Mariangela Rinaldi and Mariangela Vicini, both from the prosperous gastronomic mecca of Parma, set out to reveal the secrets of the Papal kitchens, from St Peter to the present pontiff, whose poor health has seen him abandon the hearty dishes of his homeland in favour of a frugal diet of cheese, white meat, vegetables and soup. His predecessors, however, often kept a lavish table: Martin IV was so greedy for his favourite dish of eels drowned in Vernaccia, the golden wine of Lazio, then roasted that he actually ate himself to death. The infamous Borgia Pope, Alexander VI, frequented a tavern run by Madonna Vanozza where he ate sumptuous meals yet still found time to father four of her children while still a Cardinal. This riveting little book is filled with fascinating papal anecdotes and insights into the often strange behaviour of those who carry the keys of the kingdom, and the food they ate.
Mariangela Vicini is a social and cultural historian from Parma, Italy.