Synopses & Reviews
Maestro Martino of Como has been called the first celebrity chef, and his extraordinary treatise on Renaissance cookery, The Art of Cooking,
is the first known culinary guide to specify ingredients, cooking times and techniques, utensils, and amounts. This vibrant document is also essential to understanding the forms of conviviality developed in Central Italy during the Renaissance, as well as their sociopolitical implications. In addition to the original text, this first complete English translation of the work includes a historical essay by Luigi Ballerini and fifty modernized recipes by acclaimed Italian chef Stefania Barzini.
The Art of Cooking, unlike the culinary manuals of the time, is a true gastronomic lexicon, surprisingly like a modern cookbook in identifying the quantity and kinds of ingredients in each dish, the proper procedure for cooking them, and the time required, as well as including many of the secrets of a culinary expert. In his lively introduction, Luigi Ballerini places Maestro Martino in the complicated context of his time and place and guides the reader through the complexities of Italian and papal politics. Stefania Barzini's modernized recipes that follow the text bring the tastes of the original dishes into line with modern tastes. Her knowledgeable explanations of how she has adapted the recipes to the contemporary palate are models of their kind and will inspire readers to recreate these classic dishes in their own kitchens. Jeremy Parzen's translation is the first to gather the entire corpus of Martino's legacy.
"In his informative, if ponderous, introduction, Ballerini offers a window into the life of 15th-century culinary whiz Maestro Martino, who's credited by most scholars to be the father of modern Italian cookery. As a chef to one of Milan's most important families, Martino had the most far-reaching influence of any chef of his day. Much of what we know about Martino comes from the writings of his friend Platina, who recorded many of Martino's greatest recipes and culinary advice in a book called The Art of Cooking. Those recipes-and others culled from obscure Martino-Platina texts-are faithfully reproduced in this highly entertaining, if sometimes uneven, volume. Only the most die-hard culinary enthusiasts may attempt Martino's Eel Torte or his Lenten Caviar Pottage, and recipes like Flying Pie, which incorporates live birds that fly away when the cover is removed, are, as Martino notes, just 'for amusement.' But much of the advice in chapter six, 'How to Cook Eggs in Every Way,' remains salient today. In addition, there are dozens of recipes that even novice chefs could attempt, such as the Roman-Style Macaroni with fresh-grated pecorino romano and the fennel-rich Fried Squash. Whether attempted at home or not, these recipes offer readers something far more compelling than practicality: a fascinating glimpse into a long-departed world where Papal Torte (a cheesy dish containing capon and 'fatty, well-cooked veal teat') was served for breakfast and chefs for the upper classes needed to know not only how to cook tasty meals, but also the fine art of flamboyant presentation (i.e., 'How to Dress a Peacock with All Its Feathers, so That When Cooked, It Appears to Be Alive and Spews Fire from Its Beak')." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Surely one of the most significant writings ever concerning the origins and methods of Western cookery. As a pure cookbook, it is a collection of Maestro Martino of Como's precise, workable recipes, each preaching the value and preservation of basic flavorsand#151;a revolutionary concept for his time. As an historical resource, The Art of Cooking
places the Maestro's food comfortably within its Renaissance context while at the same time establishing his steady march into culinary modernism. An invaluable book."and#151;Fred Ferretti, former "Gourmet at Large" columnist, Gourmet Magazine
"I applaud the publication of The Art of Cooking by Maestro Martino. With this fine translation of his culinary opus, Martino will be restored to his rightful place in gastronomical history. Stefania Barziniand#8217;s adaptations for the contemporary palate will surely inspire many readers to try their hands in the kitchen."and#151;Carol Field, food critic, author of The Italian Baker
"This book will make available to a large public one of the most important culinary treatises in the history of Western cuisine."and#151;Fabio Parasecoli, author of Food Culture in Italy
"Surely one of the most significant writings ever concerning the origins and methods of Western cookery. As a pure cookbook, it is a collection of Maestro Martino of Como's precise, workable recipes, each preaching the value and preservation of basic flavors--a revolutionary concept for his time. As an historical resource, "The Art of Cooking "places the Maestro's food comfortably within its Renaissance context while at the same time establishing his steady march into culinary modernism. An invaluable book."--Fred Ferretti, former "Gourmet at Large" columnist, "Gourmet magazine"
"I applaud the publication of "The Art of Cooking" by Maestro Martino. With this fine translation of his culinary opus, Martino will be restored to his rightful place in gastronomical history. Stefania Barzini's adaptations for the contemporary palate will surely inspire many readers to try their hands in the kitchen."--Carol Field, food critic, author of "The Italian Baker"
"This book will make available to a large public one of the most important culinary treatises in the history of Western cuisine."--Fabio Parasecoli, author of "Food Culture in Italy"
About the Author
A noted poet, translator, and literary scholar, Luigi Ballerini teaches medieval and modern Italian literature at the University of California, Los Angeles. His edition of Artusi's Science in the Kitchen was published in 2003. Jeremy Parzen is a food historian, freelance writer, and musician. His translations include Marinetti's The Untameables (1994), Goldoni's The Coffee House (1998), and Bolzoni's The Gallery of Memory (2001). Stefania Barzini lives and works in Rome. A food historian and TV journalist for Gambero Rosso, the Italian National Food Channel, she is the author of a forthcoming book, Food and the Movies. She also teaches cooking and gastronomy at her own school, Al Castello.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Maestro Martino: The Carneades of Cooks
The Art of Cooking
Composed by the Eminent Maestro Martino of Como
How to Make Every Sort of Victual
How to Make Every Type of Sauce
How to Make Every Sort of Torte
How to Make Every Sort of Fritter
How to Cook Eggs in Every Way
How to Cook Every Type of Fish
The Riva del Garda Recipes
The Neapolitan Recipes
Maestro Martino Today: Fifty Modernized Recipes