Dining with Dukes and Popes: a Competition to Re-read Old Cookbooks and Books About Food

The Central Institute for the Union Catalogue of the Italian Libraries, as a partner of Europeana Food and Drink project, in cooperation with the Alessandrina University Library of Rome and Wikimedia Italia, established a special category dedicated to food for the 3rd re-reading contest of the project Wikisource, that started on November 23 and that will end on December 8, 2015.

The Contest

Wikimedia Italy organises every year a contest to celebrate Wikisource’s anniversary (the project was born on November 24, 2003), aiming at proof-reading and making machine-readable versions of digitized texts, selected for the occasion by the Italian-speaking project community. Wikisource is an online digital library of free content textual sources on a wiki, that now counts more than 700,000 texts in more than 60 languages. This year, however, ICCU, Alessandrina Library and Wikimedia Italia agreed to expand the selection to three 16th-17th century books from the “Fondo Urbinate” of the Alessandrina Library, linked to the culture of eating and drinking. These three books, through ICCU and the portal Internet Culturale, will also be available online on Europeana Food and Drink, among many other books from the very same “Fondo”.


The Books

The first book is the Epulario, written by Giovanni Rosselli, chef at the service of the condottiero Giampaolo Baglioni and Pope Paul III. The book, published for the first time in Venice in 1516, received immediately a great success. Rosselli was inspired by the recipes given to the famous Maestro Martino, an Italian chef who lived in the 15th century.

The second book is Il rimedio infallibile che conserva le quarantine d’anni il vino, by Giovanni Antonio Fineo, a 16th-century Italian writer. The book, published for the first time in 1593, illustrates the techniques of the time to preserve wine, advising in particular to use terracotta pots with a glassed interior, in place of the more common barrels.

The third and last book is the Trattato della neve e del bere fresco, a 1574 Italian translation by Giovan Battista Scarampo of a section dedicated to keep drinks cool of the Historia Medicinal, written by Spanish physician Nicolas Monardes. At the moment, the re-reading of the Trattato has already been completed on November 29 (less than a week!) and can be consulted on Italian Wikisource in its text-only version and in its parallel text version.

The Prizes and the Winners

As every contest requires, there is a jackpot at stake: Wikimedia Italia offers three prizes for the main contest and the special “Europeana Food and Drink” contest, that consist in three vouchers (of respectively 50, 30, and 20 euro) that can be used in online book-stores at the option of the winner.

Last Friday, during the celebration for Wikipedia’s 15th anniversary, the Italian Wikisource Community has announced the winners for both categories:
For the special category related to our project, the first prize goes to user Xavier121, for having proof-read the most pages (52, for a grand total of 146 points). For the other two prizes, there has been a draw among all participants that proof-read at least one page, and users Robybulga (26 proof-read pages) and Elkelon (28 proof-read pages) have been awarded respectively the second and third prize.

The full results are available at https://it.wikisource.org/wiki/Wikisource:Dodicesimo_compleanno_di_Wikisource/Scrutini

by Luca Martinelli and Elisa Sciotti (ICCU), with contributions from Saveria Rito (Alessandrina Library)