WATCH NOW: Sioux City priest serves up gourmet grub for colleagues | Local news

“Previously, I had wanted to go to seminary school as a way to escape,” Pelzel said. “This time, I wanted to go to seminary school for the right reasons.”

Enrolling at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Pelzel continued on his road to becoming a priest. At the same time, he befriended some grandmas who ran a slightly clandestine restaurant in a decidedly sketchy neighborhood.

“The grandmas worked in a small spot with four tables and no sign in front,” he explained. “They became known as making the best Roman food in Italy.”  

And what, exactly, makes food “Roman”?

Pelzel said it means using a handful of quality ingredients in recipes while delivering maximum taste.

For example, a sauce using a few ingredients can be placed on pasta at the end of the cooking cycle. Ironically, this was the opposite of how Pelzel’s mom made spaghetti.

“My mom got sauce from a can and kept it on the stove for two hours,” he noted. “The Italian grandmas said if you cook sauce for more than 15 minutes, it dies.”

Since returning to America, Pelzel has followed the advice of the grandmothers — as well as his own mom — when feeding parishioners when he served as priest in Moville and Kingsley as well as in his current position of vicar general for the Diocese of Sioux City.  

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