A Dutch translation of Bartolomeo Scappi’s Opera (1612)

Maldonado gives a literal translation of large parts of the Opera, ordering the recipes in the same manner as Scappi does and even copying some errors and omissions from the original. The other part of his Libro de cozina contains a similar job of plagiarism of an older Catalan cookery-book, the Libro de Guisados (1520) of Ruperto de Nola, who served King Ferdinand I (1423-1494) in Naples.
Magirus does not retain the ordering of the Opera, nor does he always give a literal translation of Scappi’s recipes. He performs a lot of editing on the original recipes. He replaces Italian ingredients that were probably difficult to find in the seventeenth century Low Countries with local alternatives. He mostly omits Scappi’s technical backgrounders on ingredients and manners of preparation. In contrast to Scappi he often gives a personal appreciation of a recipe.
Magirus clearly makes a programmatic selection of the many recipes in the Opera. He omits most of Scappi’s fish recipes and all of his pasta recipes, even though earlier Netherlands cookery-books do contain such recipes, indicating that pasta was even then already well known in the aristocratic and middle class milieus. In contrast he publishes lots of recipes for omelettes and egg “pancakes”, which are all translated from Scappi’s frittata recipes. He calls these “terseyen” – a neologism that is nowhere mentioned in the forty volumes of the Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal (1849-1998), the historical dictionary of the Dutch language and the largest dictionary in the world1 – and calls them similar to the more traditional Dutch egg pancakes or “eyerstruyven”. Magirus also mentions that he fears that the ladies in the Low Countries won’t like these “terseye … because they do not like to try something new”2.
He is also the first to publish a recipe in Dutch for the famous Spanish Baroque festive dish olla podrida. In a short introduction he calls this dish “the best he has ever eaten”3. With the exception of this introduction he gives a fairly literal translation of Scappi’s original recipe4. But as so often in the rest of his book he makes small, but significant changes. He omits Scappi’s explanation of what an “oglia potrida” precisely is. He simplifies some ingredients: just “good lard” in stead of “gola di porco salata, vergellata”; dry in stead of fresh peas. Sometimes he omits ingredients all together, such as “rognonatica di vitella” and “tre cotorne”. He adds “ten blackbirds” (xx Merels) that are not found in Scappi’s original. In stead of “servasi calda con spetierie dolci sopra”, he calls for the dish to be flavoured with sweet spices ánd “sugar”. He also mentions explicitly how important it is to use enough salt. The biggest difference between the two recipes is in the manner of serving. Magirus’ olla is served in the manner of a hotchpotch, with much more broth than in Scappi’s version.
It is clear that Magirus wrote his cookery-book with a different audience in mind than Scappi or Maldonado. He did not write for an aristocratic audience or for colleague-cooks in European court kitchens. The ladies (Jouffrouwen) of the rich middle classes in the cities of the Low Countries were his intended audience. He tries to evangelize and simplify the aristocratic gastronomy for a bourgeois audience.

  1. Woordenboek der Nederlandsche Taal online []
  2. Magirus (1612: 28). []
  3. Ibid., 46. []
  4. Scappi (1570: 65r-65v, 2-CLII). []

Geef een reactie

Het e-mailadres wordt niet gepubliceerd. Vereiste velden zijn gemarkeerd met *

Door hier een reactie achter te laten geef je deze site de eeuwige toestemming om jouw woorden en naam/web site te reproduceren als bron.

Deze website gebruikt Akismet om spam te verminderen. Bekijk hoe je reactie-gegevens worden verwerkt.