The secret chef of Popes, translated loosely into English as Opera of Scappi. Bartolomeo Scappi. This could easily be my favorite book of all time. This is the full expression of the Italian renaissance in the kitchen. It is masterful. It was what taught the French how to cook (I discovered, recently, a personal copy that Catherine dei Medici owned, bound in white leather). The translation is not great but it could be used as a guide to the original, and the original is full of ambition and verve and genius.