June 11, 2012

San Pascuál, inspire my kitchen.

The carved wooden figure of
San Pascuál, holding a dish of salt,
guards and guides my kitchen. 
San MIguel de Allende is known for its fervent and enthusiastic celebration of saint's days. And, from mid-May to mid-June there's a veritable deluge – San Isidro starts things off, with San Pascual and San Antonio in quick succession. Add to this Corpus Christi.. all of this culminates with one big mish-mish of the religious, indigenous and insanely secular tequila and cerveza-soaked fiestas on June 17 (or the Sunday thereabouts) with Diá de los Locos.

A retablo (painting on tin) of San Pascual
May 17th marks the feast day of  my own adopted saint: San Pascual Bailón, (Baylon). This Franciscan is the holy patron of cooks, to whom it is prayed: "San Pascual Bailon, tiza mi fogón," which means: "San Pascual Bailón, inspire my kitchen."

San Pascual was a 16th century Spanish shepherd who became a Franciscan lay brother. He served his fellow Franciscans in various capacities and monasteries as shepherd, gardener, porter, and cook. Known for his administrations to the poor and for his many miraculous cures, he has, it seems, also been adopted as patron saint to the mentally ill, or so I've been told. I don't know about Spain, but I will tell you he is much loved in Mexico, Spain as well as New Mexico, guarding over home kitchens, restaurant kitchens, butchers and purveyors of food. In my own kitchen, a small wooden statue presides over my stove. Not a religious icon, but a guide– a reminder that what comes out of my kitchen should be prepared with calm, attention, love and nurturing. 

May San Pascual inspire your kitchen. 

Here's a track I found online to accompany you as you cook:
Music inspired by San Pascual

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