Archive for the ‘cookbook’ Tag

Comment: Earliest Italian cookbook in English?   Leave a comment

Here’s a question that we are struggling to find the answer to. What was the earliest original Italian cookbook written in English? By ‘original’ we mean not a translation of an Italian work, and note ‘book’ rather than recipe.

The First World War brought out a rash of works as Italy was an ally of the British Empire and the US (another post another day) and the country’s culture was celebrated.

However, there were also some early twentieth century works. In 1900 Dorothy Daly published her Italian Cooking with Spring Books in London – part of a series including French, German and Austrian cooking. Then in the same year Janet Ross published (J.M.Dent) her classic Leaves from our Tuscan kitchen: or how to cook vegetables a book that is still treasured today by many chefs. Both books are to be found here in pdf form.

Daly is slightly apologetic about bringing Italian food to the attention of a wider public, whereas Ross mentions only that many English friends who had visited her villa had asked for their recipes. We’ll look in another post at how ‘Italian’ the recipes in the two books are.

Are there any books that are earlier than this? SY



Posted December 29, 2010 by zachmon in Uncategorized

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The Medieval Kitchen — Redon et al.   Leave a comment

The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy (Odiel Redon, Françoise Sabban, Silvano Serventi) – Recipe books purporting to recreate medieval or Renaissance cooking for the reader are usually lacking in one or more or the following categories: a reasonable historical introduction and academic commentary, a discussion of class and meals (i.e. that recipes were usually for the rich), and an acknowledgement of the inevitable clash of tastes between a medieval food sensibility and our modern one. Luckily The Medieval Kitchen avoid all three of these traps, with its winning combination of recipes from various medieval sources (Maestro Martino appears frequently) and commentary from food scholars. A glance at the entry for “blancmange in Catalan style” shows the authors’ skill at adapting an ancient recipe to modern tastes while explaining that there was no canonical blancmange.

Posted October 14, 2010 by zachmon in Uncategorized

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