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.
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"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
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.
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