David Geisser, a member of the Vatican’s famous Swiss Guards, has released a cookbook called “Bon Appetit, Swiss Guard.”
This is not a joke.
The cookbook contains some of the favorite recipes of current and past pontiffs. Included among the featured dishes are an Argentinian dessert, Polish pierogi, and a selection of Bavarian specialties – a delightful culinary homage to the last three popes. The rest of the book describes 159 ways to make spaghetti (okay I made that part up).
According to reports, Geisser is 24 years old and his illustrious career with the Swiss Guards spanned all of one month prior to the publication of his volume of favorite papal recipes. I don’t know, maybe this guy was a sous chef in the Pope’s kitchen before landing a promotion to the technicolor ninja squadron. Either that or he spent his entire first month with the Swiss Guards protecting the Secret Vatican Recipe Archives, guarding the top-secret ingredients for such classics as Urban’s Five Layer Pontifex Mex Dip, the colorful but potent Michelan-Jello Shots, and the official conclave snack since 1637, Habemus Popcorn.
Despite its quick release, the cookbook did have to overcome some obstacles on the way to publication. In one instance a well-meaning but gastronomically challenged copy editor dutifully changed every mention of “Swiss chard” to “Swiss Guard,” with awkward results. Another embarrassing moment occurred when it was discovered that no pope, ever in the history of the Church, had tried or even heard of the beef-and-onion wonder stew dubbed Pope’s Pot, and the recipe had to be excommunicated.
In fact, the entire project seemed on the brink of failure when an earlier version of the cookbook was leaked to the press. This “working draft” completely ignored some of the fundamental tenets of cooking in favor of a bland and watered-down approach that stressed the need to serve “hurting” cooks by giving them crappy recipes in the hope that they would someday become culinary masters through a process of gradualism.
Yup, I completely made up the last paragraph. And the one before. And most of the other ones too.
But the cookbook is real.
Bon appetit, Swiss chards.