From the book:
One day, while walking down Arezzo's ancient Via Madonna del Prato, I noticed a small antique shop—the window was full of pretty oddments, china, Venetian glass, small pieces of silver.
Inside, the fifteenth-century vaulted room was lined with bookshelves. I asked the owner if he had any cookery books for sale. He showed me a copy of the fifth edition of La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangiar bene by Pellegrino Artusi. Between the index and the back cover lay a bundle of papers covered in copperplate handwriting: recipes which had been collected by the book's original owner, a woman called Beppina."
So begins Elizabeth Romer's exploration of the culinary traditions of the beautiful Tuscan city of Arezzo, traditions that stretch from Etruscan and Roman times down to the markets, gardens and kitchens of the present day. This is a book of uncommon charm and erudition that manages to use a forgotten bundle of kitchen notes as a window into millennia of cooking.
Beppina's original notes are reproduced as well as translated, and Romer displays a wide-ranging grasp of Italian culinary history, highlighting books, cultural figures, and iconic moments that create a picture of the enduring character of food in this particular place. Enchanting.
Paperback. Line illustrations.