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Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well

Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well

Foreword by Michele Scicolone
Introduction by Luigi Ballerini
Murtha Baca
Stephen Sartarelli
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 653
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  • Book Info
    Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well
    Book Description:

    Artusi?s masterpiece is not merely a popular cookbook; it is a landmark work in Italian culture.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7964-1
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)

    La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar beneis 110 years old, yet around the world Pellegrino Artusi’s cookbook is as popular as ever. In Italy, the book is revered, and few home are without at least one stained and tattered copy, passed down like a family heirloom from mother to daughter. With hundreds of new cookbooks published every year, it is remarkable that one more than a century old has survived. Yet, there are many reasons for its longevity.

    At the time it was published in 1891,Scienza in cucinawas the first cookbook written in Italian for...

  4. INTRODUCTION: A as in Artusi, G as in Gentleman and Gastronome
    (pp. xv-lxxvi)
    Luigi Ballerini

    In 1910, upon reaching its fourteenth edition (the last to be printed under the author’s direct supervision), Pellegrino Artusi’sLa scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar benebegan to be recognized as the most significant Italian cookbook of modern times. Since its first appearance in 1891, it had sold 46,000 copies. The first run of the fourteenth edition would bring the total number of books printed and sold to the surprising figure of 52,000.¹

    A success of this magnitude – or any success at all, for that matter – could not be anticipated from either the dismissive early assessment of the...

    (pp. 1-6)

    See how often human judgment errs.

    I had just put the finishing touches on my book,Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well,when my learned friend Francesco Trevisan, professor of Literature at the Scipione Maffei Secondary School in Verona, happened to come to Florence. A passionate scholar of Ugo Foscolo, he had been chosen to serve as a member of the committee to oversee the construction of a monument to the Bard of the Sepulchers in the church of Santa Croce.¹ Having had the pleasure, on that occasion, of hosting him at my home, it seemed...

    (pp. 7-8)
    (pp. 9-12)

    Life has two principal functions: nourishment and the propagation of the species. Those who turn their minds to these two needs of existence, who study them and suggest practices whereby they might best be satisfied, make life less gloomy and benefit humanity. They may therefore be allowed to hope that, while humanity may not appreciate their efforts, it will at least show them generous and benevolent indulgence.

    The meaning contained in these few lines, which preface the third edition of this book, was better expressed in a letter to me by the celebrated poet, Lorenzo Stecchetti. It is my pleasure...

    (pp. 13-24)

    The emperor Tiberius used to say that man, after the age of thirty-five, should no longer have any need of doctors. While this aphorism, in a broad sense, may be true, it is no less true that if called in time, a doctor can nip an illness in the bud and even save you from a premature death. Moreover, even if a doctor does not cure you, he often provides relief, and always gives comfort.

    The emperor Tiberius’s maxim is true inasmuch as man, by the time he has reached the halfway point in his life, ought to have gained...

    (pp. 25-26)

    Before beginning this book, it seems appropriate to list here—without pretensions of scientific exactitude—the meat of different animals in diminishing order of nutritional value.

    1. feathered game

    2. beef

    3. veal

    4. poultry

    5. milk-fed veal

    6. mutton

    7. furred game

    8. lamb

    9. pork

    10. fish

    This ordering could give rise to many objections, given that the animals’ age, the environment in which they live, and their diet, can all appreciably alter the quality of the meat among individuals of the same species, and even invalidate the distinctions drawn between the various species themselves.

    A mature hen,...

    (pp. 27-28)

    The hypocritical world gives scant importance to eating. Nevertheless, we can never celebrate a religious or civil holiday without unfurling the tablecloth, the better to gorge ourselves.

    In the words of the poet Pananti:

    Tutte le società, tutte le feste

    Cominciano e finiscono in pappate

    E prima che s’accomodin le teste

    Voglion essere le pance accomodate.

    I preti che non son dei meno accorti,

    Fan dieci miglia per un desinare.

    O che si faccia l’uffizio dei morti,

    O la festa del santo titolare,

    Se non v’è dopo la sua pappatoria

    Il salmo non finisce con la gloria.

    (Every social gathering...


      (pp. 31-35)

      As common folk know, to make a good broth you must put the meat in cold water, and bring the pan to a very slow boil, never letting it boil over. If, instead of a good broth, you prefer a good boiled beef, then put the meat in boiling water without any special care. Everyone knows that spongy bones add flavor and fragrance to broth; but a broth of bones is not especially nutritious.

      In Tuscany, the custom is to give fragrance to the broth by adding a little bunch of aromatic herbs orbouquet garni.The bunch is not...


      • Soups and Pastas with Broth
        (pp. 37-71)

        They are called cappelletti (or “little hats”) because of their hat-like shape. This is the easiest way to make them so that they are less heavy on the stomach.

        180 grams (about 6-1/3 ounces) of ricotta, or half ricotta and half “raviggiolo” (a soft cheese made from goat or sheep milk)

        1/2 capon breast cooked in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper and finely chopped with a “mezzaluna”¹¹

        30 grams (about 1 ounce) of grated Parmesan cheese

        1 whole egg

        1 egg yolk

        a dash of nutmeg, a few spices, some lemon zest (if desired), and a pinch of salt...

      • Pasta Dishes and Soups in Vegetable Stock
        (pp. 72-109)

        200 grams (about 7 ounces) of ricotta or raviggiuolo (soft white cheese), or both mixed together

        40 grams (about 1-1/3 ounces) of Parmesan cheese

        1 whole egg

        1 egg yolk

        a dash of nutmeg and spices

        a pinch of salt

        a little parsley, chopped

        The stuffing is enclosed in dough like cappelletti but the pasta is cut with a somewhat larger round disk. I use the disk described in recipe 195. You can leave the dumplings in the half-moon shape obtainable after the first fold, but the cappelletti shape is preferable. Cook them in sufficiently salted water, drain and garnish...

      (pp. 110-116)

      Appetizers or antipasti are, properly speaking, those delicious trifles that are made to be eaten either after the pasta course, as is practiced in Tuscany, which seems preferable to me, or before, as is done elsewhere in Italy. Oysters, cured meats such as prosciutto, salami, mortadella, and tongue, or seafood such as anchovies, sardines, caviar, “mosciame” (which is the salted back of the tuna fish), etc., may be served as appetizers, either alone or with butter. In addition, the fried breads I describe below make excellent appetizers.

      50 grams (about 1-2/3 ounces) of pickled capers

      50 grams (about 1-2/3 ounces)...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • SAUCES
      (pp. 117-127)

      The best sauce you can offer your guests is a happy expression on your face and heartfelt hospitality. Brillat-Savarin²⁶ used to say, “Inviting someone is the same as taking responsibility for their happiness and well-being for as long as they stay under your roof.”

      The pleasure you would like to give to the friends you have invited during these few hours is nowadays imperiled even before it starts by certain unfortunate customs that are being introduced and threaten to become widespread. I am referring to the so-called “digestion visit,” to be made within eight days of the meal, and to...

    • EGGS
      (pp. 128-135)

      Eggs come immediately after meat at the top of the scale of nutritional value. During his tenure at the University of Florence, the celebrated physiologist Moritz Schiff²⁷ used to argue that the egg white is more nourishing than the yolk, which is composed of fatty substances, and that raw or lightly cooked eggs are less readily digested than well cooked eggs, because the stomach has to perform two operations instead of one: first coagulating the egg, then breaking it down to prepare it for assimilation by the body. Therefore it is better to abide by the middle path: eggs should...

      (pp. 136-140)

      It is called crazy not because it is likely to do something mad, but for the simplicity and ease with which it can serve as the necessary dress for a variety of dishes, as you will see.

      Sprinkle water and salt in due proportion over the flour and form a dough loaf that can rolled out wafer thin.

      This dough can be said to have turned out beautifully when it puffs up in paper-thin and feather-light layers. Thus, for those who have not had much practice making it, it is difficult to prepare. You would need to watch a master...

      (pp. 141-143)

      about 100 grams (about 3-1/2 ounces) lean milk-fed veal

      a small piece of veal udder

      the giblets from the chicken

      Instead of the lean veal and veal udder, you may substitute lean pork, turkey breast, or just regular veal.

      Cook the meat in a small battuto of shallot or onion, parsley, celery, carrot and butter. Season with salt and pepper and the usual spices, keeping the meat moist with broth. Remove the meat from the pan, cut the gristle away from the gizzard, add some small pieces of reconstituted dried mushroom, a little slice of untrimmed prosciutto, and mince everything...

      (pp. 144-180)

      Use the dough described in recipe 212 or the puff-pastry dough described in recipe 154, roll out to the thickness of a scudo,³² and cut it into disks with scalloped edges of the size shown below.

      Place the stuffing described in the previous recipe inside one disk of dough, cover with another disk, moistening around the edges so that they will stick together, then fry and serve hot.

      200 grams (about 7 ounces) of ricotta cheese

      40 grams (about 1-1/3 ounces) of flour

      2 eggs

      2 scant teaspoons of sugar

      a dash of lemon zest

      1 pinch of salt


    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
      (pp. 181-181)

      Boiled poultry, particularly capons and fattened pullets, will turn out whiter and more elegant, without detriment to the broth, if you boil them wrapped in cheesecloth.

      For different ways to serve boiled meats, see recipes 355, 356, and 357....

      (pp. 182-199)

      Entremetsare what the French call in-between courses. They are minor dishes served between main courses.

      If garlic is a vermifuge, as it is generally considered to be, this is a simple and appetizing food for babies. Toast slices of bread on both sides and while they are still hot rub them thoroughly with a garlic clove. Then season with salt, olive oil, vinegar and sugar.

      220 grams (about 7-3/4 ounces) of flour

      30 grams (about 1 ounce) of butter

      milk, as needed

      a pinch of salt

      4 salted anchovies

      Mix the flour with the butter, milk and salt until...

    • STEWS
      (pp. 200-267)

      Generally speaking, stews are very appetizing dishes; it is a good idea, therefore, to take special care when preparing them, so that they turn out delicate, tasty and easily digestible. They are sometimes rumored to be harmful to one’s health, but I do not share that opinion. This illconceived notion arises more than anything else from not knowing how to prepare them well. People do not think, for example, to skim off the fat, or else they are too liberal with herbs and soffritti, or what is worse, they use them inappropriately.

      In great kitchens, where brown stock is never...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
      (pp. 268-284)

      We call this “alla scarlatta” (scarlet style) because it turns a nice red color. And it is a very fine dish, both in its appearance and its taste.

      This talk of tongues brings to mind the following lines by Leopardi:⁶⁴

      Il cor di tutte

      Cose alfin sente sazietà, del sonno,

      Della danza, del canto e dell’amore,

      Piacer più cari che il parlar di lingua,

      Ma sazietà di lingua il cor non sente.

      (Of all things the heart grows sated—of sleep, of love, of sweet song, and merry dance—things which give more pleasure than the tongue does in speech,...

      (pp. 285-324)

      When they are not misused, vegetables are a healthy part of cooking. They thin the blood, and when served with meat, they make it easier on the stomach. But the amount of vegetables used anywhere depends to a great extent on the climate of the place.

      Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is the fragrant seed of a small wild plant of the mint family orLabiatae.

      Take some long zucchini—a goodly amount, since they shrink a great deal—and cut into round slices as thick as a large coin. Put a frying pan or copper skillet on the fire with a...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • SEAFOOD Types and Seasons of Fishes
      (pp. 325-364)

      Of the common types of fish, the finest are: sturgeon, dentex, sea bass, weever, sole, turbot, John Dory, gilthead sea bream, rock mullet, and fresh-water trout; these are excellent year round, but sole and turbot are especially good in the winter.

      The seasons for the other best-known fish are: for hake, eel, and flying squid, year round, while eel is better in winter and flying squid in the summer.

      For large gray salt-water mullet, July and August; for small mullet, October and November, and all winter. For gudgeon, whitebait, and cuttlefish, March, April, and May. For octopus, October. For sardines...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
      (pp. 365-387)

      With the exception of birds and squabs, with which whole sage leaves go well, it is no longer customary to lard or baste spit-roasted meats, or to stud them with garlic, rosemary, or other aromatic herbs that tend to leave an aftertaste. If you have some good olive oil, baste them with that; otherwise, use lard or butter, depending on local preference.

      People generally prefer roasted meats savory, so be generous with salt when you prepare milk-fed veal, lamb, kid, poultry, and pork. Be more sparing with meat from larger or older animals and with birds, because these meats are...

      (pp. 388-451)

      Do not be alarmed if this dessert seems to you to be a strange concoction, or if it looks like some ugly creature such as a giant leech or a shapeless snake after you cook it; you will like the way it tastes.

      500 grams (about 1 pound) of reinette apples, or tender, good quality apples

      250 grams (about 8-4/5 ounces) of flour

      100 grams (about 3-1/2 ounces) butter

      85 grams (about 3 ounces) of dried currants

      85 grams (about 3 ounces) of powdered sugar

      grated rind of one lemon

      2 or 3 pinches of ground cinnamon

      Make a fairly...

      (pp. 452-521)

      Not to boast unduly, but to amuse the reader and satisfy the wish of an anonymous admirer, I here publish the following letter, which reached me on July 14, 1906 from Portoferraio, as I was correcting the galley proofs of the 10th edition of this cookbook.

      Esteemed Mr. Artusi,

      A poet gave me as a gift your lovely bookLa scienza in cucina, adding a few lines of verse, which I transcribe below. Perhaps they may be of use if you print another edition, which I hope you will do in the very near future.

      Delia salute è questo il...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • SYRUPS
      (pp. 522-527)

      Dissolved in cold or iced water, syrups made with tart fruits are pleasant, refreshing drinks, most fitting for the heat of a summer’s day. However, it is better to consume them only after digestion is complete, since that natural process might be disturbed by the sugar they contain, which makes them sit rather heavily on the stomach.

      The delicate flavor of this fruit (framboise, as the French call it) makes this the king of syrups. After crushing the fruit by hand, proceed as in recipe 725, with the same proportions of sugar and citric acid. Since raspberries are less glutinous...

      (pp. 528-538)

      Preserves and fruit jellies are good to have on hand as they are often ingredients in the preparation of sweet dishes. They are enjoyed by the ladies as a finishing touch to a morning meal, and, spread on a slice of bread, they make an excellent snack for children, healthy and nutritious.

      If this precious fruit of the solanaceae family (Solanum Lycopersicum), originally from South America, were more rare, it would be as costly as truffles, and maybe more so. Its juice goes well with so many dishes and keeps these such excellent company, that good tomato preserves are worth...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
      (pp. 539-543)

      650 grams (about 1-1/2 pounds) of very fine white sugar

      360 grams (about 12-2/3 ounces) of water

      250 grams (about 1 cup) of 36-proof wine spirits

      a pinch of saffron

      1 orange

      Remove the outermost part of the orange peel with a penknife and place it in a jar, pouring over it the spirits mixed with the saffron. Cover the jar with perforated paper and let sit for three days. In another jar, combine the sugar and the water. Shake the jar every now and then so that the sugar dissolves completely. On the fourth day mix the two liquids...

      (pp. 544-557)

      I read in an Italian newspaper that the art of making ice cream belongs preeminently to Italy, that the origin of ice cream is ancient, and that the first ice creams in Paris were served to Catherine de’ Medici in 1533. This article added that the Florentine pastry makers, chefs, and icers of the royal palace would not share knowledge of their art. As a result the secret recipe for making ice cream remained within the confines of the Louvre, and Parisians had to wait another century to taste ice cream.

      All my research to verify this story has been...

      (pp. 558-574)

      There are those who believe that coffee originated in Persia, others maintain that it comes from Ethiopia, and still others who believe it was first grown inArabia Felix. But in spite of their differences, all agree that it is an oriental plant: an evergreen bush the stalk of which grows four to five meters high, and five to eight centimeters in diameter. The best coffee is always from Mocha, which could confirm the opinion that this is truly its native soil.¹³⁸ They say that a Muslim priest in Yemen, having observed that the goats that ate the berries from...


    (pp. 621-636)
    (pp. 637-653)