[Sca-cooks] Source review - Charles Potter's translation of Messisbugo

Raphaella DiContini raphaellad at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 27 09:40:01 PDT 2009

   My apologies if this resource has already been reviewed here. I'm fairly new to the list and I have a shiny new foodie toy I'd like to share. :) I'm mostly focused on late period Italian, especially Northern Italian and a friend recommended this privately produced version as a good resource (and good way to support a fellow food historian for their work). 
   This was by far the least expensive food research I've purchased this year and so far it's proven to be more than worth the $13 ($10 +$3S&H). 
   You get a CD which has what appears to be scanned pages of the 1549 Bancetti, the 1564 Libro Novo and a printed out copy of both with his translation of some of the recipe section of the book. The Scanned pages of either the original printed manuscript or a good facimile are going to be useful to me both in cooking and if I want to try to replicate the look of a period cooking manual for a future project. 
   The translation doesn't seem to be of the entire book- that's okay, I really like that in the hard copy part with his translations from Libro Novo that he's put the original text, as it was originally printed, right above his direct translation before he gets to his redaction. That's my preferred method for working with a recipe and as I work on reading more Italian it helps get more familiar with all the nuances. I plan to do a practice run of re-translation just for the experience, and in the mean time I will definitely play with his redactions to get the ball rolling (especially the chicken and Prosciutto recipes). 
   The other thing I love is that's he's included 2 dinner menus, and the context of who the most important guests were (which I'm sure impacted the menu) and the table settings. Both menus run 3 pages each, and the first is a menu in the middle of August 1530, and the second is on the eight of September 1531. 
   In addition to the menus there is also a page of Italian weights and measures from the middle ages to the nineteenth century. I haven't had a chance yet to compare these to the ones listed in the new translation of Scappi, but I have some question about the measurements as translated from Scappi anyway. :)   
   I'm not tied to Mr. Potter in anyway, I'm just a happy customer and thought I'd share my review. If you'd like to contact him regarding his work let me know and I will happily pass on his email address (I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to just post it here). 

In joyous service, 


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