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The author of a manuscript containing two different recipe books, each preserved in the B.IN.G. collection at Sorengo, is commonly known by the name of Anonymous Southerner. This term was coined by Ingemar Boström, who published the manuscript (with its clearly southern expressions, particularly Neapolitan) in Italian. Published at the end of the XIV or beginning of the XV century, the manuscript is divided into two books that are quite different from one another. Book A contains 164 recipes, some of which written in Latin. Even though many of its recipes have been eliminated and others updated or transformed, the book is part of a large group of recipe books which are evidence of the great success that this particular culinary tradition enjoyed in Italy in the late Middle Ages. The tradition is called "12 Gluttons" because it is believed to date back to the "Spendthrift Brigade" of Siena, which was composed of twelve rich aristocrats who are even mentioned by some of Dante's commentators. In fact, Book A and the group of texts which form the tradition of the "12 Gluttons" (that is, the fragments published by Morpurgo and Guerrini, the "notebooks" by Nizza that were printed by Rebora, the Cook's Book published by Frati, etc.) characteristically contain recipes that are designed to serve twelve persons. However, none of these manuscripts met with success after the end of the XV century (even though they continued to be recopied in certain manuscripts) and were never printed, since Italian publishers were using a new text by Martino Rossi. Book B, on the other hand, was partially inspired by a different tradition and contains 65 recipes. In particular, the last nine recipes, which offers precise information on the quantities of ingredients to be used, have never been found in other recipe books and show a strong influence from the world of Arab cuisine.


Johannes de Buckenheim (the name of the small town near Worms, where he was born) was a German clergyman whose activity as cook in the Papal Curia in Rome during the reign of Pope Martin V led to a moderately successful ecclesiastical career in the dioceses of Worms and Mayence. Two manuscripts have survived from his Registrum coquine, which was composed between 1431 and 1435. These manuscripts are preserved in the National Library in Paris and in a private collection in London. Written in Latin and containing 74 recipes, the treatise furnishes rather summary instructions on preparing the relative dishes and must therefore have been used by Bockenheim as his own personal cookbook. The culinary tradition transmitted by the book was relatively archaic: for example, this cuisine is characterised by the infrequent use of sugar, which was becoming popular at the time. Nevertheless, the book's originality is expressed by the constant indication of whom the dishes were intended for - a fact which is understandable, given the international nature of the people who supped in the Papal Curia's dining hall. In fact, the recipes always end with a piece of advice: et erit bonum pro (excellent for) Germans, Italians, Swedes, etc., and for social categories such as barons, nobles, kings, the poor, prostitutes...


Known as Martino the Master (because that was the way he defined himself in two of the four known manuscripts in his Libro de arte coquinaria) up to only a few years ago, Martino Rossi cooked for Ludovico Trevisan, a clergyman and Patriarch of Aquileia, in Rome. He was also known as Martino da Como, because he was so nominated by Platina in his De honesta voluptate et valetudine. However, we can now call this famous chef by his exact name, thanks to a manuscript of his treatise in which he is called Martino de Rubeis. This manuscript has also enabled us to draw a more precise picture of his life. Born in a locale called Torre della Valle di Blenio (now Ticino Canton, Switzerland) in the second or third decade of the 1400s, Martino Rossi was named to the rectorate of a charitable institution in 1442. In 1457, he lived in Milan and served as Francesco Sforza's cook. Afterwards, he lived in Rome and worked for Ludovico Trevisan, the Patriarch of Aquileia. He then returned to Milan to serve Gian Giacomo Trivulzio. In the history of European cuisine, Martino Rossi's book is extremely important not only for the precision and intelligent organisation of the recipes it contains, but most importantly for the widespread diffusion the work enjoyed. It was included by Platina in a treatise printed in Latin in 1475, and was printed in Italian, French and English until the 1700s. Rossi's recipes can also be found in short booklets entitled Epulario, under the name of Giovanni Rosselli.


Cristoforo Messisbugo worked as carver and ducal superintendent at the court of Estense di Ferrara in the first half of the 1500s. He was married to Agnese di Giovanni Gioccoli, a noblewoman from Ferrara, and died in 1548. Unlike Martino Rossi and most authors of Medieval and Renaissance cookbooks, he was not a professional cook. Instead, he was the thrifty steward who monitored the activities - and even the finances - of the court. His treatise entitled Banquets: composition of victuals and general equipment, which was published posthumously a year after his death, is different from preceding works. The first of its three parts is a list of things that are necessary for holding banquets, ranging from the various foods to the pots and utensils. The second part describes for the first time (if one excludes an unpublished Neapolitan manuscript preserved in New York) the courses of eleven dinners, three lunches and a court party which were all held between 1529 and 1548. The last part contains 323 recipes that are organised into six subjects (pasta, cakes, soups, sauces, broths, dairy products), a subdivision that was to be widely followed in Italy and adopted, for example, by Romoli (1560), Scappi (1570) and Stefani (1662).