March 23, 2013

The "simple Pope" narrative.

The new Pope, Francis, eats "[b]aked skinless chicken, salad, fruit and a glass of simple wine," and this is supposedly terribly different from Pope Benedict who ate "fettuccine with shrimp, zucchini and saffron," Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who once "hosted an elaborate vegetarian dinner to celebrate Benedict’s 60th anniversary as a priest in 2011, featuring fresh-picked fare from the area near Venice, including chicory, white asparagus, peas and cherries," and NY's Cardinal Timothy Dolan who likes "fettuccine Bolognese, lamb cutlet, spinach and peppers, with Sicilian cannoli and homemade tiramisu."

Where is the stark contrast? Fettucine is just noodles. What's elaborate about putting some shrimp on it or some meat sauce (which is all "Bolognese" means)? Then there's lamb and a bunch of vegetables. Why is "chicory, white asparagus, peas and cherries" elaborate compared to "salad" and "fruit"? What's in the salad? Maybe chicory. What's the fruit? Maybe cherries. And cannoli and tiramisu are just routine desserts in Italy (and NYC). There's nothing fancy about eating cannoli!

I don't really mind if WaPo does a puff piece on the new Pope. But it's just such a dumb way to talk about food. They're mindlessly impressing the "simple Pope" narrative onto random facts.

82 comments:

chickelit said...

Pope Francis eats more like FLOTUS wants us to. Have they sold that angle yet?

Lauderdale Vet said...

One of those dishes is more likely to be eaten in a poor household than the others.

Greg said...

Mindlessly pimping a narrative? Since when did the press begin doing that?

Greg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exiledonmainst said...

I like Cardinal Dolan very much, but he needs to lay off the cannoli.

edutcher said...

Dolan eats like a cafeteria Catholic.

that's the difference.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Much like the "Obama is smart" narrative.

No matter how clear the evidence shows him to be a sub-normal IQ, affirmative action quota kid who has ruined the economy and country since taking over, the left will never call him dumb or incompetent. That's racist.

ed said...

An Italian eating Italian cuisine.

Imagine that.

Bender said...

It's not about promoting any "simple Pope" narrative. It is about slamming "extravagent Popes" in the ultra-wealthy Vatican, which I noted here a couple weeks ago has an annual spending budget of under $400 million. Million, with an M. Yeah, that's real ritzy.

traditionalguy said...

The new Pope Francis is a common man. He eats food too.

But the "simple" adjective has no meaning in the spiritual realm. A common Adam elevated to become a Christian exercising love that rules in the Kingdom of Jesus on earth is what we see.

Given the foes and the deceptions surrounding Francis every day, that is way not simple.

madAsHell said...

I wonder what simple wine is? Un-oaked?
Cuz that stuff is terrible!!

Bender said...

If we want to compare simplicity in dining --

Here's the menu for President Drone Killer's Nobel Peace Prize banquet -
Lobster consommé with shellfish tartare, lobster and Kalix bleak roe
Truffle-stuffed quail with parsley root, Brussels sprouts and port wine gravy
Lemon and fresh cheese mousse with sea-buckthorn sorbet

And here is the banquet menu for Nobel Peace Prize honoree Mother Teresa -
(none, she asked that the money be given to the poor)

ddh said...

The vegetarian meal to celebrate Benedict's 60th anniversary as a priest sounds as if it was put together from what was available in the street market that day. Pretty much all Italians eat like that, regardless of class. But Francis ate skinless chicken, and Benedict ate a recipe with saffron, which the Spanish consider an ordinary luxury, like capers.

ddh said...

Next thing you know, someone will note that Benedict drank German beer.

ddh said...

The vegetarian meal to celebrate Benedict's 60th anniversary as a priest sounds as if it was put together from what was available in the street market that day. Pretty much all Italians eat like that, regardless of class. But Francis ate skinless chicken, and Benedict ate a recipe with saffron, which the Spanish consider an ordinary luxury, like capers.

Renee said...

Bender

Lobster is poor man's food again in New England.

It seems they eat fresh foods that are in season. I use fresh dill and parsley. , instead of dried spices. So extravagant!

Lamb is more common then steak in Europe as well.

Renee said...

Ddh

Benedict did not drink beer. He drinks orange soda.

http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/a-day-in-the-life-of-pope-benedict/

sydney said...

Myself, I am getting a little tired of this "simple Pope" narrative. It is becoming a little ostentatious. A truly humble man does not draw notice to his humility. For example, he does not have photographs of himself riding on the subway to give to the press.

creeley23 said...

Hard to say.

Salad is salad and chicken is chicken, but there is a difference between pulling some greens and chicken off the shelf at Safeway and eating the same basics with full haute-cuisine treatment.

rhhardin said...

He's not simple if he doesn't microwave on the same paper plate for at least two weeks at a time.

Grease from the first use keeps the subsequent ones from sticking.

whoresoftheinternet said...

@MadasHell:

I wonder what simple wine is?

---Pope's blood.

harrogate said...

It's a lot like the way people made fun of Obama for eating "arugula." People on these boards, actually.

It's all terministic screens.

Still, fwiw, it does seem that Pope Francis's lifestyle has been simpler across the board, than many on his level.

BaltoHvar said...

@madAsHell - Screw Cap!

BaltoHvar said...

Chicken? Including the Pope's Nose??

Chip Ahoy said...

You know what's really simple? I just now remembered how fantastic this is and how inexpensive because last night a kielbasa was only something like $2.50 or $3.00 and it's a big sausage that bends around like a horseshoe. So one of those and a cabbage.

Then the cabbage is quartered or eighthes in wedges and the sausage put on top of that piled up in a pot with a little water. Some fennel, salt, cracked black pepper, mustard seed if you like, perhaps a garlic bulb broken up into cloves, maybe a quartered onion or two, and braised on low for a long patient time until the cabbage goes soft without overcooking and avoiding an awful cooked cabbage sulfuric smell.

The casing on the sausage will transform to a sticky proteinaceous layer covering softened seasoned minced meat that can be smashed between the tongue and the palate and veritably melts in one's mouth. And the cabbage is flavored with all that.

Oh, potatoes too.

Hey, Pope, I got all that. Like a pauper. Come on over. And the whole time I'm eating it I'm thinking, "Man, these paupers sure know how to live it up."

Palladian said...

It's a lot like the way people made fun of Obama for eating "arugula." People on these boards, actually.

No, it's not, really. Obama isn't a religious leader, chosen for a life term. He's a politician and, at the time of the "arugula" jokes, he was competing for an elective office. And it was a stupid, clueless thing to say, especially for a politician.

Politics is a bitch!

carrie said...

When is the WaPo going to start slamming our extravagant President? Maybe this the the start of a series to get the President to lead a simpler life style more like the Pope--Just kidding! But, imagine if the President had the Jesuit value of simple living. . .

FleetUSA said...

These people get English lit and journalism degrees and believe every article must impress and glorify whatever subject they pick.

Why spend money for newspapers when we have Prof. Althouse to edit for us.

carrie said...

When is the WaPo going to start slamming our extravagant President? Maybe this the the start of a series to get the President to lead a simpler life style more like the Pope--Just kidding! But, imagine if the President had the Jesuit value of simple living. . .

FleetUSA said...

@carrie. Choom is not intelligent enough to be a Jesuit. He would be better as an Elmer Gantry style minister.

Sam L. said...

It's the WaPo. Expecting sense, let alone good sense, is a losing game.

SOJO said...

Oh, let people be happy for five seconds about the new Pope.

Freder Frederson said...

At least you weren't disingenuous enough to say "What is saffron? It's just the stigma from a stupid crocus!"

harrogate said...

Palladian,

It's less about the Pope than about us. In that way its exactly like how we responded to Obama. How we respond to everything.

Arugula is just lettuce, after all. if it was a "stupid" thing to say, what does that say about us anyway? What kind of fucking moron goes "OMG he said 'arugula,' what a snob"? Likely the same type that thinks Bolognese is shmancy.

The funniest part is that the pretentious anti-intellectualism, while pretentious, actually works as a cover for real anti-intellectualism.

DADvocate said...

Saffron, generally considered the most expensive spice.

Fettuccine is just noodles - WITH A VERY FANCY ITALIAN NAME!!

Ann Althouse said...

"At least you weren't disingenuous enough to say "What is saffron? It's just the stigma from a stupid crocus!""

Saffron is a pretty standard ingredient to toss in with the shrimp.

Gene said...

The mom (and uncle) knew what they were doing with an "I am a bomb" T-shirt. But they didn't mean it as a terrorist threat to blow up something. They meant bomb as in "population bomb." "Little babies like me are taking over your country and there's nothing you can do about it."

And they are right. There is nothing France can do. Except make fools of themselves for arresting people for exercising free speech, even if it is in-your-face free speech.

Same thing in the United States. Kids here don't wear jihad T-shirts but when they are older they go to soccer matches between the US and Mexico at the Rose Bowl where they wave Mexican flags and laugh and jeer during the the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Joe said...

The difference is between a dish I could prepare without problem and one that requires a bit more skill. Unless the "fettuccine with shrimp, zucchini and saffron" really was just cooked all tossed into a bowl, which I seriously doubt.

Joe said...

Does the Pope have a taste tester, like our presidents?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ harrowgate

The issue about Obama and arugula

He said: "“Anybody gone into Whole Foods lately and see what they charge for arugula?” the senator said. “I mean, they’re charging a lot of money for this stuff.”


However, "The state of Iowa, for all of its vast food production, does not have a Whole Foods, a leading natural and organic foods market."

Basically, Obama is guilty of assuming several things and it showed how out of touch with the common voter and with reality he is. Insulated in a little bubble of east coast elitism.

First that everyone is just like him, has the same opportunities and can all shop for arugula....which is not readily available in many groceries in "fly over country".

Second that everyone shops at Whole Foods. There isn't a Whole Foods within two hundred hundred miles of me. There isn't one in the whole freaking State of Iowa.

Third: discounting that even IF there were a Whole Foods nearby, the pricing levels would leave many people out being able to shop there. Something that obviously never occurs to Obama. Again the insular bubble.

IF you are going to try to connect with the people to vote for you....it behooves you to know a little bit about the people, the State you are visiting and try to put yourself into their situation.

Whether Obama eats arugula or not is not the issue. The issue is that the man is completely out of touch with the American people....as evidenced by his actions, speeches and lavishly royal lifestyle that the Obama's lead at the expense of the rest of us, who can't afford to buy arugula, much less try to fill up our freaking gas tanks at $4.58 a gallon.

Freder Frederson said...

Saffron is a pretty standard ingredient to toss in with the shrimp.

Yeah, I've got a saffron shaker on the table right next the salt and pepper. Know what it is great on? Mashed potatoes.

edutcher said...

harrogate said...

Palladian,

It's less about the Pope than about us. In that way its exactly like how we responded to Obama. How we respond to everything.

Arugula is just lettuce, after all.


Sure, that's why nobody ever heard of it or ate it until he mentioned it.

edutcher said...

harrogate said...

Palladian,

It's less about the Pope than about us. In that way its exactly like how we responded to Obama. How we respond to everything.

Arugula is just lettuce, after all.


Sure, that's why nobody ever heard of it or ate it until he mentioned it.

Freder Frederson said...

Sure, that's why nobody ever heard of it or ate it until he mentioned it.

You really need to get out more.

Palladian said...

Arugula is just lettuce, after all. if it was a "stupid" thing to say, what does that say about us anyway? What kind of fucking moron goes "OMG he said 'arugula,' what a snob"? Likely the same type that thinks Bolognese is shmancy.

I'm not talking about the merits of arugula or about "our" provincialism, I'm talking about politics. Whining about the price of arugula at Whole Foods is a dumb-ass thing for a supposedly savvy politician to do, the kind of thing your "side" would exploit endlessly if a politician (especially a rich politician) on the other "side" said it. Politics in America is, like it or not, about image and the arugula statement added to the impression that Obama is an out-of-touch, effete, upper-class twit.

It's a game and it was a bad play. Complain to an inner-city, lower-class black American about the price of Arugula at Whole Foods if you don't believe me. Of course you probably don't know anyone in that demographic.

As to arugula itself, it's far too bitter to be used as a primary salad green anyway.

Palladian said...

And, Mr Sophistication, Arugula is not lettuce; lettuce is in the asteraceae family and arugula is in the brassica family, along with cabbage, broccoli, mustard and watercress.

Palladian said...

Yeah, I've got a saffron shaker on the table right next the salt and pepper.

You do strike me as the kind of barbarian who would use ground saffron. Quelle horreur!

edutcher said...

IIRC, saffron is something of a specialty item in this country more used by scratch cooks, but much more common overseas.

Freder Frederson said...

Sure, that's why nobody ever heard of it or ate it until he mentioned it.

You really need to get out more.


If Barry hadn't said it, you wouldn't know what it was, either.

harrogate said...

"Sure, that's why nobody ever heard of it or ate it until he mentioned it."

edutcher wrote that.

Seth Fontana said...

Renee said: «Benedict did not drink beer. He drinks orange soda.»

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c305/benodette/Q4%2009%20-%20Q1%2010/RatzingerHeights1999a.jpg

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Arugula is easily grown in your garden or even in pots on your balcony if you life in the urban jungles. Since we rarely get it in our little local grocery stores and when we do it is horribly limp, we just grow some in a raised container. Very tasty in salads if used sparingly. I like it mixed in with butter lettuce, toasted pine nuts, thin sliced red onion, blood orange segments and a sweet and zippy balsamic vinegar dressing :-)

However, since I live in California, arugula is not an uncommon thing in the more urban areas. Saffron is somewhat expensive, therefore many people would not be familiar with it. There is just no substitute for saffron in a Mediterranean seafood stew or paella.

Nevertheless....Obama is a clueless dick.

Roger J. said...

I have eaten arugula for over 20 years--as DBQ it is easy to grow but often named by seed companies as "roquette lettuce." Quite invasive and is considered a noxious weed in WA state. A great green to grow--comes in very early, but bolts to seed very fast.

FleetUSA said...

@dust bunny.

I like the commentary on salads - yummy.

no segue to "and Obama is a clueless dick:!!

too funny

SOJO said...

Woo Hoo! He ditched the stupid chair! The narrative continues!

http://i.imgur.com/SlwdAjA.jpg

chickelit said...

Re Arugula & Obama: At least he didn't suggest poke weed salad.

DBQ (or anybody): If you had a 100 sq ft garden in SoCal with enough water, what edibles would you plant?

tim said...

I just went to the store and bought one of those nasty/awesome store cakes with the icing that is sugar and fat. And a gallon of milk. Because my wife and kid are out of town. How very common man of me. I could be pope.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ (or anybody): If you had a 100 sq ft garden in SoCal with enough water, what edibles would you plant?

First of all, I'm jealous of your longer growing season. It is still freezing at night here so many things are off of our radar.

But. I don't see much point in growing things that are easily available in the stores like carrots, unless you plan to pick them as itty bitty baby carrots and saute them in butter with some of the greens still on. Same thing with beets.

Fava Beans!! Nothing as wonderful as fresh fava beans. Easy to grow too. Buy some nice Chianti and pretend you are Hannibal Lector ;-)

Tomatoes: special ones you can't buy in the stores. Some heirloom types in different colors and sizes so you can have fresh tomato salads with fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, sea salt, olive oil and throw in some kalamata olives. Mmmmm mmmmm

Japanese eggplant. Great for grilling on the BBQ.

If you have room, some Cantaloupe. Warm from the garden juicy cantaloupe, sprinkled with sea salt...to die for. Nothing like those hard as rock bowling balls the store offers.

Some interesting beans. Edamame. Red noodle beans. Regular pole or bush green beans so you can pick them young instead of those tough over grown ones you get in the stores. Last year I pickled a bunch with garlic cloves and red hot peppers. Fabulous in a bloody mary or just as a part of an anti-pasto plate.

Perennial Artichoke plants. If your area isn't too hot or excessively dry.

Check out Territorial Seed. They are the best.

Basil and other herbs that you like to use fresh. Oregano. You can always dry the excess. But....nothing like fresh herbs.

Sigh. We still have about 3 weeks before we can even think of planting.

Craig Howard said...

Fair enough, but the saffron says something.

Big Mike said...

The Post is "mindlessly impressing [a] narrative onto random facts"?

That's them, all right.

Paco Wové said...

"the saffron says something."

Yes, it says "I am a spice grown in and commonly used around the whole Mediterranean basin". The fact that Freder doesn't know what to do with it is neither here nor there. Christ, it's amazing what things can fuel a political pissing match.

BTW, there is now a Whole Foods in Iowa. Bluer and bluer all the time!

ndspinelli said...

How can we even discuss cuisine w/ a woman who calls fettucini "noodles". It's PASTA for chrissake. Did you move into a trailer park?

Renee said...

Lobster is cheaper then steak where I live....

The saffron availability differs around the world, more available in Italy.

I didn't mean to infer B16 never drank beer , just he likes orange soda.

Palladian said...

How can we even discuss cuisine w/ a woman who calls fettucini "noodles". It's PASTA for chrissake. Did you move into a trailer park?

Considering that the Italians stole it from the Chinese, I wouldn't push the "pasta" thing if I was you. It wasn't until the late middle ages that Italians had tomatoes either. I think they ate dirt before Marco Polo.

FleetUSA said...

@chicklit; Elvis' great "Poke Salad Annie"

MrCharlie2 said...

a simple pope would eat cheetos and coke, like the rest of us peasants

Jeff Teal said...

First mention of arugula I can remember was Jerry Orwell as Lenny Briscow on Law and Order using a reference to a $12 dollar arugula salad quite a while ago.Dick Wolff was apparently using it as an inference about pretentiousness.
By the way down here Ican buy a little foil pouch of a food stuff called "yellow rice".cost about a buck,ingredients rice-turmeric-saffron.Really great with chicken.Or shrimp.Or lamb.

chickelit said...

@DBQ: Many thanks for that response! I'm planting next week and will take many of your suggestions. I hadn't even thought of eggplant!

Jeff Teal said...

One man's exotic food is another man daily breakfast,lunch ,or dinner.Personally I'm really glad I belong to the biggest food thieves in history.We'll eat anything-and some one will like it.Bon Appetit or Mucho Gusto or something.

Ann Althouse said...

When I lived in Brooklyn, my favorite Italian restaurant was Noodle Pudding

Those guys didn't get prissy about the word pasta, Spinelli. Where the hell are you from?

bbkingfish said...

I think that, in the case of Cardinal Dolan, it is not the type of food he prefers, but rather, the prodigious quantities he is known to consume, that is noteworthy. It is only when he visits the Vatican, and is away from prying American eyes, that Dolan feels safe to give free reign to his gluttony.

ndspinelli said...

I'm from Ct. and my family owned an Italian restaurant for 50 years. I have worked every job in an Italian restaurant. Noodle Pudding sounds like a place trying to get customers who grew up on "noodles" in Delaware and other trailer trash states. And, I actually travel by plane and have been to Italy and other countries. Now..go shit in your hat!

SOJO said...

You guys, come on now. It's food. You eat it, you enjoy it, and then you shit it out. You come together at the table. Mangia.

(However, if Spinelli is reading, by any chance, maybe s/he can settle something for me. I was always taught that it's BRUSKETTA with a hard K because that's how it is pronounced in Italy. Yet, almost all the snooty foodies in CA say BRUSSSSSHHHETA. If you say it with a hard K they look at you with pity. I love bruschetta and its a pain. So which is correct in the USA at an italian place?)

Back to the main thought:

And it's nowhere near as interesting as a Jesuit pope getting rid of that tacky ass chair/throne. :)

So far I love the heck out of this Pope. I decree that he shall be the favorite pope of my lifetime. I hope he can maintain his ways at least for a while.



AllenS said...

I don't believe that the letter K is used in Italia.

ndspinelli said...

SOJO, I agree w/ your philosophy, and I am by nature an easy going guy. I just have a problem when people talk out of their ass. That said, you ask a good question. The letter 'c' in Italian is idiosyncratic. Being from California, you may remember Gene Tenace, a good player on the great Oakland A's teams of the 70's. His name was pronounced, "Tennis" by American media. My old man would always pronounced his name correctly, "Tenacchi." To your specific question, you are correct. The sound of the c in bruschetta is a 'k.' That's how my Italian relatives who spoke only broken English pronounced it. You seem quite affable and are a person w/ whom I would love to share some PASTA. So, smile when you tell those foodies to go shit in their hats when they look down their noses.

ndspinelli said...

And SOJO, I agree we were long overdue for a Jesuit pope. They taught me how to think and are some of the greatest teachers in history.

Ann Althouse said...

"Noodle Pudding sounds like a place trying to get customers who grew up on "noodles" in Delaware and other trailer trash states."

You can research restaurants on the internet and find out what they really are. Something you might want to do before posing as knowing.

You're awfully cantankerous about synonyms, and then really snobby too. Doesn't fit my stereotype of Italians. I don't normally hear "Italian" and think "stick up his ass."

Hope it's working out well for you though, Spinner.

Ann Althouse said...

Also, it's not called "fettucini."

Are you even Italian? I call bullshit on you and your family restaurant.

Ann Althouse said...

By the way, "pasta" just means "paste." Basically: dough.

I think switching to the more English word when speaking English is a nice rhetorical move -- a matter of style.

But obviously my basic point here is that WaPo is flogging the "simple pope" meme and it's not sufficiently supported.

Flogging with a wet noodle... a wet fettucina.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the OED definition of "noodle": "A long stringlike piece of pasta or similar flour paste cooked in liquid and served either in a soup or as an accompaniment to another dish; (more generally in U.S.) any style of pasta. Formerly also: a dumpling cooked and served in a similar manner (cf. knödel n., knaidel n.). Usu. in pl."

ndspinelli said...

Dom Spinelli's restaurant in Bristol, Ct. I've written here previously on the history. Here's a short synopsis. It was originally called Steve Spinelli's when my immigrant grandfather opened his restaurant. Steve came to the US in 1915 as a teenager travelling alone to the U.S. Bristol is a factory town so he got a job w/ the GM ball bearing plant[New Departure] which also made bicycle brakes. He hated it. Steve heard his coworkers constantly complain about the cafeteria food so he quit the factory and started a sandwich cart, showing up @ lunch breaks for all 3 shifts serving Italian and American sandwiches. With that money Steve opened a small restaurant right across from the factory. He ran it until he died in 1950. My dad and Uncle Dom took it over and ran it. My dad had problems working w/ his brother so he used his AP license and went to work for Pratt&Whitney.

Dom continued the biz until he died in the 80's. He branched out in the 1960's and opened an Italian food store and a catering biz. All of Dom's kids and myself and 3 siblings worked the restaurant and catering biz. If you were Italian in Bristol your wedding was catered by Dom's or Nucchi Morroco, his friendly competitor. Again, this has all been related in this and other venues previously. Step up your game.

You lecturing me on Italian is ludicrous on its face but consistent w/ your know-it-all personality. Give this one up Annie, you're in way over your head.

Finally, I believe Joe Biden calls pasta, "noodles."

ndspinelli said...

Annie, This is America, you can call pasta whatever the fuck you want. You have a right to be an ugly American. You even have a right to call "bullshit" on the truth as you just did..you're an attorney after all.

chickelit said...

By the way, "pasta" just means "paste." Basically: dough.

1960's Play-Doh commercial: "The fun never stops with the Fun Factory--make loaves!"