Podcast Episode 9: The first ‘Italian’ cookbook

In this episode I talk about Pellegrino Artusi who wrote the first ‘Italian’ cookbook, a huge cultural and culinary influence in Italy.

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Show notes

If you have any questions about this episode, please write them in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as possible. As always, if you enjoyed the episode, please share it with someone else you think might enjoy it. If you have a moment, please rate and/or write a review for this episode on iTunes. This will help other people to find and enjoy the podcast. Thank you so much for your continued support of Luca’s Italy and for all the wonderful feedback I’ve received so far. If you’d like to help me create and develop this podcast and receive exclusive bonus material and updates, please consider becoming a patron. Full details are on my Patreon site. Grazie mille!

The episode includes:

  • Brigands in nineteenth century Italy
  • The brigand Stefano Pelloni, aka Il Passatore
  • Il Passatore a Forlimpopoli
  • How Pellegrino Artusi ended up in Florence
  • Artusi’s interests
  • How Artusi decided to write his cookbook
  • Reasons for the cookbook’s success
  • Why the cookbook could be called the first ‘Italian’ cookbook
  • Extracts from the book


Il Passatore a Forlimpopoli, full poem (in Italian).

Brigands in Italy.

History of Italian Unification.

Ugo Foscolo.

Giuseppe Giusti.

The Casa Artusi foundation.

Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene full text, in Italian (pdf).

Other articles by me about Pellegrino Artusi including some recipes.

4 thoughts on “Podcast Episode 9: The first ‘Italian’ cookbook”

  1. Luca is a StoryTeller reminding me of the ancient style of the Greeks. He loves the culture and the Italian cuisine and the stars of his stories. The latest podcast on the origin of the Italian cookbook Is part history, part adoration and all about his love of the subject. Bravo, Luca and Grazie.

  2. Thank you so so much for this podcast. As I sit here in Malta waiting for the results of a Covid test (mild symptons, fingers crossed) you took me back to my friends’ home in San Pietro in Casale not far from Bologna. Like many homes, they have a copy of La Scienza in Cucina. I had created an English lesson called, “The Mystery of Spaghetti Bolognese” which talked about something that made my students want to express their opinions (of course). Even though I’d heard of Artusi’s book and his thoughts on Ragù alla Bolognese (no tomato!) I could only find versions of his recipe on the internet. Using the book, I was able to incorporate his version into the lesson — which elicited more opinions on what should be in a ragù etc. On the day that I gave the lesson to a group of teenagers, one of them had actually had ragù alla bolognese for lunch. Your podcast brought back so many lovely memories, I miss my friends, my students and Bologna. Grazie ancora.

  3. I agree with Frank, (commenting above)….you are a great storyteller Luca! The range of topics you are covering is diverse and interesting…..the history of Italian food traditions and books is fascinating to me and many others I am sure…….. I hope you are getting lots more listeners each week!! Lucy

  4. Loved this latest podcast! I found a copy of this book dating back to the fifties in my later mother’s collection of cook books. Thanks to Luca , I know appreciate the book even more. These podcasts are so entertaining and informative and it is a treat to have Luca share his extensive knowledge of Italian culture each week. Thank you.

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