[Sca-cooks] Arabic dish with a name similar to Brustinga?

Louise Smithson helewyse at yahoo.com
Sat Jan 31 15:20:36 PST 2009

>> I?m trying to find further information on an early Italian dish  
>> called in the latin ?Brustinga?.  One offhanded reference implies  
>> that the name may be of Arabic origin as in the dishes Limonia/ 
>> Limuniyya and Romania/Rummaniyya (yumm pomegranate chicken!!!).
>> Have any of you come across any dishes of similar name?  the  
>> Italian dish is a kind of pie filled with a mix of cheese, flour &  
>> eggs w/saffron, but that may not have much to do with the original  
>> Arabic dish, as some of these dishes mutated beyond recognition,  
>> keeping only an echo of the original name?.

FWIW, a Google search for references to "brustinga" produces a first  
or very early hit on an article in pdf format by a Marianne Bouchon,  
from 1952, entitled "Latin de Cuisine". It's in French, and as far as  
I can figure (my French isn't good), it's saying the dish is covered  
in Zambrini's Libro della cucina under "de la pastringa".

Which in itself is interesting, in that it uses a similar consonant  
transposition found in the shift from Turkish to whatever in bastourma/ 
pastrami... except pastrami is alleged to be a synthetic word, and not  
Italian, so I'm not sure if that's relevant.



I too managed to pull that latin text up from google, I think it libro coquinaria actually.  I'm NOT familiar with the source so will happily take corection if wrong. 
It says: 
Ad brustingam,` recipe ratam porcinam, caseum pinguem ;
omnia minutim incisa misce cum farina et cum ouis distempera .
Et addito safranano, pone ad coquendum cum crustis uel sine crustis ;
et facias al bas, uel colora sicut uis . Lib., II, 62.
Même recette dans le Libro della cucina (éd. Zambrini, p. 81) :
« De la pastringa » ."

So the Italian version is "pastringa" 
From that source we get:
De la pastringa
cascio grasso e taglialo minuto, e togli rete di porco: queste cose
mesta con farina e ova, e distempera; et messovi zaffarono, poni nelle
croste a cocere, e falla bianca; o tu la colora, come tu vuoli. 

Of the "pastringa"
Take fatty cheese and cut it minutely and take pork caul, and these things mix with flour and eggs, and temper and put to it saffron, and put in a crust to cook, and make it white, or colored as you wish. 

the use of caul fat I'm tempted to say that the cheese, egg, flour mix
is wrapped in the caul fat and then laid into crusts to cook.  It makes
little sense to use caul fat in another manner. 

Other than
this source, I can't say I've seen a similar recipe elsewhere in
Italian texts (at least not in Scappi) but without going through each one I can't say for sure. With the addition of pork caul (an
ingredient which I believe is also in the first recipe, i.e. ratam
porcinam) I'm dubious about it's source from the Arabic. 

If we
look at the name of the dish from a purely linguistic point of view the
root "pasta" means paste or pastry, the "ringa" may be from stringere -
or to restrict, to tie, to wrap.  
If we look at Florios 1611 Italian - English dictionary (http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/florio/)
 we can find: 
Pastrugli - any kind of made or forced (think forcemeat) type dish. 
Pastingoli - a kind of chewet or dainty pie
Pasteggiari - to feast with paste meats
Pastegli - fine little pastries

honestly think that this is an Italian dish, especially when you look
at the two recipes and the "italian" title for the dish.  


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