The following citations are from the preface of a new edition to Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well (La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangiar bene, Vallardi, 2007), which picks up where the 1907 version, published by Salani, left off. What is surprising is how extraordinarily contemporary and current Artusi’s ideas are.
«Cooking is a little rascal, it will often lead to despair» as a consolation for those who thrown away a soufflé at least twenty times.
«…but it also gives pleasure» for those who experience immense pleasure when tasting a dish cooked to perfection.
«Don’t trust books that talk about this art: for the most part they are misleading or incomprehensible, especially the Italian ones; the French ones are not as bad… From one or another you’ll be able to glean some useful notion when you are already familiar with the art.»
For those who take themselves too seriously and those who, after having written one cookbook, feel as if they are candidates for the Nobel prize for literature.
To cook well all you need is «passion, a great deal of attention and the habit of being precise.» Passion and precision, two fundamental qualities for whoever wants to undertake the art of cooking.
«Always choose the finest ingredients, this will help you make a good impression.» This is the first commandment of those who are passionate about food, it’s the conditio sine qua non for the success of any dish.
«It’s good to keep in mind that publishers don’t often bother about whether the book is bad or good, useful or damaging; they are merely concerned with weather it can be sold easily, whether there’s a famous or well-known name on the front, because this is what they think will help it sell.»
For aspiring writers from all over the world, remember, this was already in 1907: what’s changed?
To conclude, the concept of fine dining according to Artusi: «I love what is beautiful and good, wherever it is found, and I am repulsed when I see, as it is often said, the ruination of God’s gifts. Amen.»
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