About the book:
First published in 1891, Pellegrino Artusi’s La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangier benehas come to be recognized as the most significant Italian cookbook of modern times. It was reprinted thirteen times and had sold more than 52,000 copies in the years before Artusi’s death in 1910, with the number of recipes growing from 475 to 790. And while this figure has not changed, the book has consistently remained in print.
Although Artusi was himself of the upper classes and it was doubtful he had ever touched a kitchen utensil or lit a fire under a pot, he wrote the book not for professional chefs, as was the nineteenth-century custom, but for middle-class family cooks: housewives and their domestic helpers. His tone is that of a friendly advisor – humorous and nonchalant. He indulges in witty anecdotes about many of the recipes, describing his experiences and the historical relevance of particular dishes.
Artusi’s masterpiece is not merely a popular cookbook; it is a landmark work in Italian culture. This English edition (first published by Marsilio Publishers in 1997) features a delightful introduction by Luigi Ballerini that traces the fascinating history of the book and explains its importance in the context of Italian history and politics. The illustrations are by the noted Italian artist Giuliano Della Casa.
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
Publication Date: 2003
Size: 152 x 228mm
About the author:
Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911) was an Italian businessman and gastronome. His working life as a silk merchant allowed him to acquire considerable wealth, which was used to fund his passions: literature and food. He self-published the now-famous Italian cookbook La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiare bene (The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well) in 1891 and sold over 200,000 copies before his death. Writing only two decades after the unification of Italy, Artusi was the first to include recipes from all regions of Italy in a single cookbook and helped establish a national Italian identity.
About the translator:
Murtha Baca’s translations include several manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci, An Italian Renaissance Sextet: Six Tales in Historical Context (edited by Lauro Martines) and Pellegrino Artusi’s Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well.