Friday, March 25, 2011

Holy Guacamole: The Patron Saints of The Kitchen

I'm not Catholic.  But for some reason I'm obsessed with Patron Saints.  My theory is I need all the help I can get, and whether the Saint is the Patron Saint of Cooking or the Patron Saint of Dentists, I'm all over it.  I have an extensive library filled with books on topics such as:  Saints, Monks and Monasteries.  (I can't help it if I thirst for knowledge can I?)  I have quite a collection of Saints, candles, medals and other religious relics.  It's one of the many quirky gathering of oddities I collect.  Thank the Lord and the Saints my husband is a patient man.  I think it all started when I bought a print of San Pasqual, The Patron Saint of The Kitchen in Santa Fe.  I love Santa Fe, I love Cooking, I love Saints.  It was the perfect addition to my kitchen.  Just for fun, I thought I would share some of the Saints that are related to culinary topics:

St. Macarius The Younger
The Patron Saint of Candymakers
Died about 401     Feast Day January 2
Young Macarius was a successful businessman who made and sold candy and sweet pastries in Egypt in 335.  Inspired by stories of holy men who had fled civilization for a life of prayer and penance, Macarius gave up his candy business and spent a good part of his life in a bare one-room house, living much like a hermit.

St. Lawrence
The Patron Saint of Cooks
Died 258     Feast Day August 10 
In 258, during rampant religious persecution, Lawrence rushed to save the Church's sacred vessels from pillage by the Roman soldiers.  He sold the items and distributed the proceeds among the poor.  He was summoned before a tribunal and ordered to turn over the Church's treasures.  Lawrence returned with a large crowd of the poor and exclaimed, "These are the treasures of the Church."  For his actions, he was ordered punished by burning to death slowly on a large gridiron.  Anyone who has worked in a restaurant kitchen can relate to his suffering, thus the reason St. Lawrence is claimed as the Patron Saint of Cooks.

St. Nicholas of Tolentino
The Patron Saint of Vegetarians
1245-1305     Feast Day September 10

As a personal penance, St. Nicholas of Tolentino resolved never to eat meat.  Once when he was served chicken, Nicholas made the sign of the cross over the plate and the chicken turned to vegetables.  In a similar version of the story, the meal was roasted partridges who were restored to life by Nicholas and flew out the window.
  This is why he is also acknowledged as the patron saint of sick animals and animals that are crossing over. 

St. Vincent
The Patron Saint of Wine
Died 304     Feast Day January 22

Nothing in St. Vincent's life has a true connection to wine.  It is believed his association with wine came about simply because of his name.  In French, the word for wine is vin and in Italian it is vino.  Another reason St. Vincent may be associated with wine is that red wine reminded Christians of St. Vincent's bloody martyrdom.  During barbaric oppression of Christians, Vincent refused to deny Christ.  He was imprisoned and tortured and eventually died from his injuries.  His bloody clothes were preserved as relics to his martyrdom.

St. Pasqual of Baylon
Patron Saint of the Kitchen
1540-1592     Feast Day May 17

Pasqual of Baylon is remembered mostly for his extraordinary devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and his heroism in the face of danger.  His body remained miraculously incorrupt after his death.  In his native Spain, and in Latin America, he revered as the Patron Saint of the Kitchen.


1 comment:

  1. I have the exact same San Pasqual print. I had mine matted and framed a little differently, but this article gave me a chuckle. I love the patrons too. Not a catholic, just find it all charming somehow.


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