Cookbook-Book of Secrets. Manuscript on blue paper. Italy, c. 1824



Dati tipografici:

4to (230x185 mm). 163 [recte 159], [25, of which the last 4 are blank] pp. Contemporary pagination in the upper outer corner. Page leap between p. 156 and p. 161, but complete. Contemporary cardboard covered with red marbled paper, later inked title on spine. Attached is a small booklet (220x127 mm) of 10 unnumbered papers, also on blue paper, entitled “Repertorio miscelanea”, containing the index of the subjects treated in the main volume. Light damp stain to the upper margin of the index booklet and towards the end of the main volume, some quires with the blue of the paper rather faded, overall very well preserved and extremely genuine.

Interesting manuscript, written in a clear early nineteenth-century handwriting, containing various detailed recipes, with ingredients, measurements and procedure, for preparing syrups, liqueurs (“Swiss absinthe”, “cognac brandy”, etc.), jams, preserves, mustards, breads, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, sugared almonds, toothpastes, pills, powders, disinfectants, ointments, soaps, balms, varnishes (“printing varnishes”), inks, dyes, wax, sauces, meat sauce , meat, fireworks (“bengala”), vinegars, wines and beers (“Chambertin wine”, “Chateau Margeau [sic] wine”, “Champagne wine”, “Malaga wine”, “artificial beer”, etc.) Several recipes provide natural remedies and medicinal applications.

Sometimes there are specific references to local dishes or products such as the luganega (a type of sausage), the bussolani di Bassano romano (a typical biscuit from Lazio), chocolates made with different types of cocoa “for use in Mr. Grossato's shop”, “Gasparo Zuiner's shiny Swedish whale oil paste”, “Mistrà liqueur”, “Professor Pietro Peretti's antipyretic powder”, “Zucchetti absinthe”, “Mantovani absinthe tincture” (the recipe for which is partly encrypted, perhaps for reasons of secrecy as its formula was jealously kept at Girolamo Mantovani's Venetian pharmacy since 1658).

It is difficult to place the manuscript geographically. It is easier to date it: in fact, the date 1824 appears in it, allowing us to date it around that time.