Cruditas (overly full stomach in Latin) is an exploration of historic gastronomy – hopefully delicious (but we will not shy away from our failures, however gigantic) and hopefully shedding some light on the nature of taste. While we think nothing of grabbing some take-out from the Southeastern Malaysian joint around the corner, recipes little more than 100 years old seem outlandish and those from 500 often seem like gibberish – we’ll try to figure some of that out, as well as why some recipes and ingredients (why can’t I get lamprey at the fish market?) fail, some succeed and some adapt and sneak through. We’ll be cooking from texts ranging, roughly from Apicius’s 5th Century work to late 19th century Mexican cookbooks like La Cocinera Poblana. Since I’m a rare bookseller by trade, there is bound to be some talk about the books these recipes came from, but the focus will be an attempt to discover the exotic, interesting, and revealing in the history of Western (I’d love to expand eastward though and explore Indian or Thai food before the arrival of that new world staple, the chili pepper) cuisine.
The cookery items displayed in the banners and headers are taken from Bartolomeo Scappi’s wonderful 1570 Opera.