7 MAY 2019: 12TH INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ITALIAN CUISINES A VEGETARIAN DISH (CHICKPEA SOUP) TO CELEBRATE THE “CHEF” LEONARDO DA VINCI
The 12th edition of the IDIC – International Day of Italian Cuisines will be exceptionally celebrated on May 7, 2019, as a tribute to Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519), in the 500th anniversary of his death.
The master of the Italian Renaissance, one of the world’s greatest painters, the extraordinary inventor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, anatomist, geologist, astronomer, botanic, writer, historian and cartographer, was also a chef, a restaurateur and held innovative views on gastronomy.
CHICKPEA SOUP (ZUPPA DI CECI): THE IDIC 2019 OFFICIAL DISH
This dish was most likely among the favourite meals of Leonardo. Chefs and restaurants participating to the IDIC all around the world, on May 7 2019, will put the dish in their menu and cook it according to the recipe of “Brodo de cicero” (Chickpea broth) by Maestro Martino da Como (c.1430-c.1500), the celebrity chef of Leonardo’s time (see the recipe below).
TO PARTICIPATE WITH YOUR RESTAURANT SEND AN EMAIL TO ROSANA.MILIVINTI@THE-I-FACTOR.COM
WHY THIS RECIPE?
Because, although he had been a cook and a restaurateur, Leonardo didn’t leave any written recipes. In his notes there were recurrent mentions of ingredients that were very much those appearing in the only cookbook in his possession: De honesta voluptate et valetudine – On honest indulgence and good health by Bartolomeo Sacchi, aka Platina. This book however was nothing less than the translation in Latin of the recipes written in Vulgar Latin (the Italian spoken by common people) by Maestro Martino da Como in his De Arte Coquinaria (c.1465). Platina added only 10 original recipes to the 240 authored by Martino and added his notes to all of them. The two were friends and there were no issues of plagiarism since most likely they even created some of the recipes together
It’s important to highlight that the IDIC 2019 official recipe was part of some of the first cookbooks printed in Italy (Platina’s one was the first in Venice 1477), which have been the basis for the Italian cuisine of the Renaissance and afterword. In addition, besides is was a dish very usual in the houses of not rich Italians at that time, the chickpea soup is a vegetarian (in fact vegan) dish.
WHY A VEGETARIAN DISH FOR A TRIBUTE TO LEONARDO?
Some of the biographers of Leonardo as the French historian Eugene Muntz were firmly convinced that Leonardo was a vegetarian. Actually, according to Muntz, he forestalled the modern vegetarianism by several centuries. With all the due respect to Muntz, it’s proven that Leonardo was not a vegetarian during all his life. Just think of the many inventions he made related to the cooking of meat, including spits to roast it and artefacts to smoke it. Possibly Leonardo became fully vegetarian in the last part of his life but at all time he was “tolerant” with not vegetarians (he had no alternatives being involved in the supervision of banquets).
There are a number of quotes attributed to Leonardo in regards to his vegetarian faith. Apparently his manifesto was included in these words: “Now does not nature produce enough simple (vegetarian) food for you to satisfy yourself? And if you are not content with such, can you not by the mixture of them make infinite compounds, as Platina describes and other writers?”
A definitive evidence that that Leonardo was a vegetarian there is a letter by a Florentine explorer, Andrea Corsali (1487 -?), to Giuliano de’ Medici, from Cochin in India, in the early years of the 16th century. In his correspondence Corsali describes the Gujarati people and writes that they: “do not feed on anything that has blood, nor will they allow to hurt any living thing, like our Leonardo Da Vinci; they live on rice, milk and other unanimated food”.
Leonardo was very brave in holding his vegetarian views. According to many historians that could have cost him his life. The Catholic Church teachings were that God had given the humankind the dominion over all the animal kingdom. So, in Leonardo’s time, it was a blasphemy to refrain from eating flesh. For the Church, vegetarian food was the “devil’s banquet” and vegetarians in theory could even been burnt as heretics.
So, the innocent, simple – Leonardo was the Master of simplicity – the Chickpea Soup represents also the revolutionary spirit of the Great Inventor.
ZUPPA DI CECI (BRODO DE CICERI ROSCI)
by Maestro Martino da Como
200 g chickpeas (recommended)
1 tablespoon of flour 00
1 litre of water (not salted)
2 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon in powder
Soak the chickpeas overnight in plenty of water.
Mix in a bowl flour, extra-virgin olive oil, pepper and cinnamon powder.
Add the chickpeas and mix with the hands, put in a pot.
Cover with the water. Bring to boil. Add the herbs. Reduce the heat.
Cook for 2 hours.
Cooking time may be longer with some varieties of chick peas
Add some more water if the chickpeas become too dry. Put the salt at the end
It’s a soup, it must maintain a liquid consistence. The word soup comes from the gothic word suppa, which was the slice of bread, on which the preparation was poured.
The IDIC International Day of Italian Cuisines was born 12 years ago out of the need to protect authentic traditional Italian dishes from counterfeiting all around the world. Carbonara, risotto alla Milanese, Tagliatelle al Ragu Bolognese, Tiramisu, Pesto alla Genovese, have been some of the dishes that thousands of chefs have cooked all around the world on the 17th of January of each year. In 2018 the IDIC was exceptionally celebrated on 19 March, the birth date of the late great chef Gualtiero Marchesi, who had passed away in 2017. His signature dish “Insieme armonico” was cooked by hundreds of chefs in over 70 countries.