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The Neapolitan Recipe Collection: Cuoco Napoletano Hardcover – February 8, 2000
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The recipes are given in their original script, but the translations are much further along, after a glossary and a commentary on each recipe. The author comments at one point that the chef "appears to have had some predilection for marzipan." The glossary is stupendous and worth the book's cost alone.
Do not look here for precise redactions of recipes. They are translations, not modernizations. Medieval cookbooks are not exact by any stretch. Sometimes you get a recipe that directs you to use "8 fresh eggs and half a pound of grated cheese", but that's rare. You also don't get precise instructions with these recipes, and sometimes a recipe looks like a step's put out of order. More often you get something like this: "Get barley flour, almond milk and chicken broth, and put the flour, sieved, into the milk and set it to cook till done; dish it out; as it finishes cooking, add fine sugar." That said, the recipes are an eye-opening and constantly satisfying look at another world. The names alone are worth the shot: Peach Blossom Sauce, made with pomegranates and sandlewood.
The commentaries also include some Catalan recipes, as well as minute readings of possible scribal errors and other minutia. As a historical criticism it's astounding; as a food history resource, it's invaluable. Definitely worth the money.
Egg Omelet. Get as many eggs as you wish, beat them thoroughly and add in a little milk to make it softer; similarly, add in a little grated cheese with a decent amount of salt, and cook it in good butter; garnish it with fine spices.
Some of the more incredible foods that are also included, such as a peacock that breathes fire and a stag that looks alive, will have to be considered for pure reading pleasure alone!
The translations follow the style of the original manuscript yet are still easy to read and simple to understand, while Scully's commentaries on all the recipes add depth that a mere translation cannot provide, and give the reader a vast insight into the background of the foods of this time period. The body of recipes itself contains a variety of dishes for pastas, vegetable, eggs, chicken, fish, meats, sauces, & sweets, and even has a section devoted to "Gastronomical Marvels." With the Neapolitan Recipe Collection, Terence Scully has produced a volume which needs to be included in the library of all modern cooks who study or practice historical cooking. It is, quite simply, a jewel of a book.