Tasting Life Twice

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

Posts about renaissance italy:

A Chat Between Historical Novelists Stephanie Storey and Crystal King

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Crystal King Apr 8, 2020 5:35:16 PM
A Chat Between Historical Novelists Stephanie Storey and Crystal King

This week marked the launch of Stephanie Storey's delightful new novel Raphael, Painter of Rome.  

I had the extreme pleasure of reading and blurbing this novel, and here is what I said: “A sumptuous, dazzling dive into the world of Italian Renaissance art through the eyes of one of its most celebrated artists. Raphael, Painter in Rome unfolds in unforgettable detail, with all the color and richness of the era: popes and princes, courtesans and cardinals, mystery and murder, ardor and art. The world of Raphael is one I wanted to linger in forever.” 

And it's SO true. It's told from the point of view of Raphael and I love how Stephanie gives this Renaissance figure such vibrancy and life. I keep thinking about this book, about the characters that Stephanie brought to life. 

Stephanie has a new video series she's starting up, in which she's interviewing a variety of authors. I was delighted to be one of her first! In this video we talk about watching Italy's struggle with coronavirus, about the splendor of Rome in the Renaissance, about food, about art, and about the the land that we love, il bel paese. I seriously could have kept talking with her for hours! 

Turkey with Pomegranate Sauce: A Renaissance Recipe

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Crystal King Nov 11, 2019 8:00:00 AM
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.  

Tortellini with Peas

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Crystal King Oct 17, 2019 5:21:00 PM
Tortellini with Peas

One of my favorite things about writing THE CHEF'S SECRET was trying my hand at some of Bartolomeo Scappi's recipes. L’Opera di Bartolomeo Scappi includes some of the first recipes resembling what we know as pasta today, including stuffed pasta such as tortellini and tortelli. It was a fun challenge trying to figure out how to make this recipe, from Book II.252 of L’Opera, work. The dough, which is made with with sugar and rosewater but no oil, is a bit softer and more pliable than what is common today. The spices lend themselves well to the peas, however, and this makes a perfect spring dish. But if you are like me, and love peas any time of the year, by all means, go with the frozen peas. It's still a delightful and surprising dish!