What's a little systemic child abuse and closet Nazism when we can talk about the current Pontiff's childhood eating habits. Eat Like A Pope, released last month from Italian publisher De Agostini Group, documents the dishes eaten by Pope Benedict XVI, born Joseph Ratzinger, during his pre-wartime childhood in Bavaria. It is not, as you might imagine, spa food, but hearty, artery-clogging fare. Stuffed pigeon with butter, cream and sherry. Soup with liver and onion dumplings. Hare cooked in lard and red wine. Biscuits loaded with butter, baked by local Franciscan nuns. (Actually most of those sound pretty marvelous.) The book has already gone into a second edition.
According to The Guardian, the book was assembled with the help of a Bavarian neighbor who "regularly swapped recipes with Maria, Ratzinger's mother, the daughter of a baker who met the future pope's father after he put out a small advert seeking a bride in 1920." The senior Ratzinger, a policeman, had made it clear that whomever applied should be an "expert cook," which apparently Maria was, given the litany of recipes that the future Pope enjoyed. Be sure to check back in a few weeks, as we've just emailed Italy with a request for a review copy of the book and thus look forward to a bit of completely non-denominational recipe testing.