6 vols., pp. , 259; , 248; , 350; , 328; , XVI [prefatory missive ‘Al cortese lettore’], 290; , 325, contemporary full vellum binding with gilt titling to spines with the addition of inscription ‘Cucina’ in contemporary hand, red-and-grey decorative sprinkled edges, head- and heel-bands. Some stains/foxing to pages, some marks to binding; but generally a very good, firm copy with bright pages. A very rare set in exceptional condition. Francesco Leonardi was an internationally renowned chef and food writer from Rome who lived and worked in a number of European countries, concluding his career as chef to Catherine II of Russia (Catherine the Great). He wrote L’Apicio moderno (‘Modern Apicus’) after returning to Rome, drawing on his experiences abroad. With its publication Leonardi challenged the supremacy of the French in the world of fine cuisine, arguing that every European city is capable of having a culinary culture comparable to that for which Paris was regarded as supreme. The book is addressed to the noble courts and private houses of Italy, adapting to the Italian language the professional terminologies of cooking, key Parisian dishes and new dishes he had invented and wished to introduce to the repertoire of international court and bourgeois cuisine. It was Leonardi’s aim to demonstrate the flexibility of French cooking, its adaptability to the needs and financial strictures of families of modest wealth, and to a broad variety of locales, their markets and their different produce. First edition. Text in Italian.
LEONARDI, Francesco, L’Apicio moderno, ossia l’arte di apprestare ogni sorta di vivande di Francesco Leonardi romano, gia’ cuoco di S. M. Caterina II. imperatrice di tutte le russie &c. &c. [vols. I-VI]., s.n., 1790
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The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy; Which far exceeds any Thing of the Kind yet published. […] To which are added One hundred and fifty New and useful Receipts, And a Copious Index. By a Lady. A New Edition. With The Order of a Modern Bill of Fare, for each Month, in the Manner the Dishes are to be placed upon the Table.
Biographies & Letters