Pigafetta's Philippine Picnic

Pigafetta's Philippine Picnic

Regular price $40

"Pigafetta’s Philippine Picnic: Culinary Encounters During the First Circumnavigation, 1519-1522 by food historian Felice Prudente Sta. Maria narrates Ferdinand Magellan and his crew’s voyage in search of the Spice Islands, and the various foods they discovered and ate in the course of the expedition. This book also explains the rich history of pre-colonial food in the Philippines as described by Antonio Pigafetta in his diary." - Excerpts from the publisher's website.

"Pigafetta’s Philippine Picnic: Culinary Encounters During the First Circumnavigation, 1519-1522 is a retelling of Ferdinand Magellan’s famous exploration that discovered for Europeans a strait from the Atlantic Ocean to the then unknown Pacific Ocean. He sailed for the King of Spain whose orders were to plot a trade route sailing westward to Moluca, also called The Spiceries and source of clove, nutmeg, black pepper, long pepper, and cinnamon so costly that they had been making kingdoms fabulously rich for centuries.

Antonio Pigafetta from the Republic of Venice was an eye-witness.  Maybe he hungered for an adventure, perhaps like his countryman Marco Polo’s. He sailed on Magellan’s flagship that was accompanied by four vessels, and was one of only 18 men from the original crew totaling from 235 to 280 voyagers who returned to Spain via the South Seas and the Indian Ocean having encircled the world.

During the Renaissance sailors needed to find fresh food, water and firewood along their route because dried, salted, and pickled provisions had a limited edibility span. Canned goods and refrigeration had not yet been invented. My retelling is based on the Armada’s constant search to stem hunger as recorded by Pigafetta.

The book tells what foods were eaten by the voyagers in the Americas, Guam, central Philippines, Mindanao and islands of Southeast Asia. The narrative includes historical vignettes about the foods. It also describes common European cooking likely eaten by Magellan and Pigafetta. Cuisines of the Christian courts of Spain and Italy at the time are compared with what pagans like the khans and emperors ate at India and China. There may be no other tome telling the circumnavigation journey from a culinary perspective." - Felice Prudente Sta. Maria, author of Pigafetta’s Philippine Picnic


Publisher:  National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), 2021 
158 pages