Monday, April 18, 2016

Anonymous Tuscan ... Now in English!

Let me speak plainly here - translating a medieval cookbook is a bite in the butt. It's tedious, there's no real money to be made from it, and there are thousands of people out there ready to tell you that you've got it wrong.  That's why I take such joy in seeing new translations popping up online. Not only did someone go to all the effort of teasing out the meaning of an archaic source, but they went and put it out there for every amateur cooking historian to use.

Today's joy comes from Ariane Helou's translation of An Anonymous Tuscan Cookery Book (a.k.a. Anonimo Toscano / Libro della Cocina, Italy, late 14th or early 15th c).  While the Italian text of the source has been online for quite some time, there hasn't been a readily available English translation.

The text contains 184 recipes, and Ariane has done a fantastic job of crafting them into clear and easily understood English. If you're at all interested in medieval European cuisine, it's well worth browsing through - especially if (like me) you can't read medieval Italian.

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