Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Food Fit For Francis I

Pope Francis is here in the States  and many are probably wondering what does he eat. What's his culinary background? He comes from a good one, His parents and grandparents are from Piedmonte  and Genoa,Italy so there's excellent meals on that side and a bevy of good Argentinian dishes that he also grew up  eating. It makes for a rich and  flavorful food history.

Pope Frances I was born Jorge Mario  Borgoglio in Flores , a barrio or neighborhood of Buenos Aires. His mother's family was Piedmontese and Genovese, probably coming over during the crossover immigration of the late 1800's His father 's family left in the early 1930's.He surely had to grow up on bagna calda , made with good Argentinian beef . This really is pure heaven, a dipping sauce made with anchovies, garlic butter and oil is heated in a fondue pot. Beef  and various veggies such as Savoy cabbage  is dipped into it and cooked. Its' usually served in the winter months and for New Year's Every Piedmontese kid grows up on polenta   and it 's usually made a variety of ways, from cooked with eggs sunny side up to chicken and mushroom gravy, cacciatore style.Risotto or risott (as my family on both sides of the Atlantic call it )is another kitchen must. have. We make ours with tomato  and porcini mushrooms.. How do the Piedmontese end their meals? With the ethereal eggy custard  sabayon. This is a  simple mix of egg yolks , Marsala and sugar cooked over a double boiler. The sweetness is cut with delicate espresso cups full of strong espresso laced liberally with grappa.

Pope Francis ' also grew up with Argentinian food . Since the country is known for its' beef asado or barbecue is popular and often made at family gatherings. Sausage or chorizo  is also served as is morcilla or blood sausage. Other animal parts  like chitterlings are also cooked and served with chimichurri,a take on the Piedmontese salsa verde, made with parsley ,garlic and olive oil along with white vinegar.(it 's big in Piedmonte , usually served with beef tongue).Noquis , the Argentinian version of gnocchi is also made as are fettucini and tagiatelle. Buenos Ayres  enjoys Argentine style pizza but it is baked with a layer of chickpea flour dough on top to create a version of pizza rustica a covered or smothered pie.Argentina also has the Mesopotamia section in its' northeast section of the country offers many different kinds of indigenous fish and papaya dishes.Pantagonia, the rugged southern part that's pointed towards Antarctica  features mutton and lamb along with both freshwater fish such as trout and seafood. Berries grow in abundance here, providing the country with strawberries, bilberries cherries and rosa mosqueta, or sweet briar The country is also responsible for the culinary phenomenon dulce de leche which is poured over cakes and even pancakes.

Pope Frances is a humble man with simple tastes. Yet one can't help but wonder what lush Piedmontese or Argentinian dish is his favorite. There is so much to choose from and hopefully he treats himself to one  of them from time to time.

No comments: