Castelvetro takes us through the gardener's year, listing the fruit and vegetables as they come into season, with simple and elegant ways of preparing them. Practical instructions are interspersed with tender vignettes of his life in his native city of Modena. He writes of children learning to swim in the canals of the Brenta, strapped to huge dried pumpkins to keep them afloat; Venetian ladies ogling passers-by from behind screens of verdant beanstalks; sultry German wenches jealously hoarding their grape harvest; and his intimate chats with Scandinavian royalty about the best way to graft pear cuttings and discomfort the Pope. This edition is printed in two colours, has a graceful typography (using the Galliard typeface) and generous layout, and is equipped with a knowledgeable and informative introduction by the translator.
Gillian Riley has become England's chief interpreter of the history of Italian cooking. Her Oxford Companion to Italian Food (2008) has been widely praised, and her books about food in art have commanded much support.