It is estimated by experts in the life and work of Italian Leonardo Da Vinci, that only a third of his drawings and texts have survived to the present. In addition to inventing war machines or kitchen devices, many of us wished that Leonardo had designed a hive or a beekeeping manual. Maybe he did, such was his curiosity, but unfortunately has not reached us this information. What if someday appears a new manuscript of this genius and revolutionize the world of beekeeping?
What has come to us from their «artifacts» are several dryers-napkins machines, one driven by bees. Leonardo had to «invent something» to solve the dirt from the cloth of his master, Ludovico Sforza, and there was no better idea that to take a cloth or napkin and give to each of the guests, in order to clean their hands and knives and leave the table more or less clean.
But where Leonardo had its greatest relationship with bees and honey, was in the kitchen, job that he learned at the tavern «The Three Snails» and then as head of banquets at the court of Ludovico Sforza. We read that did not succeed in his kitchen. Too advanced for his time?
The Codex Romanoff is a collection of writings attributed to Leonardo, and where all this gastronomic information appears. Between 1481-1500, when Leonardo wrote his notes, the preferred sweetener was honey and not the sugar. Wine was almost always mixed with water or honey, or even with both.
Starts with tortilla for donkeys: «you will take all eggs in bad conditions and open them in a bowl, beat them with a little rancid honey and give it to your asses with herbs to take in the morning». Another new culinary advice, «stuffed dormouse». He filled the dormouse with pepper, nuts and sprouts cabbage, sewn, covered with honey and poppy seeds and heated over a fire.
And now his recipe for «cake Bee». Take 14 frogs, which should be stewed within a bladder pork during some hours. Then the frog legs should be boned and cut into small pieces. The previous ingredients are mixed with sweet woodruff, honey and all parts of an egg and finally the paste is molded in the form of bee. In another recipe called «frog soup» he also proposes to smear with honey the bodies of frogs, In the recipe » lamb testicles honey and cream» he uses honey in the sauce.
Da Vinci also gives us a few tips, useful to apply in life. Speaking about cress he says that it is very effective against insect bites such as bees or wasps. Writing about the medicinal properties of many herbs, proposes eating chopped thyme honey as remedy against colds. The coriander, mixed with honey and grape juice helps fight against vapors rising to head to people fond of drinking wine.¡ Very useful!
His biographers claim that was very greedy, using marzipan (crushed almonds, honey and egg) to perform some of his sculptures model. It was also given to jokes. Once he produced some animals with beeswax, which due to its lightness were able to fly, if he blew them.
And he didn´t forget to include bees in their written list of edible insects: crickets, bees and caterpillars. And he did not recommend eating spiders, earwigs or large flies.
Notes on the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci. Born in 1452 near Vinci, Republic of Florence. At 10 years is sent by his father to the Florentine workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, respected artist. In 1481 he moved to Milan to work under the protection of Duke Ludovico Sforza. 1513, lives and works in Rome for the Vatican. 1516, he moved to France, working for King Francis I. He died in 1519 in Amboise (France) with 67 years. He was a painter, musician, scientist, inventor and engineer.
Starting in 1450, there was a flourishing of the arts, culture and science, period known as the Renaissance. New thoughts related to religion, with amazing scientific advances and the rediscovery of the ideas of ancient Greece and Rome contributed to this «Renaissance».
Interested by all branches of knowledge and all aspects of life, the notes left by Leonardo (written from right to left and dotted with drawings) contains forays into other artistic fields such as music, literature, cooking, or zoology with special attention to mechanisms flight of insects and birds.
To learn more about the cuisine of Leonardo Da Vinci:
– Kitchen notes from Leonardo Da Vinci. The unknown hobby of genius. Shelagh and Jonathan Routh.