In 1614, Giacomo Castelvetro, native of Modena but for years in England in selfimposed exile, had a French scribe copy out three versions of his essay “Brieve racconto di tutte le radici, di tutte le erbe et di tutti i frutti, che crudi o cotti in Italia si mangiano” (A brief account of all the roots, of all the greens and of all the fruits, that raw or cooked one eats in Italy). This charming early modern account of Italian cuisine was half exhortation to the English to eat their veggies, and half an attempt at getting Castelvetro, then an older man, a pension from the Countess of Bedford so he could live out his years without having to teach Italian to European nobility. Both attempts were failures and Castelvetro’s manuscripts languished for centuries, known only to scholars until Gillian Riley’s translation in 1989. This volume is an updated edition and has much to commend it.
by Giacomo Castelvetro – Translation by Gillian Riley