Pellegrino Artusi, a businessman with a passion for good food and cooking
Author of the epic cookbook “La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene”
Self-published in 1891, a few years after the independence and reunification of Italy (1861). Not only a ricettario, but a best-seller and a powerful tool for the diffusion of Italian language in the peninsula. The most of the Italians at that time were indeed dialects speakers, Italian was for many, as a matter of fact, a foreign language, imposed by the new government.
My mother had two copies of this book. As a child I used to read it, and I was fasciated by this weird, ancient Italian prose, full of outdated terms, such as ramerino for rosmarino (‘rosmary’), ramaiuolo for mestolo (‘spoonful’), and balsamella for bechamelle.
(See also “I miss Italian vintage recipes – 1 – 2”