The leader of the Catholic church changed hands yesterday. Amongst great fanfare, Jorge Mario Bergoglio exited the Vatican after a plume of white smoke rose from the chimney and was announced as Pope Francis I. He’s the first pope of modern times to come from Latin America; specifically he hails from Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He’s described as a humble man and a pope of the people, already declining to stand atop a podium when he first greeted his loyal Catholic followers. So then, can we assume the papal diet will also be a modest one? It appears so. According to Lanancion.com, Pope Francis enjoys a healthy diet, eating things like fresh fruit, skinless chicken, salads, and a glass of wine on occasion.
It may be a leaner and more frugal diet than many of his predecessors.
John Paul II was known to have a buttered roll with goat’s milk for breakfast and Polish meats with wine for lunch, noshing only on leftovers at dinner. For dessert he enjoyed a beloved Polish creme-style cake that became known as the Papal Cream Cake. The recently retired Pope Benedict XVI enjoyed a Bavarian style diet rich in fat, sugar, and cholesterol, as well as beers brewed in the style of his homeland by monks.
If Pope Francis indulges on foods of his homeland, we can expect a lot of Argentinean flavor to emigrate to The Vatican. The country is known to have some of the best beef in the world, and the dish is common at meal time. One traditional Argentinian meal is bife a caballo, a steak topped with egg.
Empanadas are another standard food, a pastry filled with meat and/or vegetables, or a meat pie. While a far cry from what is served in Argentina, our Chicken Pot Pie Empanadas and Green Chili Chicken Empanadas are good ways to try this at home.
Fresh melon, corn, potatoes, especially sweet or yams, are common in Argentina. According to Bon Appetit, Pope Francis likes a good espresso, as anyone living in Italy should, but Yerba Mate is an herb that is drank as a tea in his homeland. (Yerba Mate has also been adopted as a diet supplement in the US.) Pope Francis doesn’t sound like a frequent drinker, but when he imbibes like his papal legacy has, he may order a Malbec, a rich bodied red that hails from Argentina.
A collection of what 21 popes in history have eaten is shared at Bon Appetit and offers an interesting insight in to the dining room of these most holy men. Paul VI enjoyed scotch and soda as well as pasta at lunch and fruit at dinner. The first pope, St. Peter, enjoyed eating fish that he caught himself, similar to Pope Gregory XVI. Pope Pius IV liked fried frogs and was known to serve vast 24-course meals. Martin V served food based on class – spicy chicken soup for kings and leek soup for low-level clergy. And Pope Gelasius I accidentally invented the crepe when he served “simple pancakes” to French pilgrims.
It sounds like simpler meal times are in store for what we see as being a simple pope.
image via guardian.uk.co
March 14th, 2013