Growing up in New Mexico comes with lots of really beautiful traditions. One of my favorite traditions during Christmas is eating all of the homemade biscochitos everyone gives as gifts here. Biscochitos are rich cookies with anise seeds with sugar and cinnamon on top. They are delicious with coffee or tea. Many people use Crisco in their biscochitos, but the general concensus is that good old-fashioned lard is the only way to go! I agree!
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.
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.
Victoria de Almeida
copyright 2010 All rights reserved
Santa Fe, New Mexico
November 5th, 2011
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