Continuing my wanderings along the delightful byways of Pellegrino Artusi’s famous classical Italian cook book, L’arte di mangiar bene, I came upon a solution as to why the Italian’s call their wonderful Tuscan-style roast pork dish arista. It would seem to make more sense to call it arrosto (r0ast) or even arrostito (roasted).
But Pellegrino tells us: “During the Council of 1430, convened in Florence to resolve some difference between the Roman and Greek churches, this dish, known by another name at the time, was served up to the [Greek] bishops and their entourage. When they found it was to their liking they began to cry ‘arista, arista’ (good, good).”
Actually, if the Byzantine bishops were speaking Greek, they would have said aristos, which means excellent or optimal (from which we get aristocracy, ‘the rule of the best.’) No matter, the Italians, thinking the Greeks were describing the dish itself, heard it as arista and continue to call it so to this day. There are those who question this story and say the Florentines called the dish arista well before the ecumenical council, but I like Pellegrino’s story better.
The Watermill’s Tuscan cook Mirella Musetti uses tender pork loin for this delicious dish and we serve it every week on our creative courses and we’ll also produce it – and tell you the secrets of its preparation — during our unique cookery week at the Watermill this Summer, called L’arte di mangiar bene, after Pellegrino’s famous cookbook.
L’arte di mangiar bene, the art of eating well, lies at the heart of the Italian lifestyle — and that’s just what you’ll enjoy on The Watermill’s first-ever cookery week. You’ll learn the secrets of healthy eating from Lois and The Watermill team, among them an Italian grandmother (Mirella, to the right), an organic farmer and our gardener’s wife! You’ll choose freshest local ingredients (we’ll pick many of them ourselves each day) and prepare them deliciously for the table.
We’ll visit markets, vegetable gardens, olive groves and vineyards. The Italians are the healthiest people in Europe and this is due not just the quality of the food, but to la bella vita italiana, the relaxed lifestyle which means taking time to talk to friends and to enjoy their company, not least in convivial meals around the dining table. You’ll be savouring all that, too.
Over the years Lois Breckon and The Watermill team have built a reputation for the quality of their food and we’re keen to share our secrets with you, from antipasti to dolci – and dozens of mouth-watering, freshly prepared, health-promoting dishes in between.
with Lois Breckon, Ingrid Fabbian and The Watermill team
To learn more about this delicious cookery course, please click here