[Sca-cooks] Scully's Neapolitan Recipe Collection and some queries

Louise Smithson helewyse at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 22 19:54:09 PST 2010

I've been looking at Scully's _Neapolitan Recipe Collection_ in the 
hope of finding answers to a few of the puzzled Rebecca encountered 
in translating a different southern Italian cookbook, and a few 
points struck me.

1. He repeatedly refers to "squash." My guess is he means the white 
flowered gourd, which unlike squash is old world.  
- Yes, the Italians transferred the name "zucche" from old world squash to new world squash.  By Scappis time (16th century) they were both being used, but at least in Scappi are defined by the addition of either "nostrale - ours" or "d'India - of the indies".

2. He refers to kidney beans, which as I understand it are new world.
Yes, they were in use by the 16th century but would have been out of time for Martino and the 14th century cookbook your daughter is working on. Again the name fagiuoli was transferred from the native (vinca or fava bean) to the upstart bean from America. 

3. He thinks eggplant was a new introduction to Italian cooking in 
the 15th century. But it's common in Islamic cooking at least by the 
10th century, and between then and the 15th a good deal of southern 
Italy was under Islamic rule for a substantial length of time.
He also thinks that Scappi uses limes, for the most part Scullys translations are invaluable, in others they need to be compared carefully with the original manuscript. 

Some other points ...  . Scully's manuscript has a recipe for 
figatelli, which are used as an ingredient in the cookbook Rebecca is 
translating. It uses mesentary, which I gather is also used in 
classical french cuisine and called "the crow." Any idea whether a 
modern butcher could supply it or what he would call it?
In Scappi the recipe is fegatelli - which gives away the ingredient - liver (fegato).  They are wrapped in caul, the original Italian would be 'rete' i.e. net.  As far as where you can get it, tricky, I found a butcher in Ohio that would keep it for me on the days he slaughtered pigs (I had to call 10 slaughter houses to find one that would do it).  The other alternative is neiman ranch mail order. It's expensive. 

The following are terms which Rebecca isn't sure of the meaning of context would help, or in my case as I have the text in question the recipe number. Of the top of my head these, the others I'll work on tomorrow. ; 
suggestions invited: 
Civero - dialect for cibreo?  chicken omentum or a dish of internal chicken organs. 
Crepa - to collapse, to fall, think of when you are cooking apples at some point they stop being apples and become sauce. 
Cumere - cocomere is cucumber it could be dialect, alternatively cumin?
Ola: Unknown. - a mis-scribe of olia?  Depends on context. 
Pugne: Unknown. - prugne - prune or plum? 
Scorza aromatica - aromatic peel, citron? 



More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list