Local Lords

The papal transfer to Avignon continued until the end of the 1400's and there proliferated throughout the regions the Lords and the works of the most prestigious Umbrian families.
And with the Lords there also flourished the gentlemanly customs marked with entertainments and splendid convivial customs testified to by the Saporetto, a work in verse by Simone Prudenziani, citizen of Orvieto who had some part in the public life of the city between 1387 and 1440. Some of his sonnets give us a precise documentation of individual dishes – vegetable soup, domesticated meats and wild game, sweet or aromatic jams, preserves and wines of various qualities - and the order of the courses.
Here he speaks for example of the spognosa, which is the spongata (a froth of sugar), of marsapan (a cake of marzipan); of fasciani (pheasants), of ventricchi (entrails), of petroselli (parsley); of tortelli pasta in sentella, of bramanger, blancmange of which we give the oldest recipe for cooking with this sauce - chicken breasts (or in Quaresima with fish fillets). The blancmange is obtained by grinding rice, pressing through a sieve and leaving it then to boil with goat or sheep's milk: in this sauce the chicken breast is immersed (or the fish fillet) adding a layer of sugar and fried lard, after leaving it all to boil slowly; before serving it is sprinkled again with other sugar and fried lard, sometimes also with fried almonds in the lard and white ginger finely chopped. But Prudenziani spaces his verses with a large quantity of food that demonstrates the richness of this gentlemanly cooking of this century and not without some strangeness, as he suggest to offer, for example, wings and feet of birds in salad; hares and roe deer he advises in a sauce dolceforte and the loin of pork pickled in salt (sommata).
Another written testimony is that of Franco Sacchetti who in his novel one hundred and sixty nine affirms that the Perugians were famous for being "magnalasche", which are those who are greedy for the exquisite fried roaches or of lattarino coming from the fishing of lake Trasimeno.
In this century flourished also the tradition of confectionery: let us remember the exquisite «finocchiate perugine» of sugar and pine kernels, the «ossi di morto» (or stinchetti), the «ciaramicola», a paste made with alchermes liqueur and sprinkled with small sugar-coated almonds, the «fave dolci», the «torciglione» of almond paste in the form of a serpent, the «torcolo» made with aniseed and candied peel, the «brustengolo» a type of rough polenta with sliced apples, pine kernels, nuts, lemon peel and sugar. Many of these cakes can still be found today.
Besides many delicacies there were, naturally, the cooking of the ordinary population, of those who lived a long way away from the courts and ate very simply on vegetables, omelettes, pulses, pearl barley and barley, foods that are still present in a great variety of different preparations in the culinary art of Umbria forming a daily part of our food today, a food simple, tasty, well prepared and imaginative.