|During the 17th century, food writing was based on the general treatises by Frugoli, Stefani and Latini and a large number of monographic texts. Among these works, we point out, in addition to the works already mentioned, L'economia… (The Economy) by Tanara; the Discorso sopra il bevere fresco (Discussion about Fresh Drinks) by Giacomo Castiglione (16th –17th cent.), published in Rome in 1602; the verses of Ditirambo di Bacco in Toscana (Wanderings of Baccus in Tuscany) by Francesco Redi (126-1697), published in 1685, (with many scholarly annotations, although poetic, then to refer to scientific information about wine); I pomi d'oro (Potatoes) by Giovan Francesco Angelita (il Roco) (17th cent. -1619) published in Recanati in 1607, Le virtù del kafe (The Virtues of Coffee) by Domenico Magri (17th cent.) published in Rome in 1671 and the booklet De la cioccolata (On Chocolate) by Antonio Colmenero di Ledesma (17th cent.) published in 1666. These last texts are about the products recently introduced to Italy from the Americas and which became the focus of many other publications.
The Arte di ben cucinare (Art of Cooking Well) was a novel work of the time. The book, published in Mantua in 1662, was written by Bartolomeo Stefani (17th cent.), the executive chef of the Court of the Gonzaga family in the second half of the 17th century.
|The work distinguished itself from its predecessors for its technical approach and for Stefani’s fantasy and innovation. Stefani can easily be considered the last great chef of the Italian Renaissance tradition.
Additionally, there is L'economia del cittadino in villa (The Finances of a City Dweller) the monograph by Vincenzo Tanara (1600 early -1667) of Bologna, published in Bologna in 1644 and republished 17 times until 1761. This work is at once an agricultural treatise and cookbook based on the coherent vision of the products of the countryside and their nutritional value. The nutritional aspects are openly taken from Vinti giornate dell'agricoltura (Twenty days of Agriculture) (Venice, 1569) written by Agostino Gallo, an agronomist of Brescia, and Scappi’s Opera. The book, however, is a uniform discussion with original aspects.
From here on, Italian gastronomic literature will no longer address universal culinary themes, but rather the emerging regional mentality that is reflected in the political and social situations in the peninsula. It is as if, having lost the excitement surrounding the Court and cooking at a “high” level, Italy could finally express its underlying culture, made of local products and traditions, which had been oppressed by the frills of pomp and ostentation. The conditions, that will exclude Italy from developing its own national cuisine reinforce, the connections between gastronomy and the local territory, encouraging variety and richness that are still cornerstones of Italian cuisine.
|The Scalco alla moderna, (The Modern Banquet Organizer) by Antonio Latini, published in Naples in 1692, concludes the era of the great general treatises. The work includes rules for hosting parties, for organizing banquets, for carving, for presenting the culinary creations and “triumphs”. All of the tradition from the previous centuries is included and reviewed here in one way or another. After this, writers affirm the “regional” focus of their studies, even if, for the moment, they present an evident sense of inferiority of their subject in comparison to the French “national” cuisine.|
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