"The science of cooking and the art of eating well"
The first ever Italian cookbook. Italian cuisine is now famous all over the world. Especially for its great variety of dishes and variations, which rival that of China. But this has not always been the case in Italy. His canon of rules and customs became common only in the nineteenth century.
It all begins in a town of 13,000 inhabitants. A village called Forlimpopoli, located in the province of Forlì-Cesena in Emilia-Romagna. This small town develops around a fortress and it is here that Pellegrino Artusi was born in 1820.
His father was a wealthy grocer and his son studied classical letters in Bologna. But, after a very traumatic event, in 1852. He was 30 years old and a night a famous band of bandits entered his house and destroyed the peace of his family forever, harassing his sisters. Traumatized, they moved to Florence.
Pellegrino put down the books of literature and founded a bank there, getting rich. At the age of fifty he had accumulated enough money to sell it and go into retirement, giving himself to the letters. In particular, he was also very passionate about cooking. For this reason he decided to transcribe various popular recipes and experimenting with them himself.
The first cookbook
Then he decided to collect all in a book, and then have it published. The year was 1891 and he was the first in Italy. After Roman and Renaissance times, to publish a cookbook.
He approached some publishers. But they all refused the manuscript, thinking it odd, then he decided to publish it at his own expense. No library was willing to keep it and so he asked a tobacconist in front of his house to sell them for him. It was entitled: “The science of cooking and the art of eating well”.
Slowly the requests came, he did a second reprint, then a fourth and so on. It turned out to be a publishing success, and it is still in print. One of those first editions is worth about 20,000 euros today.
Every self-respecting Italian cook knows many of the recipes transcribed by Artusi by memory. And tends to consider heresy everything that is too far from was it is written on such book.