Leonardo da Vinci’s… cookbook?

How do we evaluate art? Does it matter whose song or painting it is? If it’s from an unknown, do you like it? No? Would it be different if you were told the work belonged to John Lennon or J.K. Rowling? Have you ever experimented with presenting an idea or piece of your own work and attributing it to a famous or historical figure? Not exactly plagiarism, of course, but it is interesting to see how reactions change if our audience considers whether something belongs to someone famous or not.

It is considered a good coexistence guideline not to set fire to a companion during a meal

Something like this happened with Leonardo’s Kitchen NoteBooks, which holds descriptions of fantastical objects such as a gramophone for fileting meat or a watchtower turned into a pepper mill. There are also some interesting tips, for example, where to seat a murderer at the table, as well as behavioral guidelines to support a peaceful coexistence among dinner guests by not setting them fire during a meal.

Photo: lagallofa

The reality is that the book was published on April Fool’s Day with the best of intentions, to amuse its readers with pure parody. Could it be that people take things too seriously nowadays? And there are those who have taken this book quite seriously, even though the foreword does mention that it is satire.

Leonardo da Vinci was probably the man who made the most incursions in the history of mankind in the most disciplines

Kitchen NotesBooks was created by historian couple Shelagh and Jonathan Routh, who, to give it all the necessary formality, baptized it as the Codex Romanoff, in the way in which Leonardo’s writings are usually cataloged. It is even funnier this way, since the Florentine genius was dedicated to thousands of pursuits, cooking among them, being perhaps the most famous historical figure to have dabbled in more disciplines than any other. As he wrote in his manuscripts: “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”

Photo: flico.es

So if you want to challenge the incredulity of an overly serious friend or two or just have a bit of fun with this witty “impostor” book, Leonardo’s KitchenNotes is within reach!

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