History of Parma Cuisine
Footnotes to Parmesan Gastronomy
"Anolini of Don Ferdinando of Bourbon"
Things changed and Parma cuisine definitely took the upper hand when Don Ferdinando, born in Parma of Don Filippo and Luisa Elisabetta, ascended the throne.
The new Duke spoke Parma dialect, knew his subjects almost on an individual basis and held audiences with everyone, without distinction. He married Marie Amelia of Austria, the sister of Marie Antoinette of France and Marie Caroline of Naples (the famous "three Marys") very German in their behavior and arrogant ways. Marie Amelia was not interested in cooking, only officers and horses, and so Don Ferdinando had to worry about "whether we eat lean or fat" as he wrote in one of his letters and "if the cook was sent for the food at Sala", the country residence preferred by the Duchess and where great economy was requested.
Don Ferdinando loved Parma cooking. He dined in the homes of noblemen as well as those of his ministers, and he was very involved in two famous dinners given around Carneval by the two "in house" ministers from France and Spain in which the wife of the Spanish ambassador served 32 dishes, beating by two lengths the wife of the French ambassador.
But from the memoirs and documents kept in Parma parish records, we also learn that Don Ferdinando made a habit of going to country rectories on feast days and shared with the priests their anolini and stuffed capon, for which the recipe in verse composed by Abb. Innocenzo Frugoni is perhaps the most poetic of all those that exist:
Instructions for a stuffing
Butter, bread, grated cheese,
Fresh eggs or pretty woman,
A pinch of ground cinnamon;
Make sure to mix it well,
And go easy on the salt:
That's the Recipe for a Stuffing.
Now it's time for the Cook
To roast it as he should;
Everything that is pleasurable
Is aged and ruined by fire;
Too little heat or too much is harmful:
But the same is also true in love
From C.I. Frugoni, Opere poetiche. Parma, Stamperia Reale, 1779, T. IX, p 5.
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