Late-16th Century Italian Culinary Theory

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Late-16th Century Italian Culinary Theory

I made him give an account of his responsibilities. He gave me a discourse on this science of supping with grave and magisterial countenance, as if he were speaking of some grand point of theology. He unravelled differences in appetite for me: the appetite one has at the outset, and that which one has after the second and third courses; the means of sometimes appealing to it in simple ways, sometimes reawakening and stimulating it; the rules regarding sauces, first in general and then particularising the qualities of ingredients and their effects; the different salads according to their season, what must be served hot and what cold, and the ways of decorating and embellishing them to make them even more pleasing in appearance. After that, he embarked on the order of courses, full of important and fine considerations…. And all this bloated with grand and magnificent words, such as one might use in describing the government of an empire.

(Montaigne, 1595b: Book 1, Essay 51)

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