How do you become a celebrity chef in the 1500s? You cook for the pope. 

June 30, 2014

Getting a chef to pick a favorite cookbook is like asking a parent to choose her most-loved child. But F&W pressed great cooks around the country to reveal their top picks of all-time.

The Chef: Tyler Florence

The Book: The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi, 1570; translated by Terence Sully

“Scappi was arguably the world’s first celebrity chef,” Florence says. “He cooked for the pope, and wrote this book, with small drawings of bizarre kitchen tools, and recipes for strange things like dormice. Seriously: They would keep mice in small cages and feed them figs soaked in wine, then roast them or fry them whole. It’s just bizarre! But it’s also beautiful. It shows you we do have a pretty antiseptic idea these days of what’s edible and what’s not edible.”

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The British Joy of Cooking

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