What's Cookin?

Think traditional Italian cooking is all pasta and pizza? Think again.

Has Italian cooking changed since Leonardo da Vinci's day? What delicacies might you expect to sample from a festive banquet table in Renaissance Florence?

  1. Pasta
  2. Songbird
  3. Mozzarella Cheese
  4. Salami
  5. None of the Above

The correct answer is B). Songbird.

Think of the children's nursery rhyme, "Sing a Song of Sixpence," where "four-and-twenty blackbirds were baked in a pie!" Although that folk song is of English origin, songbirds, blackbirds and others were actually considered a delicacy throughout the courts of Europe.

Discover la Cucina Italiana of Leonardo's day. Then try a few tipico recipes!

Eating Like Leonardo

If you want to be healthy observe this regime. Do not eat when you have no appetite and dine lightly, Chew well, and whatever you take into you Should be well-cooked and of simple ingredients. He who takes medicine is ill advised Beware anger and avoid stuffy air. Stay standing a while when you get up from a meal. Make sure you do not sleep at midday. Let your wine be mixed with water, take little at a time Not between meals, nor on an empty stomach. Neither delay nor prolong your visit to the toilet. If you take exercise, let it not be too strenuous. Do not lie with your stomach upward and your head Downward. Be well covered at night, And rest your head and keep your mind cheerful. Avoid wantonness and keep to this diet.

Leonardo da Vinci, 1515

In his notebooks, Leonardo gives a recipe to a sauce that could dress any modern salad. You can substitute teaspoons for "parts" and add a little olive oil to the mixture for balance.



Whisk ingredients together. Let stand a few minutes for flavors to meld and settle. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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