food origin
ALFREDO SAUCE
Alfredo is a sauce made from heavy cream, butter, parsley, andminced garlic.It is most often served on fettuccine noodles.Alfredo sauce was supposedly invented in Rome in 1914 by restaurantowner Alfredo di Lello.

Alfredos wife lost her appetite during her pregnancy.To restore her appetite Alfredo went to his kitchen ,mixed egg noodles with the finest parmigiano cheese and butter andcreated a dish even his wife couldnt resistEarlier version was a Roman dish known as Fettuccine al burro(fettuccine with butter).Due to the high amount of butter used, the butter was also known as doppio burro (double butter).Di Lelio’s original contribution was to put some more butter in thewarm serving bowlwhere the fettuccine would be poured in,thus a triplo burro (triple butter) effect instead of double.That is why the dish, still very different from the Alfredo saucerecipe,is known as Maestosissime fettuccine al triplo burro in Italy.

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Fettuccine Alfredo became extremely popular,and his restaurant attracted many celebrities.Two of these were Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks,who fell in love with the dish while on their honeymoon in 1927.On their return to the United States they asked for the same recipe,and thus introduced it to the New World.Since then Alfredo has been far more popular in the United Statesthan in Italy,where it is mostly served to American tourists.

ciabatta
Ciabatta, which literally means slipper, is an Italian white bread made with wheat flour and yeast.

During the past few years, it has also become popular in the rest of Europe and the United States.It is not clear where in Italy this kind of bread was first produced, and at least one type of ciabatta can be found in nearly every region of Italy. The ciabatta from the area encompassing Lake Como has a crisp crust, a somewhat soft, porous texture, and is light to the touch. The ciabatta that is found in Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche varies from bread that has a firm crust and dense crumb, to bread that has a crisper crust and more open texture.

The more open-crumbed form, which is usual at least in the United States, is made from a very wet dough, often requiring machine-kneading, and a sourdough starter.There are many variations of ciabatta. When made with whole wheat flour, and is known as ciabatta integrale. In Rome, it can be seasoned with olive oil, salt and marjoram. When milk is added to the dough, it becomes ciabatta latte.A toasted sandwich made from small loaves of ciabatta is known as a panino (plural panini).

Fettuccine
Fettuccine (literally “little ribbons” in Italian) is a type of pasta. It is a very flat, thick, noodle made of egg and flour. Although it can be purchased dried, the finest fettuccine noodles are produced fresh, from scratch, by pressing dough through a pasta maker.

Fettuccine is often served with Alfredo sauce.

Lasagne
LasagneLasagna, also lasagne, is both a form of pasta in sheets(often rippled in North America, though seldom so in Italy) and alsoa dish, sometimes named Lasagne al forno (meaning “Lasagne in theoven”) made with alternate layers of pasta, cheese, and ragu (a meatsauce). While it is traditionally believed to have originated inItaly, evidence has come to light suggesting that a very similarmeal known as “loseyns” (pronounced ‘lasan’) was eaten in the courtof King Richard II in the 14th Century. The recipe was also featuredin the first cookbook ever written in England. However, the claim isfar from universally accepted, the Italian Embassy in Londonparticularly speaking out against it for Italy.The word “lasagna” is derived from the Greek word “lasanon” meaningchamber pot. The word was later borrowed by the Romans as “lasanum”to mean cooking pot. The Italians then used the word to refer to thedish in which what is now known as lasagna is made.

The word lasagnaor lasagne (plural) now simply applies to the dish itself. TheBritish generally use the plural “lasagne” to mean both the dish andthe pasta while the Americans commonly use the singular “lasagna”.Many recipes call for several kinds of cheese, most often ricottaand parmesan.

The classic Lasagne alla Bolognese uses onlyParmigiano Reggiano. Many recipes also add bechamel sauce(besciamella).A variant is Lasagne verde (green lasagne) which is the normal eggpasta with spinach added.Lasagne was first recorded in the 13th century when it was used in alayered dish. This early version did not include tomatoes, which hadnot yet been discovered by Europeans.

Lasagne is the favorite dish of the fictional cat Garfield.Lasagne is the most popular ready meal in the UK, Sainsbury’s sells26 a minute.

farfalle
Farfalle is a type of pasta.More commonly known as “bow-ties”, farfalle comes in several sizes,but has a distinctive bowtie shape. Usually the farfalle is formed from a square of pasta with two sides trimmed in a ruffled edge, and the center pinched together to make the unusual shape.
TortellIni
Tortellini is a ring-shaped pasta, they are typically stuffed with a mix of meat(veal, chicken, pork variants such as sausage, Prosciutto crudo and mortadella)and parmesan cheese although other stuffings are popular in the Po Valley.Originally from the Italian region of Emilia (in particular Bologna and Modena),they are usually served in broth, with cream, or with a Ragu or similar sauce.Traditionally, the most serious restuarant in Bologna as well “La Confraternitadel Tortellino” agree that the only real Tortellino is served only in home madebroth.

Tortellino with cream is widely accepted in Bologna but criticized bysome. Tortellino with ragu’ although it can be found is considered by the vastmajority of Bolognesi a sin against God.Tortelloni is a larger version of tortellini, and is usually stuffed withRicotta cheese and leaf vegetables, such as spinach.

OLIVE OIL
Olive oil ‘acts like painkiller’ Freshly pressed olive oil is the most rich in the key ingredient Good quality olive oil contains a natural chemical that acts in a similar way to a painkiller, a US study says. Researchers found 50g of extra-virgin olive oil was equivalent to about a tenth of a dose of ibuprofen. A Monell Chemical Senses Centre team in Philadelphia said an ingredient in the oil acted as an anti-inflammatory, the Nature journal reported. The team said while the effect was not strong enough to cure headaches, it may explain the Mediterranean diet benefit. The active ingredient – found in greater concentrations in fresher olives – is called oleocanthal and inhibits the activity of enzymes involved in inflammation in the same way as ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

It seems plausible that oleocanthal plays a casual role in the health benefits associated with diets where olive oil is the principal source of fat Paul Breslin, report co-author Inflammation has been linked to a wide range of conditions such as heart disease and cancer. Report co-author Paul Breslin said: “The Mediterranean diet, of which olive oil is a central component, has long been associated with numerous health benefits, including decreased risk of stroke, heart disease, breast cancer, lung cancer and some dementias. “Similar benefits are associated with certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin and ibuprofen. “Now that we know of oleocanthal’s anti-inflammatory properties, it seems plausible that oleocanthal plays a causal role in the health benefits associated with diets where olive oil is the principal source of fat.

” The team was led to the discovery after one of the researchers noticed that fresh extra-virgin olive oil irritates the back of the throat in a similar way to ibuprofen. Claire Williamson, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “Olive oil contains a range of bioactive compounds, but we are not entirely sure what they do. “We believe it has some antioxidant properties, but to say it mimics a drug is taking it one step further and needs more research.

” And she added olive oil was high in fat so should only be taken in moderation.

TOMATOE
Early historyTomato flowersAccording to Andrew F. Smith’s The Tomato in America,the tomato probably originated in the highlands on the west coast ofSouth America. Smith notes that there is no evidence that the tomatowas cultivated or even eaten before the Spanish arrived. Otherresearchers, however, have pointed out that this is not conclusive,as many other fruits in continuous cultivation in Peru are notpresent in the very limited historical record. Much horticulturalknowledge was lost after the arrival of Europeans, as the RomanCatholic Church had a policy of burning pre-Columbian information aspagan.In any case, by some means the tomato migrated to Central America.

Mayan and other peoples in the region used the fruit in theircooking, and it was being cultivated in southern Mexico, andprobably in other areas, by the sixteenth century. The large, lumpytomato, a mutation from a smoother, smaller fruit, originated andwas encouraged in Central America. Smith states that this variant isthe direct ancestor of some modern cultivated tomatoes.

Spanish distributionAfter the Spanish conquest of South America, the Spanish distributedthe tomato throughout their colonies in the Caribbean. They alsobrought it to the Philippines, from which point it moved tosoutheast Asia and then the entire Asian continent.The Spanish also brought the tomato to Europe.

It grew easily inMediterranean climates, and cultivation began in the 1540s. It wasprobably eaten shortly after it was introduced, though it wascertainly being used as food by the early 1600s in Spain. Theearliest discovered cookbook with tomato recipes was published inNaples in 1692, though the author had apparently obtained theserecipes from Spanish sources.

Tomatoes in ItalyBecause the plant was clearly similar to its nightshade congeners,it was assumed for years to be poisonous in Italy, where it wasgrown as a decorative plant. Eventually the peasant classesdiscovered that it could be eaten when more desirable food wasscarce. This eventually developed into a whole cuisine of tomatodishes, as the wonders of the fruit became obvious. But this tookseveral centuries, wide acceptance not happening until the 18thcentury.Tomatoes in BritainThe tomato plant was not grown in England until the 1590s, accordingto Smith.

One of the earliest cultivators was John Gerard, a barber-surgeon. Gerard’s Herbal, published in 1597, and largely plagiarizedfrom continental sources, is also one of the earliest discussions ofthe tomato in England. Gerard knew that the tomato was eaten in bothSpain and Italy. Nonetheless, he believed that it was poisonous(tomato leaves and stems are indeed poisonous but the fruit issafe). Gerard’s views were influential, and the tomato wasconsidered unfit for eating (though not necessarily poisonous) formany years in Britain and its North American colonies. By the mid1700s, however, tomatoes were widely eaten in Britain, and beforethe end of that century the Encyclopaedia Britannica stated that thetomato was “in daily use” in soups, broths, and as a garnish.Tomatoes were originally known as ‘Love Apples’, possibly based on amistranslation of the Italian name pomo d’oro (golden apple) as pomod’amoro.

North AmericaYoung tomato plants in a gardenSmith states that the earliestreference to tomatoes in British North America is from 1710, whenherbalist William Salmon reported seeing them in what is today SouthCarolina. They may have been introduced from the Caribbean. By themid-18th century they were cultivated on some Carolina plantations,and probably in other parts of the South as well. It is possiblethat some people continued to think tomatoes were poisonous at thistime, and in general they were grown more as ornamental plants thanas food. Cultured people like Thomas Jefferson, who ate tomatoes inParis and sent some seeds home, knew the tomato was edible, but manyof the less well-educated did not.

However, according to Smith, this changed in the early 19th century,first in the Southern states and then throughout the country,tomatoes began to be used regularly as food. In some regions thismay have happened quite quickly; for example, in an 1824 speechbefore the Albemarle Agricultural Society, Jefferson’s son-in-lawThomas Mann Randolph discussed the transformation of Virginiafarming due to the introduction of new crops. He mentioned howtomatoes were virtually unknown ten years earlier, but by 1824everyone was eating them because it was believed they kept one’sblood pure in the heat of summer [1].

As Randolph’s speech shows, medicinal powers were sometimesattributed to tomatoes. The idea that tomatoes could be used as acurative was fully developed by Dr. John Cook Bennett, who believedthat tomatoes could treat diarrhea, dyspepsia, and other stomachailments. Bennett’s claims were widely publicized in the 1830s, inpart because they were fun to mock, and in part because the tomatowas still a novelty. Soon tomato pills were being sold, and peoplebegan to testify to miracle cures caused by the healing powers oftomatoes. They were even recommended as a cure for cholera (sincetomatoes are a healthy food, they may have actually been a betteralternative than other, decidedly harmful medical practices of theday). It is possible that it really did “cure” ailments which weredue to shortages of fresh fruit in the diet.

The tomato mania lasted only a few years, but it enormously boostedtomato consumption, and contributed to an increase in tomato salesthroughout the 1830s and 1840s. By the end of this period, Smithdemonstrates, tomatoes were an established part of the American diet.Cultivation and usesA selection of tomato cultivars showing the variation in shape andcolor availableThe tomato is now grown world-wide for its ediblefruits, with thousands of cultivars having been selected withvarying fruit types, and for optimum growth in differing growingconditions.

Cultivated tomatoes vary in size from ‘cherry tomatoes’,about the same 1-2 cm size as the wild tomato, up to ‘beefsteak’tomatoes 10 cm or more in diameter. The most widely grown commercialtomatoes tend to be in the 5-6 cm diameter range. Most cultivarsproduce red fruit, but a number of cultivars with yellow or orangefruit are also available. Tomatoes grown for canning are oftenelongated, 7-9 cm long and 4-5 cm diameter; these are known as ‘plumtomatoes’.Diseases and pestsTomato cultivars vary widely in their resistance to disease. Modernhybrids focus on improving disease resistance over the heirloomplants.

One common tomato disease is tobacco mosaic virus, and forthis reason smoking or use of tobacco products should be avoidedaround tomatoes. Various forms of mildew and blight are also commontomato afflictions, which is why tomato varieties are usually markedwith letters like VFN, which refers to disease resistance toverticillium wilt. fusarium fungus, and nematodes.Some common tomato pests are tomato hornworms, aphids, cabbageloopers, whiteflies, tomato fruitworms, flea beetles, and Coloradopotato beetles.[edit]Pollination[edit]Hydroponic and greenhouse cultivation[edit]Picking and ripeningTomato slicesTomatoes are often picked unripe, and ripened instorage with ethylene. Ethylene is the plant hormone produced bymany fruits and acts as the cue to begin the ripening process. Thesetend to keep longer, but have poorer flavor and a mealier, starchiertexture than tomatoes ripened on the plant.

They may be recognizedby their color, which is more pink or orange than the ripe tomato’sdeep red.Recently, stores have begun selling “tomatoes on the vine” which areripened still connected to a piece of vine. These tend to have moreflavor (at a price premium) than artificially-ripened tomatoes, butstill may not be the equal of local garden produce.Also relatively recently, slow-ripening cultivars of tomato havebeen developed by crossing a non-ripening variety with ordinarytomato cultivars.

Cultivars were selected whose fruits have a longshelf life and at least reasonable flavor.Modern uses of tomatoesTomatoes on a vineTomatoes are now eaten freely throughout theworld. Today, their consumption is believed to benefit the heart.Lycopene, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants, is present intomatoes and has been found to be beneficial in preventing prostatecancer, among other things.Botanically a fruit, the tomato is generally thought of and used asa vegetable: it’s more likely to be part of a sauce or a salad thaneaten whole as a snack, let alone as part of a dessert (though,depending on the variety, they can be quite sweet, especiallyroasted).Tomatoes are used extensively in Mediterranean and Middle Easterncuisines, especially Italian ones.

The tomato has an acidic propertythat is used to bring out other flavors. This same acidity makestomatoes especially easy to preserve in home canning as tomato sauceor paste. The first to commercially can tomatoes was HarrisonWoodhull Crosby in Jamesburg, New Jersey. Tomato juice is oftencanned and sold as a beverage. Unripe green tomatoes can also beused to make salsa, be breaded and fried, or pickled.The town of Bunol, Spain annually celebrates La Tomatina, a festivalcentered on an enormous tomato fight.

Tomatoes are also apopular “non-lethal” throwing weapon in mass protests, and there isa common tradition of throwing rotten tomatoes at bad actors orsingers on a stage although this tradition is more symbolic as oftoday.

ARTICHOKE
The Globe artichoke is very closely related to the Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), and possibly derived from it in cultivation; the controversy whether it occurs wild or is a cultivar of the Cardoon has not yet been resolved. It is likewise uncertain whether references to the Globe artichoke in classical Greek and Roman authors are really references to the Cardoon. It is, however, certain that the Globe artichoke as we know it today was cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean before the 12th century, and subsequently introduced to the rest of Europe.Globe artichokes were first cultivated at Naples around the middle of the 15th century, and are said to have been introduced to France by Catherine de Medici, in the 16th century. The Dutch introduced artichokes to England, where they were growing in Henry VIII’s garden at Newhall in 1530. They were introduced to the United States in the 19th century, to Louisiana by French immigrants and to California by Spanish immigrants. The name appears to have originated with the Arabic al-karsufa, through the Italian, articiocco.

Today, the Globe artichoke is cultivated mainly in France, Italy, and Spain. In the United States, California provides nearly 100 percent of the local crop, and approximately 80 percent of that is grown in Monterey County. Castroville in Monterey County proclaims itself to be “The Artichoke Center of the World” (a claim with no basis in international reality). The cultivar ‘Green Globe’ is virtually the only kind grown commercially in the U.S.Globe artichokes are perennials, and produce the edible flower only during the second and subsequent year. Commercial culture is limited to warm areas in USDA hardiness zone 7 and above.

It requires good soil, regular watering and feeding plus frost protection in winter. Rooted suckers can be planted each year so that mature specimens can be disposed of after a few years, as each individual plant only lives a few years. The peak season for artichoke harvesting is the spring, but they continue to be harvested throughout the summer, with another peak period in mid autumn.When harvesting, if they are cut from the ground so as to leave an inch or two of stem, artichokes possess good keeping qualities, frequently remaining quite fresh for two weeks or longer under average retail conditions.

Artichoke field.The recently introduced hybrid cultivar ‘Imperial Star’ has been bred to produce in the first year without such measures. An even newer cultivar, ‘Northern Star’, is said to be able to overwinter in more northerly climates, and readily survive sub-zero temperatures.Apart from food use, the Globe artichoke is also an attractive plant for its bright floral display, sometimes grown in herbaceous borders for its bold foliage and large purple flowerheads.

Bruschetta is a food originating in central Italy. It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and spicy red pepper. Variations may include toppings of tomato, vegetables and/or cheese. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer.In Tuscany, bruschetta is called fettunta, meaning “oiled slice”.

It is worth noting that in Italian, bruschetta is pronounced [brusE?ket.ta], though in English-speaking countries it is commonly pronounced [bE?E™E?E?E›.E?E™].The snack is extremely popular in middle class London circles and before the British general election in May 2005, newspaper columnist David Aaronovitch made a reference to liberal anti-war people who hold to ‘Bruschetta orthodoxies’ about Prime Minister Tony Blair. The phrase was picked up by bloggers with the result that the cliche about Guardian readers is no longer that they eat ‘muesli’ but that they nibble bruschetta.

LASAGNA
LasagneLasagna, also lasagne, is both a form of pasta in sheets (often rippled in North America, though seldom so in Italy) and also a dish, sometimes named Lasagne al forno (meaning “Lasagne in the oven”) made with alternate layers of pasta, cheese, and ragu (a meat sauce). While it is traditionally believed to have originated in Italy, evidence has come to light suggesting that a very similar meal known as “loseyns” (pronounced ‘lasan’) was eaten in the court of King Richard II in the 14th Century.

The recipe was also featured in the first cookbook ever written in England. However, the claim is far from universally accepted, the Italian Embassy in London particularly speaking out against it for Italy.The word “lasagna” is derived from the Greek word “lasanon” meaning chamber pot. The word was later borrowed by the Romans as “lasanum” to mean cooking pot. The Italians then used the word to refer to the dish in which what is now known as lasagna is made. The word lasagna or lasagne (plural) now simply applies to the dish itself. The British generally use the plural “lasagne” to mean both the dish and the pasta while the Americans commonly use the singular “lasagna”.

Many recipes call for several kinds of cheese, most often ricotta and parmesan. The classic Lasagne alla Bolognese uses only Parmigiano Reggiano. Many recipes also add bechamel sauce (besciamella).A variant is Lasagne verde (green lasagne) which is the normal egg pasta with spinach added.

Lasagne was first recorded in the 13th century when it was used in a layered dish. This early version did not include tomatoes, which had not yet been discovered by Europeans.Lasagne is the favorite dish of the fictional cat Garfield.Lasagne is the most popular ready meal in the UK, Sainsbury’s sells 26 a minute.Linguine is a kind of pasta which is a flattened spaghetti originating from the Campania region of Italy. The name means “little tongues” in the Italian language.

ITALIAN HISTORY-TUSCAN
During the Renaissance, this magic land gave birth to some of themost influential characters in Western civilization: artists andarchitects, saints and philosophers, navigators and scientists.These include Amerigo Vespucci, the merchant and navigator who gaveAmerica its name; Giovanni da Verrazzano; Leonardo; Michelangelo;Lorenzo de’ Medici “The Magnificent”; Brunelleschi; Della Casa;Galileo; Giotto; Donatello; Botticelli; Dante; Machiavelli; andBoccaccio, to mention only a few.The Etruscans, who inhabited Tuscany before the Romans, had areputation for being great eaters and wine drinkers. Their habitswere considered by many to be degenerate and to be the cause oftheir decline. In Roman times, until the fall of the Roman Empire,Tuscany cooking coincided with that of Rome itself. After the year1000, and after the Crusades opened the way to the East, with thefear of barbarian incursions diminishing, the northern Italiancities became the center of production and commercial power.

At the end of the twelfth century, in spite of the permanenthostility between the factions loyal to the Pope (Guelfi), and thosedevoted to the emperor (Ghibellini), Florence grew to be independentand the most powerful city of Tuscany. The lily became the symbol ofFlorence and its supremacy. The food of the time was simple andmeager; dishes were based on grains or chestnuts, and were merelyflavored with herbs: breads such as focaccia, and castagnaccio comefrom those times. Towards the middle of the 1300s, economic recoveryset the basis for the supremacy that the gastronomy of Tuscany andFlorence would hold for the first few centuries that followed.Improved agricultural techniques made more widely available theproducts of the Tuscan countryside that we so much appreciate today:wine, olive oil, vegetables, pork, and all sorts of game.

Shopsoffered porchetta (roasted piglet flavored with Tuscan herbs), cowmeat, chicken, lamb, vegetables, and fish from the Arno River. Manyof the recipes of the time remain alive in Tuscan cooking today.In 1434, the town of Florence became a signoria and Cosimo de’Medici, powerful merchant and banker, became the lord.

He governedwith such wisdom that he was declared “Father of the Homeland” athis death. In 1439, the council of the Roman and Greek churches washeld in Florence, as guests of the Medici.One story says that, on this occasion, two important terms of Tuscancooking were born. While in a banquet, Greek Cardinal Bessarionetasted some roasted piglet, and he exclaimed, “Aristos!”meaning “the best” in Greek. The Florentines present at the tablethought he called that meat dish by that name, and since then Aristabecame the name of the whole loin of pork.Again, Cardinal Bessarione, when tasting a sweet wineexclaimed, “This is Xantos!” alluding to a similar wine produced inGreece.

Those who were listening thought that he wanted to say thewine was so good as to judge it santo (holy). From that day, thisspecial wine has been called Vin-Santo (holy wine), offered in allof Tuscany as a dessert wine to be drunk with the famousCantucci “biscotti.”The Food ofEnchanted TuscanyWith its enchanted landscapes and rolling hills covered with brightyellow fields of sunflowers, olive groves, and grapevines, hilltowns, monuments, and art, Tuscany is the Italian region in everyforeigner’s dreams.

Lorenzo’s death in 1492 ended an era—on the same year as thediscovery of America, which would bring so many changes to thehistory of the world and would also forever change the gastronomy ofthe West.Since Florence was one of the greatest commercial nexus of the time,Tuscan cooking was enriched earlier by the produce of the new worldthan the fare of many other countries. New beans, potatoes, maize,and chocolate were tasted here, even while they were stillconsidered ornamental plants in other parts of Europe.With the decadence of the Medici family, the Grand Duchy of Tuscanyslowly faded away. After the death of the last of the Medici, theGrand Duchy was given to the Lorraine, a French-Austrian dynasty,followed by Napoleon, by the return of the Lorraine again after thefall of Napoleon’s empire, and finally by the annexation to theKingdom of Italy in 1860.From 1865 to 1871, Florence was the capital of Italy. Florentinecuisine in those years seems to have forgotten the Tuscan way ofcooking; the official dinners only proposed French dishes and wines.

The presence of the royal Italian court, originally from Piemonteand influenced deeply by the French style, had caused theFlorentines to value only what came from across the Alps.French cuisine dominated in Italy and added a lot to the language ofcooking. Many French words remained in everyday use, such as menu,dessert, and buffet, just to mention a few. The French also broughtback to Italy many dishes of the grand cuisine that originated inItaly, were taken to France by Caterina de’ Medici, but had falleninto disuse—for example, the bechamel (balsamella) and crepes(crespelle). French cooking certainly added the use of butter toFlorentine cooking.

But while French cooking dominated official cuisine, the taste forgenuine Tuscan cooking was kept alive in more modest environments.The strong traditions of Tuscan cooking soon made a great comeback,thanks to many gourmets who used the antique flavors, followed theold recipes, and treasured the genuine, gastronomic dishes ofTuscany.Tuscan cooking today is characterized by simple food, not covered inheavy sauces. Cooking is done with olive oil—used as salad dressing,poured over bread, and in soups and stews. Beans are a staple. Sage,rosemary, thyme, and marjoram are popular herbs. The farmlandproduces olive oil and wine, wheat, and fruits.

Chickens, ducks,rabbits, cows, and pigs are raised in small estates. The vegetablesgrown here include artichokes, asparagus, spinach, beans, and peas;and, a great number of wild mushrooms, including porcini and morels,is found.Anna Maria Volpi© Anna Maria Volpi, 2005Lorenzo “The Magnificent,” son of Cosimo de’ Medici, succeeded hisfather at age twenty. He ruled Florence with great determination andliberalism. That same year, he married a lady of Roman nobility. Theevent was celebrated with great feasts and banquets. One aspect ofthese events was the distribution to the population of a profusionof food, including hundreds of chickens, ducks, fish, game, calves,and barrels of wine.Wrote Lorenzo, a poet himself:”Quant’e’ bella giovinezzache si fugge tuttaviachi vuol essere lieto siadel doman non v’e’ certezza”How beautiful is youth, that runs away so fast, who wishes to behappy so, there is no certainty in tomorrow.

In harmony with this thought, Lorenzo surrounded himself with alarge court of painters, artists, architects, writers, and poets,and made Florence the liveliest center of the time. He was also anenthusiast of good food, and a good cook himself.Lorenzos death in 1492 ended an era—on the same year as thediscovery of America, which would bring so many changes to thehistory of the world and would also forever change the gastronomy ofthe West.Since Florence was one of the greatest commercial nexus of the time,Tuscan cooking was enriched earlier by the produce of the new worldthan the fare of many other countries.

New beans, potatoes, maize,and chocolate were tasted here, even while they were stillconsidered ornamental plants in other parts of Europe.With the decadence of the Medici family, the Grand Duchy of Tuscanyslowly faded away. After the death of the last of the Medici, theGrand Duchy was given to the Lorraine, a French-Austrian dynasty,followed by Napoleon, by the return of the Lorraine again after thefall of Napoleon’s empire, and finally by the annexation to theKingdom of Italy in 1860.From 1865 to 1871, Florence was the capital of Italy. Florentinecuisine in those years seems to have forgotten the Tuscan way ofcooking; the official dinners only proposed French dishes and wines.The presence of the royal Italian court, originally from Piemonteand influenced deeply by the French style, had caused theFlorentines to value only what came from across the Alps.

French cuisine dominated in Italy and added a lot to the language ofcooking. Many French words remained in everyday use, such as menu,dessert, and buffet, just to mention a few. The French also broughtback to Italy many dishes of the grand cuisine that originated inItaly, were taken to France by Caterina de’ Medici, but had falleninto disuse—for example, the bechamel (balsamella) and crepes(crespelle).

French cooking certainly added the use of butter toFlorentine cooking.But while French cooking dominated official cuisine, the taste forgenuine Tuscan cooking was kept alive in more modest environments.The strong traditions of Tuscan cooking soon made a great comeback,thanks to many gourmets who used the antique flavors, followed theold recipes, and treasured the genuine, gastronomic dishes ofTuscany.Tuscan cooking today is characterized by simple food, not covered inheavy sauces.

Cooking is done with olive oil—used as salad dressing,poured over bread, and in soups and stews. Beans are a staple. Sage,rosemary, thyme, and marjoram are popular herbs. The farmlandproduces olive oil and wine, wheat, and fruits. Chickens, ducks,rabbits, cows, and pigs are raised in small estates. The vegetablesgrown here include artichokes, asparagus, spinach, beans, and peas;and, a great number of wild mushrooms, including porcini and morels,is found.

Anna Maria Volpi© Anna Maria Volpi, 2005Lorenzo “The Magnificent,” son of Cosimo de’ Medici, succeeded hisfather at age twenty. He ruled Florence with great determination andliberalism. That same year, he married a lady of Roman nobility. Theevent was celebrated with great feasts and banquets.

One aspect ofthese events was the distribution to the population of a profusionof food, including hundreds of chickens, ducks, fish, game, calves,and barrels of wine.Wrote Lorenzo, a poet himself:”Quant’e’ bella giovinezzache si fugge tuttaviachi vuol essere lieto siadel doman non v’e’ certezza”How beautiful is youth, that runs away so fast, who wishes to behappy so, there is no certainty in tomorrow.In harmony with this thought, Lorenzo surrounded himself with alarge court of painters, artists, architects, writers, and poets,and made Florence the liveliest center of the time.

He was also anenthusiast of good food, and a good cook himself.The David by Michelangelo Buonarroti is considered one of thehighest artistic expressions of the Renaissance.

HISTORTY
During the Renaissance, this magic land gave birth to some of themost influential characters in Western civilization: artists andarchitects, saints and philosophers, navigators and scientists.These include Amerigo Vespucci, the merchant and navigator who gaveAmerica its name; Giovanni da Verrazzano; Leonardo; Michelangelo;Lorenzo de’ Medici “The Magnificent”; Brunelleschi; Della Casa;Galileo; Giotto; Donatello; Botticelli; Dante; Machiavelli; andBoccaccio, to mention only a few.The Etruscans, who inhabited Tuscany before the Romans, had areputation for being great eaters and wine drinkers. Their habitswere considered by many to be degenerate and to be the cause oftheir decline.

In Roman times, until the fall of the Roman Empire,Tuscany cooking coincided with that of Rome itself. After the year1000, and after the Crusades opened the way to the East, with thefear of barbarian incursions diminishing, the northern Italiancities became the center of production and commercial power.At the end of the twelfth century, in spite of the permanenthostility between the factions loyal to the Pope (Guelfi), and thosedevoted to the emperor (Ghibellini), Florence grew to be independentand the most powerful city of Tuscany. The lily became the symbol ofFlorence and its supremacy. The food of the time was simple andmeager; dishes were based on grains or chestnuts, and were merelyflavored with herbs: breads such as focaccia, and castagnaccio comefrom those times.

Towards the middle of the 1300s, economic recoveryset the basis for the supremacy that the gastronomy of Tuscany andFlorence would hold for the first few centuries that followed.Improved agricultural techniques made more widely available theproducts of the Tuscan countryside that we so much appreciate today:wine, olive oil, vegetables, pork, and all sorts of game. Shopsoffered porchetta (roasted piglet flavored with Tuscan herbs), cowmeat, chicken, lamb, vegetables, and fish from the Arno River. Manyof the recipes of the time remain alive in Tuscan cooking today.

In 1434, the town of Florence became a signoria and Cosimo de’Medici, powerful merchant and banker, became the lord. He governedwith such wisdom that he was declared “Father of the Homeland” athis death. In 1439, the council of the Roman and Greek churches washeld in Florence, as guests of the Medici.One story says that, on this occasion, two important terms of Tuscancooking were born. While in a banquet, Greek Cardinal Bessarionetasted some roasted piglet, and he exclaimed, “Aristos!”meaning “the best” in Greek. The Florentines present at the tablethought he called that meat dish by that name, and since then Aristabecame the name of the whole loin of pork.Again, Cardinal Bessarione, when tasting a sweet wineexclaimed, “This is Xantos!” alluding to a similar wine produced inGreece. Those who were listening thought that he wanted to say thewine was so good as to judge it santo (holy).

From that day, thisspecial wine has been called Vin-Santo (holy wine), offered in allof Tuscany as a dessert wine to be drunk with the famousCantucci “biscotti.”The Food ofEnchanted TuscanyWith its enchanted landscapes and rolling hills covered with brightyellow fields of sunflowers, olive groves, and grapevines, hilltowns, monuments, and art, Tuscany is the Italian region in everyforeigner’s dreams.Lorenzo’s death in 1492 ended an era—on the same year as thediscovery of America, which would bring so many changes to thehistory of the world and would also forever change the gastronomy ofthe West.

Since Florence was one of the greatest commercial nexus of the time,Tuscan cooking was enriched earlier by the produce of the new worldthan the fare of many other countries. New beans, potatoes, maize,and chocolate were tasted here, even while they were stillconsidered ornamental plants in other parts of Europe.With the decadence of the Medici family, the Grand Duchy of Tuscanyslowly faded away. After the death of the last of the Medici, theGrand Duchy was given to the Lorraine, a French-Austrian dynasty,followed by Napoleon, by the return of the Lorraine again after thefall of Napoleon’s empire, and finally by the annexation to theKingdom of Italy in 1860.From 1865 to 1871, Florence was the capital of Italy. Florentinecuisine in those years seems to have forgotten the Tuscan way ofcooking; the official dinners only proposed French dishes and wines.The presence of the royal Italian court, originally from Piemonteand influenced deeply by the French style, had caused theFlorentines to value only what came from across the Alps.

French cuisine dominated in Italy and added a lot to the language ofcooking. Many French words remained in everyday use, such as menu,dessert, and buffet, just to mention a few. The French also broughtback to Italy many dishes of the grand cuisine that originated inItaly, were taken to France by Caterina de’ Medici, but had falleninto disuse—for example, the bechamel (balsamella) and crepes(crespelle). French cooking certainly added the use of butter toFlorentine cooking.But while French cooking dominated official cuisine, the taste forgenuine Tuscan cooking was kept alive in more modest environments.The strong traditions of Tuscan cooking soon made a great comeback,thanks to many gourmets who used the antique flavors, followed theold recipes, and treasured the genuine, gastronomic dishes ofTuscany.Tuscan cooking today is characterized by simple food, not covered inheavy sauces. Cooking is done with olive oil—used as salad dressing,poured over bread, and in soups and stews.

Beans are a staple. Sage,rosemary, thyme, and marjoram are popular herbs. The farmlandproduces olive oil and wine, wheat, and fruits. Chickens, ducks,rabbits, cows, and pigs are raised in small estates. The vegetablesgrown here include artichokes, asparagus, spinach, beans, and peas;and, a great number of wild mushrooms, including porcini and morels,is found.Anna Maria Volpi© Anna Maria Volpi, 2005Lorenzo “The Magnificent,” son of Cosimo de’ Medici, succeeded hisfather at age twenty. He ruled Florence with great determination andliberalism. That same year, he married a lady of Roman nobility.

Theevent was celebrated with great feasts and banquets. One aspect ofthese events was the distribution to the population of a profusionof food, including hundreds of chickens, ducks, fish, game, calves,and barrels of wine.Wrote Lorenzo, a poet himself:”Quant’e’ bella giovinezzache si fugge tuttaviachi vuol essere lieto siadel doman non v’e’ certezza”How beautiful is youth, that runs away so fast, who wishes to behappy so, there is no certainty in tomorrow.

In harmony with this thought, Lorenzo surrounded himself with alarge court of painters, artists, architects, writers, and poets,and made Florence the liveliest center of the time. He was also anenthusiast of good food, and a good cook himself.Lorenzos death in 1492 ended an era—on the same year as thediscovery of America, which would bring so many changes to thehistory of the world and would also forever change the gastronomy ofthe West.Since Florence was one of the greatest commercial nexus of the time,Tuscan cooking was enriched earlier by the produce of the new worldthan the fare of many other countries. New beans, potatoes, maize,and chocolate were tasted here, even while they were stillconsidered ornamental plants in other parts of Europe.With the decadence of the Medici family, the Grand Duchy of Tuscanyslowly faded away. After the death of the last of the Medici, theGrand Duchy was given to the Lorraine, a French-Austrian dynasty,followed by Napoleon, by the return of the Lorraine again after thefall of Napoleon’s empire, and finally by the annexation to theKingdom of Italy in 1860.

From 1865 to 1871, Florence was the capital of Italy. Florentinecuisine in those years seems to have forgotten the Tuscan way ofcooking; the official dinners only proposed French dishes and wines.The presence of the royal Italian court, originally from Piemonteand influenced deeply by the French style, had caused theFlorentines to value only what came from across the Alps.French cuisine dominated in Italy and added a lot to the language ofcooking. Many French words remained in everyday use, such as menu,dessert, and buffet, just to mention a few. The French also broughtback to Italy many dishes of the grand cuisine that originated inItaly, were taken to France by Caterina de’ Medici, but had falleninto disuse—for example, the bechamel (balsamella) and crepes(crespelle).

French cooking certainly added the use of butter toFlorentine cooking.But while French cooking dominated official cuisine, the taste forgenuine Tuscan cooking was kept alive in more modest environments.The strong traditions of Tuscan cooking soon made a great comeback,thanks to many gourmets who used the antique flavors, followed theold recipes, and treasured the genuine, gastronomic dishes ofTuscany.Tuscan cooking today is characterized by simple food, not covered inheavy sauces. Cooking is done with olive oil—used as salad dressing,poured over bread, and in soups and stews. Beans are a staple.

Sage,rosemary, thyme, and marjoram are popular herbs. The farmlandproduces olive oil and wine, wheat, and fruits. Chickens, ducks,rabbits, cows, and pigs are raised in small estates. The vegetablesgrown here include artichokes, asparagus, spinach, beans, and peas;and, a great number of wild mushrooms, including porcini and morels,is found.Anna Maria Volpi© Anna Maria Volpi, 2005Lorenzo “The Magnificent,” son of Cosimo de’ Medici, succeeded hisfather at age twenty. He ruled Florence with great determination andliberalism. That same year, he married a lady of Roman nobility.

Theevent was celebrated with great feasts and banquets. One aspect ofthese events was the distribution to the population of a profusionof food, including hundreds of chickens, ducks, fish, game, calves,and barrels of wine.Wrote Lorenzo, a poet himself:”Quant’e’ bella giovinezzache si fugge tuttaviachi vuol essere lieto siadel doman non v’e’ certezza”How beautiful is youth, that runs away so fast, who wishes to behappy so, there is no certainty in tomorrow.In harmony with this thought, Lorenzo surrounded himself with alarge court of painters, artists, architects, writers, and poets,and made Florence the liveliest center of the time. He was also anenthusiast of good food, and a good cook himself.The David by Michelangelo Buonarroti is considered one of thehighest artistic expressions of the Renaissance.

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CHOWDER ORIGIN
Origin: 1751It begins with the cooking pot, called in French a chaudiere. Perhaps New Englanders got it from trade or military expeditions to French Canadian outposts up north like Louisbourg (see Covered Wagon 1745). The idea is to toss in whatever you have on hand, particularly seafood, salt pork, vegetables, and often crackers and milk, to make a thick hot stew or soup.In 1751 we find that chowder is already the subject of poetry. On September 2 of that year, rhymed “Directions for making a chouder” appeared in the Boston Evening Post: “First lay some Onions to keep the Pork from burning, Because in Chouder there can be no turning.

“A century later, the great New England orator and statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852) had his own recipe for chowder. According to a 1931 cookbook, it supposedly went like this: “Take a cod of ten pounds, well cleaned, leaving on the skin. Cut into pieces one and a half pounds thick, preserving the head whole. Take one and a half pounds of clear, fat, salt pork, cut in thin slices. Do the same with twelve potatoes. Take the largest pot you have.

Try out the pork first; then take out the pieces of pork, leaving in the drippings. Add to that three parts of water, a layer of fish, so as to cover the bottom of the pot; next a layer of potatoes, then two tablespoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper, then the pork, another layer of fish, and the remainder of the potatoes.”Fill with water to cover the ingredients and boil for twenty-five minutes. Then add a quart of boiling milk and ten hard crackers, split and dipped in cold water.

After five more minutes of boiling, “the chowder is then ready and will be first rate if you have followed the directions.”