Money, money, money…
Leonardo da Vinci mentions money and prices in his notebooks, almost in passing. He tells how much he paid gravediggers, for instance, and how much it costs to have your fortune told.
Leonardo counted money in lire, soldi and dinari:
It is one soldo, two soldi.
Like the English pound, shilling and pence, these come from the Roman system of of libra, solidus and denarius. But the money in Italy lost its value far more quickly than in England so that by Leonardo’s time the soldi had pretty much the same value as Shakespeare’s penny.
The coins that Leonardo mentions (with their rough value in metric pennies, which have 0.5 grams of silver):
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Excerpts from a lovely book on Florence and the Sonnets of Pietro Aretino:
“This was Mama’s city, her spiritual home, the place where it all began: Giotto, Michelangelo, Leonardo, the Medici…, the cradle of the Renaissance, the discovery of the world and of man.”
“I I were to describe and ideal day, it would be this: up early and out for fresh bread and fruit, drink caffelatte with Sandro, boiled egg for me, say good-bye to Sandro; work on the Aretino until noon (wash and clean every page, mend every tear, pare down leather), salami and cheese and pane toscano for lunch, with maybe a small glass of Chianti; lie down on my back for an hour and relax until my mind becomes perfectly calm, like the smooth surface of a pond, so that it can reflect divine radiance; resume work; take a long walk with no destination in mind; sit on an orange crate by window and watch piazza until Sandro comes home; mess around, go out to dinner, talk about the day’s work, come home… read, sleep.”
“According to art historian Giorgio Vasari, Giulio Romano, Raphael’s greatest pupil employed Marcantonio Raimondi to make a series of engravings of sixteen erotic drawings, sometimes known as the Sixteen Pleasures, and Pietro Aretino made matters worse by writing a sequence of indecent sonnets to accompany the engravings… the engravings were mentioned in Ariosto’s Supposti (1526) but were originally published in 1523.”
I cannot say “grazie” enough to express my gratitude to the teachers, chefs, and attendees of Gulf Wars XXIV classes and events at Ca’ d’Oro Renaissance Salon. In this case I think the best way to really show how I feel is to throw myself into planning for Gulf Wars XXV!!
I know it’s early, but the early bird catches the worm. Before your dance cards fill up for the goings on of such a monumental year (the 25th) I want you to pencil the Salon in. Let me share my ideas with you here.
First, I think for next year we need a dedicated class space and a separate “salon” space. I hope that the event can provide a small garage type tent for the classes and allow the period pavilion and fly to remain open for gaming, tinkering with herbs and perfumes, music (I do hope Madame du Pont returns with her lute and recorder!), and refreshments (instead of just one period lunch I plan to have period refreshments for lunch on Thursday and Friday). I’d also like to invite the Krewe of Jeanne d’Arc from New Orleans over on Friday to participate in “French Day”. The Italian Personae social was a great way to end Friday, and the group walked over to the Known World Party together… which seems like a nice tradition to continue. For those who want to teach classes you’ll simply use the Artisan’s Row class scheduler form which is linked to from the http://www.gulfwars.org site.
This is the inaugural year of the Ca’ d’Oro Renaissance Salon and to celebrate we have chosen Friday as our Italian “theme” day. The classes, demos, games, and even a period fundraiser lunch will all focus on the Italies. To that end, two of our favorite Mistresses have researched and prepared delicious items for you to feast upon.
At their request I am providing the recipes and source information so you can perhaps recreate these at your leisure back at your home groups:
Salciccione cott’in vino – pork sausage cooked in a red wine broth, served cold and sliced
4 lb boston butt (pork) containing at least 10 oz pork fat, supplement if necessary.
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fennel seed, lightly crushed
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint
2 teaspoons dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Trim the pork of all sinews and bones, cover the trimmings and bones with at least 4 pints of water. Bring to a boil and simmer, remove all the scum as it rises to the surface. Simmer for about two hours until a rich pork stock develops, strain and reserve. Grind the pork and fat together with on a fine mince plate in a Kitchenaid grinder attachment, alternatively process in a food processor or chop finely by hand. Mix in the spices with six tablespoons of cold water. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour. Soak salted hog casings (those suitable for bratwurst) in clean cold water, rinse out the inside of the casing with water. Thread casing onto Kitchenaid sausage stuffer attachment, feed sausage meat into casing on speed 4. Twist or tie sausages into even lengths, weighing approximately 4 oz each. Place the sausage into a pan and cover with a wine and broth mix consisting of 1/4 cup red wine for each 3/4 cup pork stock (made above) with salt to taste if the pork stock is unsalted. Bring to a gentle simmer and simmer for 20 minutes or until cooked. Don’t worry if you see bits in the stock at this point, it is the tannins in the wine reacting with the pork stock, it does not affect the taste. Allow to cool in the broth in the fridge overnight. Remove sausages from the broth, skin (because the casing now has the consistency of a rubber band) slice on a bias, arrange on the serving platter. Serve cold, serves 30 for feast.
Per far minestra di tagliatelli
Impastinosi due libre di fior di farina con tre uoua, & acqua tepida, & mescolisi bene sopra una tavola per lo spatio d’un quarto d’hora, & dapoi stendasi sottilmente con il bastone, & lascisi alquanto risciugare il sfoglio, & rimondinosi con lo sperone le parti piu grosse, che son gli orlicci, & quando sarà asciutto però non troppo, perche crepe rebbe, spoluerizzisi di fior di farina con il fetaccio, accioche non si attacchi, piglisi poi il bastone della pasta, & comincisi da un capo, & riuolgasi tutto lo sfoglio sopra il bastone leggiermente, cauisi il bastone, e taglisi lo sfoglio cosi riuolto per lo trauerso con un coltello largo sottile, e tagliati che saranno, slarghinosi, & lassinosi alquanto rasciugare, & asciutti che saranno, fettaccisi fuora per lo criuello il farinaccio, & facciasene minestra con brodo grasso di carne, o con latte, & butiro, & cotti che saranno, seruanosi caldi con cascio, zuccaro, & cannella, & uolendone far lasagne taglisi la pasta sul bastone per lungo, & compartasi la detta pasta in due parti parimente per lungo, e taglisi in quadretti, & faccianosi cuocere in brodo di lepre, ouero di grua, o d’altra carna, o latte, & seruanosi calde con cascio, zuccaro, & cannella.
To prepare a thick soup of tagliatelle
Work two pounds of flour, three eggs and warm water into a dough, kneading it on a table for a quarter of an hour. Roll it out hin with a pin and let the sheet of dough dry a little. With a cutting wheel trim away the irregular parts, the fringes. When it has dried, though not too much because it would break up, sprinkle it with flour through the sifter so it will not stick. Then take the rolling pin and, beginning at one end, wrap the whole sheet loosely onto the pin, draw the pin out and cut the rolled-up dough crosswise with a broad, thin knife. When they are cut, broaden them. Let them dry out a little and, when yhey are dry, filter off the excess flour through a sieve. Make up a soup of them with a fat meat broth, or milk and butter. When they are cooked, serve them hot with cheese, sugar and cinnamon. If you want to make lasagne of them, cut the dough legthwise on the pin, and and likewise divide it lengthwise in two, and cut that into little squares. Cook them in the broth of a hare, a crane or some other meat, or in milk. Serve them hot with cheese, sugar and cinnamon.
NOTE: Can add spices; (saffron, onions, salt, garlic, basil [Italy]), or (onion, parsley, mint, oregano, rosemary, salt[Liber de Coquina]),( Scappi: tiny sprinkle of cinnamon and sugar, mozzarella, butter) (poudre douce; 1 Tbs sugar, ½ Tbs cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cloves, ¼ tsp ginger) Cheese: mozzarella, parmesan, gyerer
Cucumber salad Scappi
Che i cedriuoli più facilmente se ne scendono dallo stomaco mangiati con la scorza, che senza. Tagliasi il cedriuolo per traverso facendosene parti mediocremente sottile, e condiscesi con olio, aceto, e sale, come l’altre insalate; ma la consuetudine hà insegnato l’aggiungervi qualche parte di cipolla fresca, e le frondi o cime del basilico verde, non senza qualche fondamento dell’arte, che forse è il contemperare la natural freddezza & humidità sua, e renderlo di succo men grosso, e men lento; e tal’hora per assaporarlo, essendo poco meno che insipido.
In order that cucumbers more easily pass the stomach eat them with the peel rather than without. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise and make of them pieces moderately thin and dress them with oil, vinegar and salt like other salads. But the custom one has learned is to add several pieces of raw onion and the leaves or sprouts of green basil. This is not without foundation in art, perhaps it counteracts the natural coldness of moisture of it and makes the juice less large and less slow.
Transcription of original recipe taken from Opera dell’arte di cucinare by Bartolomeo Scappi (1570)
Per fare morselletti, cioè mostaccioli alla Milanese. Cap CXLII. Sesto libro folio 420.
Piglinosi quindeci uove fresche, & battanosi in una cazzuola, & passnosi per lo setaccio con due libre & mezza di zuccaro fino fatto in polvere, & mezza oncia di anici crudi, overo pitartamo pesto, & un grano o due di muschio fino, & mettanosi con ese libre due & mezza di farina, & battasi ogni cosa per tre quarti d’hora, di modo che venga la pasta come quella delle frittelle, & lascisi riposare per un quarto d’hora, & ribbattasi un’altra volta, poi si habbiano apparecchiati fogli di carta fatti a lucerne onti, overo tortiere altre di sponde con cialde sotto senza essere bagnate di cosa alcuna, & dapoi mettasi essa pasta dentro le lucerne, o tortiere, & non sia d’altezza piu che la grossezza d’un dito, & subito si spolverizzino di zuccaro, & ponganosi nel forno che sia caldo, overo quelle delle tortiere, cuocanosi come le torte, & come tal pasta sarà sgonfiata, & haverà in tutto persa l’humidità, & sarà alquanto sodetta, cioè sia come una focaccia tenera, cavisi della tortiera o lucerna, & subito si taglino con un coltello largo & sottile, a fette larghe due dita, & lunghe a beneplacito, & rimettanosi nel forno con fogli di carta sotto a biscottarsi, rivoltandoli spesso, però il forno non sia tanto caldo come di sopra, & come saranno bene asciutte, cavinosi, & conservinosi perche sono sempre migliori il secondo giorno che il primo, & durrano un mese nella lor perfettione.
To make little morsels, that is “mostaccioli” in the Milan style
Take fifteen fresh eggs and beat them in a casserole and pass through the sieve with two and a half pounds of sugar fine and powdered, and half an ounce of raw aniseed or partly crushed (aniseed) and a grain or two of fine musk, and put with this two pounds and a half of flour and beat everything for three quarters of an hour, so that it becomes like the pasta for fritters and let it rest for a quarter hour and rebeat it another time. Then one takes a sheet of paper put into a “lucerne” and greased, or a ‘tortiere’ with wafers beneath that have not been bathed in such a way (not greased) and then put this paste into the ‘lucerne’ or ‘tortiere’ (specific pan types) until it is not higher than the thickness of a finger and immediately powder with sugar and put it into the oven that is hot, or the tart pan, and cook it like a tart and when this pasta is cooked (not wet) and will in all lose the humidity and it will be enough cooked, that is like a tender focaccia, pull out the ‘lucerne’ or ‘tortiere’ and immediately cut with a large thin knife, cut in slices as large as two fingers, and as long as one pleases, and put them in the oven with pieces of paper beneath the biscuits, turn them enough, ensure that the oven is not as hot as the one above (second baking is at a lower temp than first), and when they are well dried, pull them out and save them because they are always better the second day than the first and they will keep for a month in their perfection.
Rose Soda / Lavender Drink
Adapted from _The ‘Libre de Diversis Medicinis’ in the Thornton Manuscript (MS. Lincoln Cathedral, A.5.2)_. Edited by Margaret Sinclair Ogden. Published for the Early English Text Society by Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press. Amen House, E.C. 4. England. 1938. Text circa early 1400 CE.
1 part rose/lavender petals
2 parts water
2 parts sugar/honey
Soak a number of petals in a pitcher of water holding twice as much water as petals for one night. Press, but not squeeze, the water from the petals and reuse them as needed. Mix into the water enough honey or sugar as to taste, and serve cold.
The cured goose known to Sephardim as “Jewish ham” appears in Spanish poetry of the Inquisition period.
Duck Breast Prosciutto
Spanish Comendador Román wrote a poem criticizing his rival, converso Jewish poet Antón de Montoro, in the city of Córdoba around the second half of the 15th century. Román says that Montoro, as a true Jew, will eat
“adafina de ansarón [cured goose adafina] /
que coció toda la noche [that cooked all night] /
sin tocino [without salt pork]”
Is this an Inquisition-era version of the saying, “you are what you eat”?
Source: “Con pura malenconía”
David M. Gitlitz and Linda Davidson. A Drizzle of Honey: The Lives and Recipes of Spain’s Secret Jews. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.
Santa María, Ramón. “Ritos y costumbres de los hebreos españoles.” Boletín de la Real Academia de la Historia 22 (1893): 181-188.
Recipe from Scappi, Cap XIII, folio 20, 2nd book.
To make meat balls in roman style of loin of beef or of cow.
Take the leanest part of the loin, without bones and skin and nerves and cut it against the grain in large pieces of six ounces each. Powder them with rubbed salt and fennel flowers or a little bit of ground common spices and take four lardons of ham salted for each piece. Let them stay marinating with this mixture, a little red vinegar and concentrated grape must (saba) for three hours. And then put on the spit with a piece of pork fat between each and also pieces of sage leaves or bay leaves. Let them cook on a temperate fire. Then they are cooked they should be served as such, hot with a sauce above, made from that juice which falls from them, and mixed with this mixture, that is made from the things in the marinade. This sauce wants to have little body and give to it the color of saffron. In this way one can cook the loins of young lambs, mutton and of other quadruped animals.
Spinaci soffritti, acconci con aceta rosata, uva passa & zuccaro/Fried spinach, dressed with rose scented vinegar, currants and sugar
To fry spinach and cook it in other ways. Chapter 244, third book.
Take tender spinach, wash it and drain it, have a frying pan with hot oil and put inside the said spinach with the smallest amount of salt, and turn it with the spoon and beat it. And when it is beaten and cooked add currants, pepper, cinnamon and sour orange juice or clear verjuice or a little mosto cotto and let it raise to the boil again and serve everything together hot. If you want it in the Florentine style, put it in the pan washed without oil and let it fry and beat it with the spoon and drain off the water and add oil, salt, pepper vinegar, mosto cotto and currants and put everything in a pan and let it finish cooking very slowly with the same sauce, and when it is cooked serve it warm or cold as you please with its sauce on top. If you want it in a third way when the spinach is large (and tough) let it parboil in boiling water and when it is par cooked take it out and press out the water and make it into large balls, the which balls one can keep from one day to the next. And when you want to serve it, one fries it with small onions chopped in oil, adding salt, pepper, currants and one serves it hot with verjuice or sour orange juice on top and mosto cotto. One also may cook it in any way that one cooks the other herbs in broth.
I hope you join us at the Salon on Artisan’s Row…
Menu for our period lunch feast next Friday at Gulf Wars (click here to donate and reserve your space!):
Primo servito di Credenza – First service from the side board
Insalate di cetriolo – cucumber salad
Salciccione cott’in vino – pork sausage poached in wine
Duck breast prosciutto
Bread and butter
Primo et ultimo servito di cucina – First and last service from the kitchen
Lasagne Romani – flat pasta cooked in broth and combined
with grated cheese
Mixed meatballs in Roman style
Fried spinach, dressed with rose scented vinegar, currants and
Secondo et ultimo servito di Credenza – Second and last service from the sideboard
All served with a beverage of rose, lavender, and honey
Class schedule as of 10 March 2015: