#33 "The Tortellini at Midnight" - Conversation with Emiko Davies
Updated: Dec 4, 2021
Saturday, December 4, 2021
I was delighted to do this interview with my friend Emiko Davies, an award-winning Australian-Japanese food writer, photographer and cookbook author based in Italy. Recently named one of 50 powerful women in food by Italy’s leading newspaper, Corriere della Sera, Emiko has written four cookbooks: (Florentine: The True Cuisine of Florence (March 2016 and a new edition in November 2020), Acquacotta (March 2017), Tortellini at Midnight (March 2019) and Torta della Nonna (March 2021), published by Hardie Grant. We talked about her love of Italy, her work and her upcoming book on recipes and the history of Venetian cuisine, Cinnamon & Salt, out in April 2022! Emiko shared how much of her love of Italain cuisine is inspired by artists such as Pontormo, and how she tried making a favorite dish of the Medici queen, Catherine de' Medici, "cibreo."
Pontormo who kept an amazing food diary was a well known loner, lived a self-imposed quarantine life, as described by Vasari in his "Vite," "he never went to festivals or to any other places where people gathered together, so as not to be caught in the press; and he was solitary beyond all belief.”
But Pontormo can also be defined as the original foodblogger of the 16th century. In the last three years of his life (1554-56) he kept a very detailed diary of his struggles, recording every meal he had. Pontormo recorded his daily habits hoping to improve his health and be able to finish his work, the frescoes in San Lorenzo church in Florence.
I love how the food at the table got a bit more fancy (with at least two meat choices) when his favorite student Bronzino (simply "Bro" for the older artist) would come for a visit.
Head over the Emiko's wonderfully curated blog to read more about this and so many Renaissance concepts such as "bianco mangiare" and the "L’arte si fa a cena" – Art is Made at Dinner, a culinary competition of the 12 of the most important Mannerist artists of Firenze.