San Pascual's Table
Pascual Bailon (1540-1592) was born, in May of 1540 in Torre Hermosa, Aragon, Spain. In his youth he was a sheep herder and was often seen praying in the pastures. His faith led him to the Franciscan monastery in Loreto. Because he was uneducated, the friars would only accept him to do menial tasks such as cooking. His devotion to his faith and kindness of heart to the poor made him beloved by all. San Pascual is the patron saint of cooks and the kitchen. He is especially loved in New Mexico.
I have depicted him here preparing a traditional New Mexican meal for his Franciscan brothers. He is making Spanish rice and red chile on the stove. On the table he has set out chips, salsa, and guacamole, sopapillas with honey, plates of tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. The saint in the nicho is the founder of his order, St. Francis, who is the saint of animals and the environment. He is normally painted with a kitchen cat. However, this was a commission for a lovely couple in California who wanted me to paint their two dogs. The pups seem very attached to Pascual and are hoping for a taste of some of the delicious food he is preparing.
San Pascual is my favorite saint to paint because of my love and memories of my Grandma Reynalda Almeida. She lived in a little adobe casita near Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The heart of my Grandma's home beat in the kitchen. As we drove to her home down the little hill street of Camino Sin Nombre, my heart fluttered in anticipation. She always had a pot simmering on the stove and open arms ready for her children and grandchildren. The rich smell of red chile would permeate the house while my Grandma would push my small hands into a floury bowl of tortilla dough. It is with her in mind and in my heart that I paint San Pascual.