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Food in the Italian Renaissance

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Magilee Prowler

on 13 April 2011

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Transcript of Food in the Italian Renaissance

Foods in the Italian Renaissance How it Began Foods eaten by the Poor Foods eaten by the Middle Class Foods eaten by the Rich Important Jobs The return of Marco Polo, a famous trader and explorer, from China was the beginning of the Italian Renaissance in food. He brought with him actual spices and foods from China, and ideas from China on how to spice up food. In the Renaissance, people started a cooking method in Italy where they simmered foods in fruits, wine, and spices. Another method of eating was to start the meal with fruit.
The center of this new revolution in cooking was Florence. It contained the first contemporary cooking academy, named the Compagna del Paiolo, or the Kettle Company. This guild was only for the highly skilled, and only 12 members were allowed in. Each member was required to provide a new 'food invention.' One of these new inventions was multicolored gelatin, which was their version of today’s Jell-O. Most of Italy’s citizens had two meals a day, one in the morning, and one before nightfall, but if you were poor, you only had one light meal a day; in the afternoon. The poor managed to scrap up enough money to buy bread, which was an expensive food during that time. When they couldn’t afford bread they lived on fruits and vegetables. Meat was a rare treat, and could only be eaten on Sundays. The middle class’s meals had more variety than the foods eaten by the poor. They could eat fruits and salads, and have meats ranging from pigeon to liver wrapped in membrane. They could also eat goat cheese, figs and grapes. In the 15th century, pasta became popular in the middle class. They made it by hand, or brought it to a baker who would roll out the dough and make it into the shape they wanted.
The diet of the rich was even more diverse. They often had lavish feasts and sought to astonish their guests with a huge table spread. Feasts included many courses, starting with an appetizer, which could be fruits or a cake called berlingozzo. Veal with sausage, roasted chicken, trout, or pigeon was the main course, which could be followed by a dessert and cheese.
In Italy, the rich always took for granted where their food came from. Farmers were low class citizens. They were often considered equal to slaves, even though slaves were used to farm the land and provide the food. The only thing farmers could do that slaves could not do was look for a job and get paid.
Bakers had an important job as well. People could bring their dough to a baker in the morning, then pick up a loaf of bread in the afternoon.
The bread was always stale and salty. They made the flour salty to discourage weevils from burrowing into the bread.
Stoves to back the bread was only invented to be used on land. Out on the sea, sailors used a metal box that was filled with sand. They could then add wood and start a fire.
Livestock was a major importance in Italy during this time. Animals such as pigs were widely used. Hog’s blood was collected to make “black pudding”, which it made by thickening the blood. People also enjoyed pork, though there were suspicions that it could cause leprosy. Cattle and sheep were also used, and weighed about third of their weight today.
Livestock Coffee was an exotic beverage at a rich man’s feast, though many were not yet ready to accept it, as it was a new kind of drink that had been brought from the Middle East and shipped into the ports of Venice. Instead of coffee, people mainly drank wine with all of their meals. Beverages at a Feast There were many rules to be followed when attending a rich person’s feast. For example, it was very polite to wipe your mouth with the table cloth. It was considered impolite if you ate from your fruit and offered it to a neighbor, or wore a toothpick in your collar.
Politeness and Rules at a Feast The Berlingozzo is a very sweet, ring-shaped cream cake that appeared in Lamporecchio; a province in central Italy. It is a Carnival cake, and is flavored with Anise, a flowering plant that tastes like licorice and is native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The Berlingozzo’s name is believed to have derived from the word Berlingaccio, which means “Fat Thursday.” Berlingozzo Sailors had a very different diet from those living on the mainland. They enjoyed alcoholic drinks and usually drank these more than water. The average sailor drank almost two quarts of wine a day. They drank alcohol so much because fresh water was rare during voyages because the ocean is all saltwater. They had to wait until a rainfall to get fresh water when they were out at sea. Salt was a major part of a sailor’s meal. It was used to preserve foods for long journeys, as well as add flavor to their bland foods. Sailors ate dried and salted peas, lentils, beans, cheese, fish, pork and pickled beef.

Food At Sea
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