This cook came from Bologna, where he worked in the service of Cardinal Lorenzo Campeggi. It is also believed that he worked in the service of Cardinal Marin Grimani in Venice. But he is also familiar with numerous recipes from other countries: France, Spain, Germany. The recipes of Bartolomeo Scappi blend the heritage of medieval gastronomy spices and sweet-and-sour sauces with some novelties unique to Italian Renaissance cooks: the important addition of offal in imitation of roman cookery, the introduction of dairy products butter, milk , a significant increase in the number of meat or fish dishes employing the use of sugar, and the beginnings of flaky pastry.
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During his career, he cooked for six popes, and in fact was cooking at the Vatican at the same time as Michelangelo Buonarroti was working on the Sistine Chapel. He produced the first known illustrated cookbook in history. His life is mostly reconstructed from knowledge of the events and people that he describes.
Early years Some historians think Scappi was born in Bologna, others think Venice. When Campeggi died in , Scappi went to work for another cardinal, possibly Cardinale Carpi. Scappi is able to describe in detail the food supplied to the cardinals during the resultant enclave to elect the successor to Pope Paul III. The enclave took over 2 months, from 29 November to 8 February Scappi described and illustrated the whole procedure of getting food to them, which was designed to ensure that neither poison nor secret messages got into their food.
Some wags remarked that without the excellence of the food provided by Scappi, the cardinals might not have prolonged the enclave so much. Sadly, Julius did not last long: he died only weeks later, on 23 March Sadly, Marcelus did not linger in office long either, expiring only 22 days later on 6 May Elected Pope 7 January Died 1 May It was republished in by Tramezzino, and in , , , and by Alessandro Vecchi. In and it was published by Combi. There are over 1, food preparation methods and recipes recipes are in book 2, 3 and 5 and 28 engraved illustrations, showing many of the kitchen utensils that were used in the mids in Italy.
He also gave special menus for Lent. It was a time, though, when change was happening: new foodstuffs were starting to come from the Americas, such as turkey, and recipes for flaky pastry were first appearing in Europe. His book represents perhaps the apex of Renaissance cooking in Italy, before the new French cooking came down and asserted its supremacy over everything else. Like others in the renaissance, Scappi took a more scientific approach to cooking, giving details right down to illustrations.
It was perhaps the first time that actual cooking techniques are outlined in print, such as the use of a weight to keep something under water while simmering, bains marie, greased paper to protect delicate parts of poultry from direct heat, using a wooden spoon in making gelatin because a metal one might make it bitter, how to do marinades, etc. The publication year of his book is the last year that we know for sure Scappi was alive in.
Some feel he was alive in , when Gregory 13th was elected on 13 May , and that by that time he had simply decided to retire, and so vanished from the public eye. Illustration of various cauldrons and usage. Krohn, associate professor and director of Master Studies at Bard Graduate Center, demonstrates that Scappi, the most famous chef of the Italian Renaissance, was at the vanguard of a new way of looking at the kitchen as a workshop or laboratory.
Bartolomeo Scappi: Renaissance Cook and Food Writer