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Seriously, if the Pope were your invited guest.

The Pope is in town here in New York. If the Pope were your invited guest, what would you serve him for lunch or dinner in your home? I don't foresee the popemobile stopping by anytime soon, but I am curious to learn from CH'ers what *they* think the Pope would enjoy as his specially prepared meal.

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  1. OK- I will bite. I would focus on fresh and local. I would try to include all the major food groups: steamed, sauted, fried, and braised. I think he is Eastern Euro so the braise would be a paprika goulasch sort of thing, the steamed would be a potato or other dumpling, the fried would be onion rings ( just because). Ooops as a saute thin sliced beef with onions and mushrooms in plenty of butter with noodles or bread to sop up the juice.

    1. Gumbo, potato salad, french bread with butter.
      Bread pudding for dessert. Simple local fare.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Isabella

        He's probably love it....I'd start him of with a double shot of George T Stagg...He'd love that too....

      2. It's only fair. If it were lunch, a cold fried egg sandwich. If it were dinner, Mrs.Pauls fish stix, Kraft mac & cheese, and frozen broccoli. It's only fair.

        4 Replies
        1. re: yayadave

          According to his own specifications, Pope Benedict likes to eat simple, seasonal, not too elaborate a meal. So Dave you might not be too far off the mark, much as I hate to admit it. OTOH Lidia Bastianich planned the following menu for him:
          The Pope's Menu
          On Friday, the pope's dinner at Archbishop Migliore's Manhattan residence began with a simple salad of steamed spring vegetables tossed with an almond vinaigrette: fava beans, string beans, asparagus, and toasted almonds topped with a dollop of warm ricotta drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. Next, the pope and his 52 other guests dined upon Cacio Pepe e Pere, which is ravioli filled with pecorino cheese, and fresh pears served in a cheese and crushed black pepper sauce.

          "The menu also included a risotto, which Bastianich described as "simple and straightforward." It was served with nettles, favas, fresh peas, legumes, and wild onions, with grana padano cheese and extra virgin olive oil. Bastianich decided upon a whole grilled striped bass as the main course. "He loved the idea of fish," Bastianich said. She filleted the bass, seasoning it with coarse sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. The fish was served alongside boiled fingerling potatoes, and a chicory and endive salad with a little mustard vinaigrette. "

          If I were planning dinner for the Pope I'd probably serve:

          Antipasto w/several cheeses, meats, fish, roasted vegetables
          Olive and Fennel Crostini
          Pasta 'ncasciata
          Lamb Shanks on Polenta with a Parmesan Crust
          Braised "Bright Lights" Swiss Chard
          Mixed baby greens, Balsamic dressing
          Amaretto Semifreddo with Chocolate Sauce

          1. re: Gio

            The current pope isn't Eastern European (that was the last pope, JP2, a Pole): he is Bavarian. I like Bastianich's menu - I'd like it myself.

            Also remember that His Holiness is 81 years old, so overly heavy food would probably not be a good idea.

            Typically Germans go mad for Spargel (asparagus - in Germany it is the white kind but Benedict would also know the green kind from living in Italy), so that is a nice touch.

          2. re: yayadave

            Yayadave--that is seriously funny.

            1. re: yayadave

              yayadave, you're on my wavelength except I'd serve him what I eat for my own meals when I decide to get a little fancier than my usual brown rice and veggies - a Wildwood brand original veggie burger, with options for soy cheese and or soy bacon. And of course, pickles and potato salad and an avocado salad with my homemade maple mustard vinaigrette on the side. Condiments would include Vegenaise, Eden organic mustard, and Trader Joe's brand organic Ketchup. To drink: soymilk, or organic coffee or tea, or whatever beer was in house, probably Wolaver Brown, or Sam Smith, or a nice Belgian Abbey beer if he was lucky.

              Now this is not haute cuisine, but with the church's vow of poverty and all I think it might be insulting to offer a pope haute cuisine. Maybe he'd actually rather have the brown rice and veggies, come to think of it.

            2. Given the calendar jfood would have given the Pope a traditional Sedar:

              Gefilte fish
              Hard boiled egg
              potato and matzah kugels
              apple sauce
              sponge cake with strawberries

              5 Replies
              1. re: jfood

                And a couple of macaroons dipped in chocolate just to round out the Sedar! You're right, jfood, I'm sure he would have enjoyed your menu just as much as the sea bass.

                1. re: Catskillgirl

                  Well, actually that is a typical North American seder of Eastern European origin. I know German and Austrian Jews, and except for central symbolic or mandatory foods such as matza, their meal is rather different. See Claudia Roden's masterwork for more details, as well as the book (In, From?) Oma's Kitchen.

                  The Last Supper was a Seder, after all...

                  1. re: lagatta

                    What kinds of foods are you thinking of? I'm curious, because I grew up in an Austrian Jewish household and our Seder menu was fairly similar to the one jfood suggested. Traditional Passover food was my first thought, too.

                2. re: jfood

                  That's a typical Ashkenazi seder; the last pope (Benedict) might have liked it, especially as "Asheknaz" was a part of Germany.

                  On the other hand, the new pope (Francis) might prefer a Sephardi seder

                  1. re: plf515

                    He is a close friend of the leading Rabbi of Buenos Aires.

                    In Argentina Ashkenazi Jews are probably more numerous than Sephardim, but there is also an important Sephardic community. And the great Argentine poet Juan Gelman (of Ashkenazi origin) wrote beautiful lyrics in Ladino - close to Medieval Spanish, after all.

                    I think the conversation - including thoughtful silence - would be the most important part.

                3. My initial post was just to make a little joke about the meals a lot of people used to eat on Fridays. In reality, I am not such a cook that I would plan a meal for the Pope. But I have some questions. When a European Monarch comes visiting, why do we feel we have to serve European food? Are we Americans still feeling that we have nothing to offer? Why Lidia? Why not an American chef highlighting American food? Why not Maine lobster, Maryland crabcakes, Gulf shrimp, Angus beef, Copper River salmon, American artisanal cheeses and bread, California wine. The man is German. Why not some of the new American beers? How about beer can chicken or deep fried turkey and buttermilk biscuits?

                  Come to think about it, why not serve a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. There. I did just propose a meal plan.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: yayadave

                    Why Lidia? Maybe Rachel Ray was busy.

                    1. re: Emme

                      thats pretty funny.

                      lidias restuarant is right in my backyard. if shes good enough to cook for the pope, maybe i should give her food a try

                      1. re: Emme

                        In addition to being a superb chef, Lidia is a devout Catholic.

                        1. re: shindiganna

                          One of the recipes she used was posted in the NYT yesterday, btw.

                      2. re: yayadave

                        Your joke is fine. I'm not (US) American, nor am I European-born, so I pass on that dispute.

                        Lidia B is most definitely an American; think she has spent a large majority of her life in the US. She is serving local US produce - why not a little Central European cultural comfort? You'll find that in lots of places in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina. I have a friend who is giving a lecture at a university in Southern Brazil in a state we've discovered to be full of Bavarian-style brewhouses and ratskellers...

                        1. re: lagatta

                          You miss the point. Why not show him the best of what we have in stead of an imitation of what they have?

                      3. From what I understand (I think the press has been interested in this since the Pope declined President Bush's dinner invitation), the Pope rarely eats in public and prefers to dine alone. That makes it difficult to have any idea what type of food he enjoys. I'd probably go with a relatively safe offering such as roast chicken, supplemented with a veggie dish that could serve as the entree if it turns out he doesn't like chicken.

                        1. Strozzapreti washed down with Lacrima Cristi.

                          1. Don't forget the Pope has lived in Italy a very long time. One of my colleagues, who works in the Vatican Secretariate of State, told me that Cardinal Ratzinger used to go often to a trattoria in the neighborhood. The locals knew who he was, but never bothered him. So probably any classic in the cucina Romana would please him. But what you can't get in Rome is a good German volkornbrot. So I'd rather have him over for breakfast with volkornbrot, schenken, kaese and a soft boiled egg.

                            1. Oh, I think for the cheese course: The Cheeses of Nazareth

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: steakman55

                                After a meal in Denver, Pope John Paul II asked for the source of a sharp white cheese he had been served. And he had some shipped to the Vatican. It was Tilamook extra sharp white cheddar which has since been known as the Pope's cheese.

                              2. For lunch...Eggs Benedict.

                                I wouldn't serve him spargel or North-Americanized Italian food since he's bound to get plenty of the good stuff in Europe.

                                1. connecticut's blue point oysters are the best. i would start there. i'm sure a fisherman would get a kick out of a good new england seafood stew. maybe some crusty bread on the side and a few california wines. it's all good.

                                    1. Pope Francis' humble lifestyle extends to kitchen--

                                      "ROME – Baked skinless chicken, salad, fruit and a glass of simple wine is certainly not food fit for a king. But it is a meal fit for a pope."


                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Kholvaitar

                                        That is very interesting. His simple meal is appealing, "filling up on bread", less so. I love bread, a mainstay of Mediterranean eating - and hey, that includes Jesus! - but too much bread could cause diabetes and other health problems, in a culture where we walk less and do far less hard physical work than Jesus and his friends.

                                        I'm glad he allows a bit of wine. It is just so normal in Italy and the Italian diaspora, including Argentina.

                                        1. re: Kholvaitar

                                          By the way, Congrats on being named Times Man Of The Year

                                          1. re: Kholvaitar

                                            Yes, I think Francis would be a far more congenial dinner guest than Benny would have been.

                                            I think I'd simply make him some empanadas and a salad; he'd like that. I could take them to a community centre where I volunteer.

                                        2. A chocolate matzo and a glass of Manischewitz

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: beevod

                                            Why? There is good Kosher wine nowadays, if you are inviting the Pope and his friend the Chief Rabbi of Buenos Aires. Some of it is made in Argentina.

                                          2. A roasted chicken sans the pope's nose, and a nice prosecco.

                                            1. I'd make a nice simple linguini puttanesca with some sauteed broccoli rabe & garlic on the side.
                                              I'd also invite all of my gay friends to join the dinner. It might wake up the Holy Pontiff!!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. It depends on what he would be visiting for. We asked an archbishop coming for confirmation about his food preferences. He was so tired of the typical church banquet fare. He asked for southern fried chicken. When our superior general came, he asked for a buffet with sandwich fixings. He delighted in cold cuts, ham, egg, and chicken salad, potato chips and all the rest. If the Pope were my invited guest, I would try to find out if there were something he really didn't like. Then, I'd probably cook him something home-style from whatever is in season. Don't forget, as archbishop in Argentina, he used to cook for himself.

                                                1. Depends on if it's a Friday. I'm going to assume no, since fish isn't my thing. I wouldn't intentionally invite him over on a Friday. I like that this thread got resurrected (ha!) with the arrival of a new pope (who seems way cooler than last pope-guy).

                                                  Roasted Pork Tenderloin
                                                  Baked Apples
                                                  Wild Rice cooked in consummee
                                                  A decent baguette with real butter
                                                  Maybe a green salad.

                                                  That's my go-to company dinner - fancy enough without being frou-frou. You'll fill up, but not feel sick. I won't be chained to the kitchen all night, leaving me free to chat.

                                                  Would also invite my cousin, formerly a nun, now married to a lovely lady. She's the most Catholic person I know, even still.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: NonnieMuss

                                                    Indeed. I'd have to invite at least one gay or lesbian friend. I'm sure he'd actually like my gay friend who is from a small village in Québec, or my lesbian Argentine friend. Doubt it would change Church doctrine, but might make him think.

                                                    He's not young, so good food but nothing too hard to digest. I'd make him bison empanadas (which I've made several times for parties). Lean bison is not very different from pampas grass-friend beef (as friends from down there say. Then a roast chicken with roasted vegetables and a more-than-decent Montréal baguette.

                                                    Local berries if in season, in a salad with a wee bit of brandy.

                                                    Obviously, I'd have to chat about Umbria (Saint Francis country) and Rome (duh) where I studied.

                                                    Of course Messi remains the most famous (now alive and active) Argentinian, above either Pope Francisco or Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. I have a soft spot for Messi as I don't think he is much taller than I am, rare among top-ranked pro athletes.

                                                  2. I assume that his food taster would strictly dictate what I could serve and that all food would be tasted/tested in advance of the meal.

                                                    1. I'd ask him to do the washing up - he'd like that.

                                                        1. I still can't get over how much he looks like the Bond villain Elliot Carver.

                                                          1. simply grilled fish, roasted brussel sprouts and sauteed kale with lots of garlic and extra virgin olive oil.

                                                              1. Well, since PaPa would be coming to my home in eastern Massachusetts it would be a lobstah roll and beer. Maybe a cup of clam chowdah to staht.

                                                                8 Replies
                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  While you watch a Red Sox game and he cheers for the Yankees!!!! HAH!!

                                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                                    Wouldn't he cheer for the Cardinals?

                                                                      1. re: Motosport

                                                                        This may explain why the former Tampa Bay Devil Rays became the Tampa Bay Rays.

                                                                        1. re: Motosport

                                                                          Actually, he supports San Lorenzo, obviously a futebol aka soccer/football aka calcio side, and another prominent religion in Argentina: http://eurosport.yahoo.com/blogs/worl...

                                                                          1. re: Motosport

                                                                            I think the Saint David Fathers would be his team.

                                                                        2. re: Motosport

                                                                          You're just jealous 'cause He's not having dinner with you!

                                                                      2. I was thinking with this new guy, BBQ chicken, mac & cheese (w/ a little gorgonzola), and cole slaw and some Sam Adams or Yingling. Fine American eats.

                                                                        1. I've got a puff pastry recipe, filled w/ spinach & stuff, weirdly called "strangle the priest"--think that would work?

                                                                          I'm not Catholic, but I'd welcome the opportunity to meet this Pope and hear his wisdom. Seems like he might enjoy some chips and a beer!

                                                                            1. Brisket and a nice potato kugel -- foods he probably doesn't get "at home."

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                There is a very large Jewish community in Buenos Aires, probably most are Ashkenazi. Buenos Aires rivalled NYC for the Yiddish theatre. Obviously, the dishes developed differently.