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Cristoforo Di Messisbugo and Protestant Banquets



Cristoforo Di Messisbugo and Protestant Banquets

Luigi Ballerini, noted translator and food historian, and Diane Ghirardo, distinguished architecture historian, will speak on the book Banquets, Recipes, and General Utensils for the Kitchen and the Table, by Cristoforo di Messisbugo (late 1400s -1548). Published posthumously in Ferrara in 1549, the book is currently being translated into English, and will form part of the collection of the esteemed Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library, directed by Ballerini and Massimo Ciavolella, Chair of UCLA’s Italian Department.


The book is presented in three parts: an introduction, Memoriale per fare un apparecchio generale; a catalog of ten dinners, three light meals and a small banquet, described in all their phases with an accompanying list of beverages; and a collection of 315 recipes. It is a veritable treatise on mannerisms and a gold mine of information on food, including occasional elaborate and spectacular preparations, which quite rightly were reserved for court banquets. The author suggests dishes that were considered haute cuisine by his contemporaries, revises and creates recipes, refines popular dishes, and adapts foreign and exotic recipes to local products. In addition to taste, this gentleman of the court is concerned with sights and sounds and so weaves pleasing intervals of dance, music, or theater into his banquets.


Luigi Ballerini, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature at UCLA, is the author of a collection of poetry, Cefalonia (Mondadori, 2005), and editor of the English language edition of Pellegrino Artusi’s La Scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well, University of Toronto Press, 2003) and Maestro Martino’s De arte culinaria (The Art of Cooking, University of California Press, 2005).


Diane Ghirardo is Professor of History and Architecture and Art History at the University of Southern California. Among her publications are Architecture after Modernism (Thames & Hudson, 1996), Mark Mack, (Wasmuth Verlag, April 1994, a monograph), Out of Site: A Social Criticism of Architecture, Bay Press, 1991, Building New Communities: A Social Criticism of Architecture (Bay Press, 1991), and Building New Communities: New Deal America and Fascist Italy (Princeton University Press, 1989).  New Deal America & Fascist Italy, Princeton, University Press, 1989.

The topic of her talk will be Reflections on Flora, Fauna and Food in Renaissance Ferrara, based on Banquets, Recipes, and General Utensils for the Kitchen and the Table.


The presentation will feature an appearance by Sandro Carotti, a Florentine actor who studied at Vittorio Gassman’s Bottega Teatral and worked with directors Giorgio Albertazzi, Gabriele Lavia, and Massimo Ranieri.


Date: Thursday, October 26, 2006