Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Columbus Menu

Few things are as famous as "la buona tavola" of the Italians. However, that notorious "buon mangiare" it was not so before the discovery of America. Many of the icons of Italian cuisine are really possible thanks to the contributions that they came from the New World and without which Italian food definitely not be the same.

Looking in my books something to say on the occasion of October 12, I found this book that I do not remember how or when acquired and had not even read. The book is Columbus Menu. Italian Cuisine after the First Voyage of Christopher Columbus , Stefano Milioni, published in 1992 by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade. As expected the booklet I came in handy to write about the date on my blog, and reading convinced me that, whatever may have been the reason I got it was certainly a good decision.

Columbus Menu explained how they were introduced to Europe after Columbus's voyage, as basic foods such as corn, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cocoa, and even turkeys. The author refers to the introduction dates, or at least the first evidence of its existence in different areas, each of these genres. Its earliest uses, which in many cases were ornamental, magical or aphrodisiacs, and then also the first references and recipes in old cookbooks European regions.

Interestingly, the book highlights the differences between the use of these products in Europe, and specifically in Italy. While in other parts of the old continent as a delicacy adicionaban more to the table, in Italy were used to create new dishes, mixing old items with new arrivals and giving life to a new and tasty variant.
Tomatoes , for example, how important it is for Italian cuisine, according to the author:
[...] reached Italy, officially at least, in the 17th century. It was Brought into the country by the English but They did not at the same time introduce any culinary preparations in Which the fruit was employed . (Milioni, 1992, p.12)
Milioni (p.13) says that apparently was in Sicily where he began to use a good amount of chopped tomatoes in the water they were boiled macaroni or vermicelli.
otherwise Corn part, the seeds were introduced in Spain by Columbus returned from his first trip in 1493, it began to be cultivated in Europe until about 1520, and thanks to some varieties of the plant that took away from Mexico. News are given the introduction of maize in the region of Veneto, Italy, from 1530, and the cultivation of this grain originated the polenta, another pillar of Italian gastronomy.
same fate among Italians potato. Discovered by the conquerors of Peru, was taken to Mexico and from there to Europe. The author states that: The first authentic scientific description of the potato has been credited to the Dutch botanist Charles de Lécluse, who is better Known by the name Clusius. While I was Residing in Vienna in 1588, I received two tubers from the governor of Mons in what is today Belgium. The gift was Accompanied by a watercolor, que was the first official drawing of the potato.

(Milioni, 1992, p. 34) The potato entered Italy since 1560, Milioni tells us in his book, and had a pretty bad start: ornamental first and as animal feed after. It was not until 1801 that the fifth edition of Il Cuoco Galante published a list of possible uses of the potato as food for humans, including pulpetas (polpette), mashed, similar to polenta, grilled or stuffed with butter. This paper also published the first recipe and potato gnocchi with egg yolks and beef fat ricotta cheese. The following recipes were this much simpler, and I think the road was long to reach these gnocchi in packages that can currently buy in the supermarket. That was just the dish I prepared for this entry: potato gnocchi, but with tomato , basil and feta cheese.

Do you Have Courage?

The presence of the egg as a symbol on the ground and is well known surrealist art. We find, for example, in some paintings of Ernst, in Remedios Varo, along Dali all creation. The Carrington also used it as a motif in several of his works populated by mysterious characters, fish and birds. But this post does not refer specifically to eggs as pictorial object, but as food in the kitchen. In the novel Leonora no lack of allusions to food, in fact, Poniatowska Leonora tells us that liked to cook and do it excellently. In the house of the French province of St. Martin who lived with Max, Poniatowska grew vegetables and describes it in the kitchen: "With your fingers, Leonora takes their pods peas, beans wastes and lentils, nuts. Their hands are more than business, are wise. Come and go as if cast careers and never wrong, do not hurt or when slicing the tips of green beans or carrots casters do. " (Seix Barral, 2011, p.150) In New York, while Leduc looks when leaving for Mexico, Leonora wow you with their dishes, "invites eat Breton and Marcel Duchamp and serves a rabbit stuffed with oysters." (Seix Barral, 2011, p. 269) In Mexico, metates and mortars gun and learn how to make tortillas and mole. When Maurie visit her mother, Leonora amazed with introducing new foods into your meals: breakfast papaya, oranges and eggs a la mexicana . On these Maurie says: -I had never tasted such a delight. Start the day with a Mexican breakfast is a godsend . (Seix Barral, 2011, p. 360) And so true is that reading has moved me to prepare huevos rancheros. Here I leave you with the list of ingredients to achieve so heavenly gift. Do you encourage?

Huevos, de surrealistas a rancheros

Anduve casi una semana perdida entre las fantasías de un libro; el corazón en vilo siguiendo la historia de una vida, una pasión, una obra.
Estuve leyendo Leonora, la más reciente producción de Elena Poniatowska , que obtuvo el Premio Biblioteca Breve 2011 otorgado por Seix Barral. Una vez más la escritora mexicana investiga y escribe sobre una mujer, y mezcla la biografía junto con la ficción para regalar a sus lectores un gran libro.
Leonora (Poniatowska, E. 2011, Seix Barral ) es una recreación de la historia de la pintora del grupo de los surrealistas, Leonora Carrington (1917-2011), quien desde muy joven huyó de la seguridad y riqueza de su familia en Inglaterra para perseguir el sueño de pintar sus extravagantes visiones.
Poniatowska logra adentrarse en la mente exaltada de la niña que choca de continuo con todas las normas de conducta de la familia, la escuela y de su clase social. Desde el inicio mismo del libro, Leonora declara estar escribiendo su manual de desobediencia y pone de manifiesto su personalidad fuerte y su rebeldía incurable.
A lo largo de la obra acompañamos a la joven Leonora por Londres, Italia, París, donde se reúne con el grupo más selecto de artistas de la época: Max Ernst (quien fue su amante por varios años), Breton, Duchamp, Dalí, Picasso, Tanguy, Miró y otros muchos. Leonora, pinta pero también escribe. Su belleza, inteligencia y carácter la convierten en un tesoro para el grupo.
La guerra la separa de Max, quien estuvo prisionero en un campo en Francia; Leonora enloquece y va a dar en su huída a España, donde la internan en un manicomio de Santander. Un tiempo después, en Lisboa, se encuentra con el poeta y periodista Renato Leduc y se une a él en matrimonio, escapando hacia México, país que generosamente dio refugio a muchos artistas e intelectuales que huían de la guerra, el encierro o una muerte segura.
La inglesa se queda en México, donde se rencuentra con viejos amigos de París, como la española Remedios Varo. Allí, a pesar de las diferencias culturales, crea su obra y echa raíces. Separada luego de Renato, tuvo dos hijos del matrimonio con el fotógrafo húngaro Imre Weisz (Chiki, en México) y se dedicó a ellos y a su obra con renovado fervor.
En su casa de México la visitó varias veces Poniatowska para conversar y dar vida a su libro. Ninguna de las dos sabía entonces que, muy poco tiempo después de la publicación de éste en febrero del 2011, moriría Leonora (en mayo de este mismo año) “la última de las surrealistas”. A su muerte deja una obra pictórica, literaria y escultórica impresionante.