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  • Writer's pictureCláudio Giordano

Pedro Mexia, 16th century bestseller

Pedro Mexia (1497-1551) was a Spanish humanist of great learning, writer, columnist and historian. He corresponded with luminaries of his time (Erasmus of Rotterdam among them) and Montaigne read it in French translation. Silva de Varia Lección, kind of encyclopedia, had 17 editions in the years in which it appeared (1540-1543), being soon translated into Italian (1542), French (1552) and English (1571); seventy other languages also knew it. Their dialogues were equally appreciated.

In two of these dialogues (Los Dos Coloquios del Invitation, 1547) it deals with gastronomy, discussing in the first about the banquets and in the second about the different foods.

Wine appears only incidentally in the dialogues. He says, for example, that "we mix water with wine so that it is composed and more profitable" and "everyone knows that two blended wines cause drunkenness much faster than each separately." He advises: “Among the things that you must flee the most is to drink wine in disorder; if you are at a banquet where drinking is inevitable, you must leave it before you are overcome by wine. ”

Interestingly enough, we translate his considerations about the pig from the Colloquium Segundo del Invitation (Second Dialogue on the Banquet), 1767 edition.


Something better is the bacon: tell them it's wonderful. But you don't see how powerful and bower the head of the wild boar comes?


Beautiful indeed: but as I saw her coming, I looked around to see if there were any that took time; but blessed God, there is none here that has why.


So Mr. Don Bermudo tests his friends with pig heads, like a mule who passes through the ironworks.


She is the most tender and tasty that I saw in my whole life: I love that it is a big thing, that javalí or not javalí, nothing is made of pork that is not tasty, with being so many, that says Plinio that can be removed from the pig Fifty different flavors.

Maestro Velazquez

According to the things that are in it, and that is done from the foot to the ear, I do not doubt it: and I remember having read that Fifth Fifteen, Roman Captain, the Greeks being very fearful that the Antiochus King came with great army of foot and cavallo, and various orders of soldiers, made a speech, in which he told them not to fear the people of Antiochus; because his ex-army was like a dinner that he had given him a guest in Caledonia, which had been of many potajes and flavors, and that looked like various animals and meats; and that everything was from a fat and tame pig that I had: and that was how the people of Antiochus were, all Asians, although of various orders and weapons.


So it happens, and the example was not bad but I say that it alludes to the taste and taste is not the pork meat as badly healthy as they commonly think; because I remember that Galen and Averroiz praised her very much, and they prefer her to the other meats: so that for all reasons we can consider the Jews foolish, because they don't eat her.

Maestro Velazquez

The Jews, when they were obliged (before Christo suffered) to keep Moysen's Law, did not err in not eating it, because it was forbidden by precept; and agora it is heresy not to eat it for cerimonia and to believe that it is true; but he who does not eat it because he does not take it on his stomach, does not sin in it: it is true that the Jews were so tenacious, unmarried and external things of the Law, that they would kill a man who ate from a pig; and so they were noticed by the world of this: and when King Herod killed the innocent, among whom a son of his, as Macrobio tells, said the Octavian Emperor for him: that in Herod's house it was safer to be a pig than a son.


By God I said sharply. But until now it seems to me that the disgust that some have of the pig lasts; because I know of a man from my Parish, who boasts of donation, who came to ask his house for a borrowed pot, and had it given, and said to the one who carried it: Do you know how much you are doing? Do not put bacon in that pot if not, I swear to God to break it in your head.


But do not you see what things this head brought? I will say that it is from the Trojan pig that the ancients gave.


Cavallo Trojan I have heard; But I don't pig.


For you have to know that in imitation of the Trojan horse, which was full of men, in two messy treats of the Romans they gave a whole pig stuffed with birds in various ways, with great spices and dressing; and that's why they called him a Trojan pig. And Pliny says that the first one who gave whole pork was P. Servilio, and that Marco Apicio fattened them with past figs, and when he wanted to kill them he gave them clarea or aloxa.

Don Bermudo

I give you my faith that the whole pig would be a beautiful thing, and that it would not be bad to treat the fattening of figs: and it seems to me that of the pig to what we have seen, of giving whole borrico in banquet.

Don Antonino

That's right: and I am sure that this was only done by vanity and ostentation, and not by taste or taste; as they did other things that look amazing, that yesterday some were treated, such as Vitellius casseroles, and cakes as big as ovens, and other things of bestiality.


Such was she by the way; and something better are these that we eat, although smaller: and if the Master gives license, I want to send one to my wife.

Maestro Velazquez

For that, it is not necessary to leave the President's license, because it is a lawful and formerly used thing to embroider dishes to various parties: and of King Cyrus, Xenophon writes, that to the others they honored and prized much, he embeded from his table what matched him.

*This text was translated by Google Translate.

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