[Sca-cooks] cannellini beans

Sharon Palmer ranvaig at columbus.rr.com
Mon Oct 10 11:34:29 PDT 2011

>Thank you for some directions. Cannellini is a white bean and some sources
>that I have found say the great northern and navy are substitutes.

Navy and great northern are also New World beans, which are (as 
Johnna corrected me) only period in a few places, late in period, as 
novelties.  Certainly not Roman.

I've never seen any history for the various varieties of new world 
beans or how old they are.  I suspect that they date to before the 
beans came to Europe.  I don't think anyone knows what variety the 
earliest beans in Europe were, and doubt there is any reason to 
consider one New World bean as more period than another.

>recipe is a cannellini torta which one source has the bean as far back as
>Roman times but most others pretty much have it in Peru and making it's way
>to the Italian states around late 1400s and into the 1500s.

The new beans were given the same name as the old ones, and used in 
the same recipes.   It is *possible* that your recipe is old and was 
was originally made with one of the Old world beans.

I checked the index of Apicus for "bean" and "torta" and don't see 
anything like this.    The notes say that one word now associated 
with beans, actually meant peas then.  Apicus isn't the only Roman 
cookbook, and it would help to know the exact title of the original 


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