We’ve all encountered food and dishes that have been named after people, places, and other unusual things. There’s the Eggs Benedict, French Fries, Vienna Sausage, Hamburger, and Spanish Sardines— foods that do not necessarily originate from the places or were actual inventions by the people they were named after!
Nowadays, there are even dishes and drinks named after celebrities, just like Saint and Nori Shake named after Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s children, the Michelle Obama Melt Burger, and the Lady Gaga Sushi Roll. But did you know that aside from people and places, some food items have also been named after saints? (Read: 5 Catholic Saints Who Were Migrants Back in the Days)
That’s right, even these holy individuals have become the names of various food items that are eaten around the world! If you’re curious, you’re in luck because My Pope Philippines lists some food items that take on the names of actual saints!
Food After Saints: Panecillo de San Nicolas
The Panecillo de San Nicolas (which translates to “the little bread of Saint Nicholas) is a biscuit that has been around for centuries in the Philippines. The recipe was brought and introduced to Filipinos back in the 1600s when the Spanish Catholic nuns arrived in the country.
But why is it called San Nicolas? It’s because the biscuit is named after San Nicolas de Tolentino, the patron saint of bakers, children, calamities, the sick, and souls in purgatory. And according to legend, it wasn’t named after him just because he was bakers’ patron saint! Longstanding stories say that when he was sick, which was literally a matter of life and death back in the day, San Nicolas dreamt that the Virgin Mary instructed him to get a piece of bread, soak it in water, and eat it. Apparently, this worked and he was cured! Hence the name for this biscuit.
Food After Saints: St. Peter’s Fish
Most of us would probably know what the St. Peter’s Fish is if it were calledw with its more common name, which is tilapia. Yes, the fish we usually see at the market and use for various recipes is called the St. Peter’s Fish. Why that name, you may ask? It’s because, for one, he was a fisherman himself and is known as the patron saint of net makers, ship builders, and fishermen. (Read: St. John Paul II Loved This Cake—and We’re Giving You the Recipe for It!)
But another reason is that in the Bible, passages would say that St. Peter would often find coins in the mouth of fish whenever he needed to pay the temple tax. And while it wasn’t actually specified that it was tilapia, many assumed it to be this fish as it is a freshwater fish that was already present back in the day in the Sea of Galilee. Some legends also say that the spots on the fish’s body is the saint’s fingerprints, or is reminiscent of the coins he would always find in their mouths!
Food After Saints: Papieska Kremowka
The kremowka is a Polish dessert that consists of a pair of crisp puff pastries with a creamy vanilla filling in between. This pastry is also called Napoleonka in some places, as it is similar to the French dessert Napoleons. But in recent years, it has been renamed to Papieska Kremowka in honor of St. Pope John Paul II, as this dessert was his favorite. There are even stories of how the saint would use his allowance to buy a slice of the kremowka after his exams in school— that’s how much he loved it!