He is a real cook – as we learn it from a book published in 2018. Prior to his election as pope, the Holy Father loved to cook for his fellow priests quite regularly. The Pontiff’s rapport with the meals and cooking has been penned by journalist Roberto Alborghetti, the official biographer to Pope Francis. His book, “Eating with Pope Francis” has also been out in Hungarian.
In the footsteps of the ancestors
Not only a list of recipes from the Vatican Kitchen is handed over to the readers by the Italian journalist, but he also unfolds what food means to the Holy Father. Pope Francis’ grandparents run a restaurant near Asti, Piedmont region, Italy. His ancestors left the old continent in 1929 immigrating to Argentina.
The question automatically arises what Pope Francis’ favourite dish can be. The book unveils the secret: it is a traditional Piedmontese dish, Bagna Cauda, which is actually a dipping sauce, made from anchovies, olive oil, garlic and butter.
By the stove as a child
Pope Francis is an enthusiastic cook, and as a child he dreamed of becoming a butcher. He even received a degree in food chemistry. He learned cooking at quite an early age, he was the one who had to provide food for the family, since her ailing mother had to take care of his siblings. The Pontiff still likes to be around the kitchen. Photos show him studying the perfect preparation of the delicious Italian pastas from the cooks in the kitchen of his residence, the Saint Martha’s House.
Meal is a tool
The Holy Father takes meals and dishes as principal elements in building bridges between different cultures, not to mention their importance in networking. It happens quite often that the Pontiff eats together with the needy. Back in his years as the leader of the Argentine Catholic Church, he supported many programs aimed at feeding the most deprived during the economic crises in Argentina. Moreover, he has repeatedly urged to stop wasting food.
In a community
“Eating together is a symbolic act that clearly carries life-affirming religious signs and values. It shows and reveals the bond we have with the ones sitting next to us” – says the Pontiff in Roberto Alborghetti’s book.
The bread is a symbol
He was raised in a family where the honour of food was taken as an essential issue as from a very young age. Whenever a piece of bread happened to fall, they immediately picked it up and kissed it. “Bread is the symbol of God’s love for us, the God, who gives us food.” - Pope Francis recalled his childhood memory.