially, with regards to the celebration of local traditions and resources.
|Around the same time, L'Apicio moderno, ossia l'arte di apprestare ogni sorta di vivande, (The Modern Apicius, or the art of preparing all types of food), was written by Francesco Leonardi (active between 1740-1800). It is a monumental work divided into six tomes and printed in Rome in 1790, and again in 1807 with the addition of two new sections on the art of the larder or storage room that try to reclaim a “national” dimension of Italian cuisine. The additional tomes are divided by region, each one to be appreciated for its extraordinary richness in the gastronomic learning it gives us. At the beginning of the book there is, according to the French style, a historic note about the evolution of culinary tastes – the first attempt of its type in Italy. It explains the changes that took place in Italian cuisine over the course of the centuries and the importance of local and regional traditions for the rebirth of an authentic Italian cuisine. In collecting information about local gastronomic customs and in giving them the same importance as “national” European cuisines that he encountered working for Catherine II of Russia, Leodardi anticipates, in a certain way, the unification of Italian cuisine, codified by Pellegrino Artusi a century later.
In addition to these texts, there are a myriad of thematic publications of particular interests, from the notebooks of Filippo Baldini De' sorbetti (On Sorbets) and De' pomi di terra (On Potatoes). There are also Le patate (The Potatoes) by Pietro Maria Bignami, to De' pomi di terra (The Apples of the Earth) by Niccolò delle Piane, to Memorie sopra il meraviglioso frutto americano chiamato patata, (Memories about the marvelous American fruit called potato), by Giovan Battista Occhiolini – all publications about the precious tuber, initially approached with suspicion but destined to become a staple of the European diet.
There is also an essay on the Vitto pitagorico, or vegetarian food written by Antonio Cocchi (1695–1758.). The book was written because the followers of Pythagoras preached a rigid absence of meat from one’s diet. Another single subject book from the time period is Arte di fare il vino, (The Art of Wine-making) by Adamo Fabbroni.
|Also during the 18th century, there was a proliferation of poetry related to gastronomy. Most of it was in the style of Berni and his followers, and in part by Redi. The poetry generally was intended to entertain and found an audience in a lazy and disengaged society. Some titles include Il cioccolato (Chocolate), by Francesco Arisi; Il caffè (Coffee), by Lorenzo Baratti; I sughi (Sauces), by Girolamo Baruffaldi; Gli elogi del porco (Eulogies to pork), by Giuseppe Ferrari, a monk from Modena, published by Accademia Tigrinto Bistonio (1761) and contains referenced to the millennium-old local salumi-making tradition; La cioccolata (Chocolate) by Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782); El vin friularo de Bagnoli (Friulian wine of Bagnoli), by doctor and poet Ludovico Pastò (1746–1806) of Padua Le fragole (Strawberries) by Giovan Battista Roberti (1719–1786), I maccheroni by Jacopo Vittorelli (1749–1835), a poet from the Veneto; La salameide (The Story of Salame) by historian Antonio Frizzi (1736-1800) of Ferrara, published in Venice in 1772, rich in historical and ethnographic notes to compensate for the modest poetic tone; Caffeum carmen by Frenchman Guillaume Massieu (1665-1722), written in Latin but presented with an Italian translation in Turin also in 1740.|
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