Tasting Life Twice

Author Crystal King muses on life, history, writing and food.

Posts about renaissance Italian food recipe:

Cherry Sops - A Delicious Renaissance Recipe

Cherry Sops - A Delicious Renaissance Recipe

When I was researching my novel, THE CHEF'S SECRET, I discovered that in the Renaissance, often a chef was as important to helping the ill and wounded as a physician might be. This is evident in Bartolomeo Scappi's 1570 cookbook, which has 218 recipes specific for the sick. These recipes include "prepared potions, broths, concentrates, pastes, barley dishes and many other preparations needed by the sick and convalescent. Interestingly enough, some of the most delicious recipes among the thousands in his cookbook appear in this section, especially sweet dishes.

Renaissance Style Sweet Potatoes

Renaissance Style Sweet Potatoes

Every holiday season, the humble sweet potato transforms into a delicious side dish, sometimes simple, sometimes decadent. The sweet potato (which is different than a yam, sorry Louisiana) is a tuber native to South America but it found its way to Europe and parts East once the New World explorations began. Gerard Paul, over at the fantastic site, ManyEats, has a fascinating history of the sweet potato here.

Turkey with Pomegranate Sauce: A Renaissance Recipe

Turkey with Pomegranate Sauce: A Renaissance Recipe
Turkey, a Delicacy 500 Years Ago

The first turkey recipes appear in the Italian cookbook in L'Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi (who happens to be the protagonist in my novel, The Chef's Secret). Turkeys found their way to Italy during the Renaissance, but it wasn’t until the latter half of the century that they were deemed suitable for eating. As you might know, turkeys are a bird native to the Americas and were prized by the ancient Aztecs and Native Americans alike. Christopher Columbus noted the bird when he first came to America, but it wasn't until around 1519 when Spanish and Italian explorers first brought turkeys to Europe. Initially they were regarded as a beautiful and strange oddity, and many nobles kept them as pets or gave them to others as extravagant gifts. They were loved for their unique look, with artists depicting them in sculpture and paintings. The sculpture you see here, by Italian sculptor Giambologna, is from 1560, of the prized pet of Cosimo di Medici. The Italians called them gallo d'India (or birds of India) because of general geographical confusion  by early explorers. Eventually, however, turkeys became even more loved for their delicious and unusual flavor.