Tasting Life Twice

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

Posts about The Chef's Secret:

Cherry Sops - A Delicious Renaissance Recipe

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Crystal King Nov 11, 2020 8:00:00 AM
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.

In Discussion: The Chef's Secret at the Toronto Public Library

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Crystal King Jan 19, 2020 12:55:50 PM
In Discussion: The Chef's Secret at the Toronto Public Library

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting celebrated Canadian author, Roberta Rich, author of the Midwife of Venice,  who interviewed me as part of the Toronto Library's Other Shelf at the Appel Salon series. Many years ago I used to work for company in Waterloo, ON and I would often stop in Toronto on my way there, but I hadn't been back in a long while. It was great fun to see Toronto again. I hadn't been inside the library though, and wow, what a beautiful space!  I loved talking with the audience there. Canada loves books--far more so than in the States and it was lovely to be among so many book lovers. 

An Interview with Crystal King on Off The Shelf

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Crystal King Nov 18, 2019 2:20:37 PM
An Interview with Crystal King on Off The Shelf

Last week I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Veronica Andrews from the long running community book program Off The Shelf. I learned that Veronica has interviewed some of the biggest selling authors over the last thirty years and that her first interviews were with Nancy Kerrigan and Barbara Bush! I loved hearing her crazy stories and was glad to have a chance to tell her about my own crazy story about my favorite Renaissance chef, Bartolomeo Scappi. I also read a small snippet from the book which includes a famous Renaissance author that most people in the world are familiar with.

Secret Code Writing in the Renaissance

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Crystal King May 7, 2019 5:10:00 AM
Secret Code Writing in the Renaissance

Early on when writing The Chef's Secret, I knew that I had two stories to tell, that of Bartolomeo Scappi in the past, and that of his nephew and apprentice, Giovanni, in the present. Giovanni came into possession of journals and letters which told him the big secrets of his uncle's past. 

Pumpkin Tourte ~ A Delicious Renaissance Cheesecake Pie Recipe

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Crystal King Jan 23, 2019 11:27:04 AM
Pumpkin Tourte ~ A Delicious Renaissance Cheesecake Pie Recipe

It's #NationalPieDay!! So of course I had to share one of my favorite Renaissance recipes, one for a pumpkin tourte. 

Pumpkin pie in the Renaissance? I hear you say. Isn't that a food from North America? Why yes, but let me explain. In renowned chef  Bartolomeo Scappi's 1570 cookbook, he describes a pie which includes a recipe for a gourd that translates as the word "pumpkin." Now, the word for "pumpkin" has been used on a variety of gourds throughout the centuries, dating back to ancient times. It's possible that the pie he describes was actually a squash pie, but with the influx of foods from the new world (Scappi also includes some of the first European recipes for turkey in his book), I like to think that perhaps the pumpkin that we know and love today might have been what Scappi was using when he created this recipe.