Monday, March 16, 2009

The Pope`s Chef

SCAPPI, Bartolomeo. Opera di M. Bartolomeo Scappi, cvoco secreto di Papa Pio Quinto, divisa in sei libri. Nel primo si contiene il ragionamento chef a l’Autore con Gio suo discepolo. Nel secondo si tratta di diverse vivande di carne, si di quadrupedi, come di volatili. Nel terzo si parla della Statura, e stagione de pesci. Nel quarto si mostrano le liste del presentar le vivande in tavola, cosi di grasso come di magro […].
[Venice, 1570].
Woodcut print
[195 x 142 mm]

The always fascinating blog BibliOdyssey has an article on Bartolomeo Scappi (1500-1577) who has been described as "The First Celebrity Chef" of the Renaissance.

In 1536, he prepared a banquet for Charles V which included over 780 dishes.

He was the private chef to two Popes: Pope Pius IV and Pope Pius V. He also cooked for another four Popes.

He wrote a six volume treatise: Opera dell'arte del cucinare (1570). The book was continually published from 1570 to 1643

The Opera presents more than one thousand recipes along with menus that comprise up to a hundred dishes, while also commenting on a cook's responsibilities.

His book proposed much-needed structure on cooking and that meals be divided into courses.

Included are recipes for Lent. Also for panettone and pizza.

Amongst the notable recipes is one for “Pie of Bull’s Testicles”.

He declared parmesan to be the best cheese on earth,

The book also included the first picture of a fork.

Scappi also included a fascinating account of a pope's funeral and the complex procedures for feeding the cardinals during the ensuing conclave.

Amongst the many helpful hints are separating the kitchen from the main house to guard against poisoners !

He served Pius V the longest.

Pope Pius V was a man of very austere habits who observed fast days strictly. His food was plain. He ate sparingly.

He brought to the papal household a monastic austerity and certain customs which survive to this day, such as eating some meals in solitude and making these private meals more frugal.