“This is a book that will have little outcome,” said Professor Trevisan, a friend of Pellegrino Artusi, reading what has actually become a real milestone in Italian gastronomic culture: Science in the kitchen and the art of eating well. Artusi, after wandering around most of Italy and settling in Florence, decides to entirely devote himself to his gastronomic interests by reproducing the recipes observed and tasted in the trattorias, taverns and on the tables of the friends he met during his several trips to the peninsula, collecting them in a book full of personal anecdotes.
The great merit of Artusi was that he enclosed in his volume the different regional culinary traditions and accepted every recipe from its readers, thus giving voice to anyone who knew – as the author says – “How to hold a ladle in the hand”. Science in the kitchen and the art of eating well is a text that has been read and studied even today and “Its relevance is linked – according to the journalist Giuseppe Calabrese – to Artusi‘s ability to have codified the recipes of Italian culture that over the years have been handed down from generation to generation, without undergoing major changes”. Today’s changes are marginal compared to the original recipes reported by the Romagna writer, nowadays the cooking techniques are mainly different. In fact, scientific knowledge, the study of food and cooking techniques have led to slight variations in traditional recipes. “A particular case – continues Calabrese – can be represented by minestrone, in which today we tend to use different cooking methods for vegetables and leave them crunchier to enhance their taste and consistency, while at the time of Artusi the trend was to cook everything together with the broth”.
Science in the kitchen is a volume that has made the history of gastronomy, but “I believe – says Calabrese – that with the years passying by, the recipes taken from this masterpiece will be less and less. This is due to the tendency to look ahead and indulge in innovative impulses that are detached from the Artusian conception, but at the same time are based on this philosophy, because tradition remains the starting point for being able to turn towards the future and innovation”.