This article examines the structure and content of what Jacques Revel called a new modèle alimentaire. It does so by reconstructing and analysing the dietary habits of the Roman Province of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, during the seventeenth century. This is made possible by a cluster of archival and printed documents here assembled and studied together for the first time: the financial accounts of the Collegio Romano, the Jesuits’ flagship educational institution, which give annual expenditures on different categories of food; the regulations of the Collegio regarding diet and the maintenance of health; the Levitico, which provided a day-by-day, month-by-month meal plan for the Roman Province, including recipe outlines and portion sizes; and the manuscript recipe collection of Francesco Gaudentio, lay Jesuit at the Collegio’s infirmary. These are integrated with other secondary research into the practices of Jesuits elsewhere in Italy, as well as those of other religious orders during the Counter-Reformation. The Jesuits initiated a new dietary style, in terms of both meal structure and content, that is recognisably “Italian” (at least at this privileged level). It corresponded to contemporary medical notions of how best to nourish the body and maintain its health, with the aim of allowing the Jesuits and those in their care to lead the kind of active, religious life the Society so encouraged.

The "Levitico", or how to feed a hundred Jesuits

David Gentilcore
2010-01-01

Abstract

This article examines the structure and content of what Jacques Revel called a new modèle alimentaire. It does so by reconstructing and analysing the dietary habits of the Roman Province of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, during the seventeenth century. This is made possible by a cluster of archival and printed documents here assembled and studied together for the first time: the financial accounts of the Collegio Romano, the Jesuits’ flagship educational institution, which give annual expenditures on different categories of food; the regulations of the Collegio regarding diet and the maintenance of health; the Levitico, which provided a day-by-day, month-by-month meal plan for the Roman Province, including recipe outlines and portion sizes; and the manuscript recipe collection of Francesco Gaudentio, lay Jesuit at the Collegio’s infirmary. These are integrated with other secondary research into the practices of Jesuits elsewhere in Italy, as well as those of other religious orders during the Counter-Reformation. The Jesuits initiated a new dietary style, in terms of both meal structure and content, that is recognisably “Italian” (at least at this privileged level). It corresponded to contemporary medical notions of how best to nourish the body and maintain its health, with the aim of allowing the Jesuits and those in their care to lead the kind of active, religious life the Society so encouraged.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3725931
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