Montaigne in one of his essays* mentions the high excellence Italian cookery had attained in his day. "I have entered into this Discourse upon the Occasion of an Italian I lately receiv'd into my Service, and who was Clerk of the Kitchen to the late Cardinal Caraffa till his Death. I put this Fellow upon an Account of his office: Where he fell to Discourse of this Palate-Science, with such a settled Countenance and Magisterial Gravity, as if he had been handling some profound Point of Divinity. He made a Learned Distinction of the several sorts of Appetites, of that of a Man before he begins to eat, and of those after the second and third Service: The Means simply to satisfy the first, and then to raise and acute the other two: The ordering of the Sauces, first in general, and then proceeded to the Qualities of the Ingredients, and their Effects: The Differences of Sallets, according to their seasons, which ought to be serv'd up hot, and which cold: The Manner of their Garnishment and Decoration, to render them yet more acceptable to the Eye after which he entered upon the Order of the whole Service, full of weighty and important Considerations."
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