Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Galant Cook

The Espresso Break: Celebrated gastronome, Vincenzo Corrado (1736-1836) is a household name in the Campania region.  Having studied mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy, Corrado taught French and Spanish for a time while writing culinary books.  Then in 1773 Corrado published Il Credenziere di Buon Gusto (The Belief in Good Taste) which became a huge success, catapulting Corrado into a renown reputation as a chef.  

In his book, he also described more than eleven ways to prepare coffee, explaining that coffee held an important international position in gastronomy.  His recipes for coffee are of intense interest to a coffee lover like me.  Here are some of his recipes, as translated (loosely) from Lejla Mancusi Sorrentino's wonderful little book, Manuale del perfetto amatore del caffe:

Coffee Cream
Take roasted coffee and sprinkle into milk that is warmed in a vase above coals.  When the coffee flavor has extracted into the liquid, pass the milk through a sieve.  Cool the liquid and then mix in sugar, egg yolk, and rice-flour.  Cook together.  Serve cold.

Milk Sorbet and Coffee
Create a strong concoction of coffee with three carafs of milk.  Dissolve twenty-four egg yolks and three pounds of sugar.  Combine with the milk and cook until thickened.  Pass through a sieve and allow to cool until frozen.

Sugar Plumb Coffee
Roast coffee and then grind the beans until they turn to dust.  Create a paste from the powdered coffee as well as some sugar until both together turn into a kind of gum.  Turn the paste into tiny coffee beans and bake in an oven.  The beans turn into candy.

Liquor Caffe
Take two liters of boiling water and add six ounces of roasted and ground coffee.  Leave together for two hours and then pass the water through a sieve.  Mix the water with two pounds of sugar and two liters of liquor.  Filter the beverage through a cloth.

Corrado loved the aristocracy and wanted to choreograph lavish meals to match their style.  During his lifetime, he held famous banquets that landed him the moniker of Galant Chef.  By 1794 he wrote another book called Il Cuoco Galante (The Galant Cook) where he elaborated on Neapolitan cooking.  This book is still available in major bookshops throughout Campania.  

Touting simple Neapolitan recipes, it's interesting to note that Vincenzo Corrado died at the age of 100 years old.


Anonymous said...

Excellent article, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Mm, its fantastic-/

Anonymous said...

Good article. Thank you.