Which Pope knew how to throw a party?
October 7, 2010 6:50 PM   Subscribe

Help me find this half-remembered anecdote from what I think was a collection of famous chefs or food writers discussing their ideal meals?

If it's just some old article of Steingarten, I'm going to smack myself, but I just can't find where this came from. Can't remember if it was something written in the past couple of decades or something more turn-of-the-century (but for some reason I think it was the latter, or earlier). It may have been an article, but I believe it was a book, Physiology of Taste-like but not that work, and I vaguely remember reading it online at least ten years ago. So helpful, I know, sorry. As for the useful information: male writer, who in the paragraphs of interest was describing his ideal meal by waxing rhapsodic about a banquet/"afternoon snack" held by some Renaissance Pope as a small part of the wedding celebration of his niece, involving dozens of elaborate courses and staggering expense. I don't think the larger work was a cookbook, but possibly a chef's (or collection of chefs) memoirs, or those of a gentleman of leisure. Any bells?
posted by grar to Writing & Language (5 answers total)
A book that sounds like what you describe would be My Last Supper, but that was published about 3 years ago.
posted by milkrate at 7:07 PM on October 7, 2010

The Supper of the Lamb, by Robert Farrar Capon?
posted by fivesavagepalms at 8:33 AM on October 8, 2010

milkrate: definitely did read it more than three years ago, but will look through that in case I'm remembering something that one of the contributors recycled.

fivesavagepalms: will have to go digging for my copy of that... I really didn't think it was from there, but will check!

Thanks to you both.
posted by grar at 6:39 AM on October 9, 2010

The occasion sounds like the banquet organised by pope Alexander VI for his daughter Lucrezia's marriage to Giovanni Sforza: "After Rodrigo became Pope Alexander VI in 1492, he married off Lucrezia, thirteen, to Giovanni Sforza, thus establishing an alliance with that powerful Milanese family. The marriage was by proxy, and for four months after her marriage, until the arrival of her new husband in Rome, Lucrezia lived in a handsome palace next to the Vatican with the Pope's new mistress, Guilia Farnese. (Guilia's husband was conveniently away in the Pope's service.) The house was next to the Vatican palace. A formal wedding ceremony was held shortly after Sforza's arrival, with 500 ladies attending the bride, led by the Pope's mistress. A sumptuous wedding banquet was held, with a work by the ancient Roman playwright Plautus performed, a comedy about libertines, mistresses, and pimps. It was a scandalous event, but typical of many Renaissance celebrations." (Source, though the same bit of text appears on different websites.) No idea who the writer might be, though.
posted by rjs at 10:49 AM on October 9, 2010

You know, that probably is it. I had dismissed Lucrezia, thinking it was a slightly earlier date, but that looks very probable. Thank you!
posted by grar at 5:11 PM on October 21, 2010

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