[Sca-cooks] Period pasta sauce (was Re: A couple of questions)

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 13 10:21:00 PST 2009

Here's a quote from the 16th century Milanese writer Ortensio Landi; the quote I have is taken from Mary Taylor Simeti's "Pomp and Sustenance," but originally was from Landi's "Commentary on the most notable and outlandish things found in Italy and elsewhere":

"In a month's time (if the winds are not against you) you will arrive on the affluent island of Sicily, where you will eat some of these macaroni that have taken their name from [the Greek word] 'beatify': they are usually cooked together with fat capons and fresh cheeses dripping with butter and milk on all sides, and then, using a wide and liberal hand, sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon of the finest that can be found. Oh dear, how my mouth waters just remembering them."

The "fresh cheeses dripping with butter and milk on all sides," what kind of cheese do you think he was referring to? It certainly doesn't sound like Parmesan. Taking a look at the Florilegium and the cheese entries there, could Landi have been referring to a mascarpone?


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