According to National Public Radio (NPR), the book was compiled by three members of the Guard – David Geisser, Erin Niederberger and Daniel Anrig.
Geisser, who was a chef before joining the Guard in 2012, is the man responsible for bringing the cookbook to the public. It contains 60 recipes including gnocchi and braised pork roast along with colorful descriptions of life in Vatican City.
“Polish nuns do the majority of cooking at the Vatican, but the Swiss Guard chefs do step in to make food on formal occasions or to fulfill a special request,” the NPR reports. “Though a guard cooking is a rarity, these men know more about the pope's eating habits than anyone else, since they are no more than a few steps from him at all times.”
In addition to Guard favorites, the cookbook has a special section dedicated to papal delights. For example, Pope Francis' favorite food is “Argentine empanadas on pepper salad” and alfajores which are cookie sandwiches with dulce de leche filling.
Some of St. John Paul II’s polish favorites include pierogis, which is a mixture of potatoes and cheese wrapped in dough.
The recipes are interspersed with vivid photos and interesting facts such as the recipe for eggplant mozzarella which describes sourcing the ingredients from the papal farm that surrounds Castle Gandolfo.
“With some exceptions, the foods included in this cookbook are humble and easy-to-make," NPR reports.This is not a papal feast but a glimpse into the mostly ordinary life at the Vatican."
For instance, a footnote on a recipe for braised lentils notes that "the Swiss Guard diet has included lentils several times a week for centuries."
Members of the Guard did take the opportunity to feature their favorite family foods in the cookbook, such as Former Guard Commander Daniel Rudolf Anrig who lists “cheese tort italiana” as his favorite – although he quickly admitted that regardless of how great the recipe, no one makes a cheese tort better than his mother!
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