By Katherine A. McIver

Renaissance Italy’s paintings, literature, and tradition proceed to fascinate. The household existence has been tested extra in recent times, and this booklet unearths the instruction, consuming, and the sociability of eating in Renaissance Italy. It takes readers behind the curtain to the Renaissance kitchen and eating room, the place daily nutrients in addition to lavish banquets have been ready and ate up. Katherine McIver considers the layout, gear, and site of the kitchen and nutrients prep and garage rooms in either middle-class houses and grand kingdom estates. The diner’s room, the orchestration of eating, and the theatrical event of eating are unique besides, all within the context of the well known nutrients and architectural students of the day.

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Additional info for Cooking and Eating in Renaissance Italy: From Kitchen to Table

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The food served to the women was prepared in a separate kitchen (“la cucina delle donne”) by Lazaro di Colino and Nicolo di Tomeo and brought to them by two attendants, Paparino and Ciabotta. In preparation for the morning meal, 250 bread trenchers had to be made and enough tables and benches found and set up; tablecloths, napkins, cutlery, serving dishes, glasses, pitchers, plates, and flasks for wine and salt cellars had to be gathered—nothing was overlooked. Food had to be ordered: 125 capons, 125 chickens, and 300 pigeons were bought at the market in Prato; fish, veal, pork, cheese, eggs, lardo, bread, and fruit were also purchased.

The tables had to be laid, the diners seated, and the officers of the household with parts to play in the production had to take their places. There was a sense of occasion, of rising expectation, of a gathering wave about to crest. In this pause, the senior officer sent a messenger to the kitchen that they were ready for service. Only after the cook had received the signal to go ahead was his master informed that everything was in order and the show could be set in motion. 32 Borso d’Este’s “apparechiadore” (table decorator) laid his table for dinner service; changed the tablecloths, plates, and napkins throughout the courses; and brought water so Borso could wash his hands; at the same time, Gatamelata, his sescalco (chief steward), served at his table cutting meat and attending to Borso’s needs.

Most cooks possessed a broad professional repertoire of dishes suitable for various occasions, and they had to be skillful in executing the most appropriate preparations to fulfill those functions. The cook had to make sure he never did anything to impair or endanger the health of his employer, his family, or his guests. The medieval cook was a craftsman—and sometimes an artist—who both excited and then satisfied the tastes of his employer. 7 A master cook often sat between one of the fireplaces and the 22 CHA P TER TW O sideboard on a high chair in order to survey the entire room.

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