Childrens Book Review of Pascual and the Kitchen Angels by Tomie dePaola

by DerdriuMarriner

Angels are Earth’s guardians. Their workloads get eased by and shared with saints. The story of the cook’s guardians and patron saint is told in “Pascual and the Kitchen Angels.”

Kitchens appear to occupy no middle ground. They in fact assume the personalities of their cooks and vice versa. They can be as;
• Cheerful, commodious, and creative as their most accomplished, applauded chefs;
• Daunted, desperate, and disorderly as their most fearful, overwhelmed hash-slingers.

But either way, they generally do not get included on lists of quiet get-away places, rooms, and spaces. Unmistakable screams of horror apart, the level of kitchen-emanated noise typically gives no clue as to course or outcome of the food being prepared. For example, the Franciscan friars of the Alcantrine Reform at the Loreto monastery have no idea of the cluelessness behind the noisy kitchen of culinary Patron Saint “Pascual and the Kitchen Angels.”

Pascual's angelic experiences in the kitchen, for which he is honored as Patron Saint of Bakers and Cooks, are charmingly depicted in Tomie dePaola's children's story, "Pascual and the Kitchen Angels":

Aparició de l'Eucaristia a Sant Pasqual Bailon ("Apparition of the Eucharest to Saint Pasquale Baylon") by Bernardo López Piquer (August 20, 1801 – August 1, 1874)
Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia, east central coastal Spain
Museo de Bellas Artes de Valencia, east central coastal Spain

 

Pasquale Baylón Yubero (May 16, 1540 – May 17, 1592) was born in the village of Torrehermosa (“Beautiful tower”) in what then was the Kingdom of Aragon at what now is the Aragonese autonomous region within the Kingdom of Spain. He was given his Christian name for being born on la Pascua de Pentecostés (“the Feast of Pentecost”). Because of his love for animals, he was guided by his humble parents, Martino Baylón and Isabella Yubero, into being a shepherd. But he subsequently was permitted to make a career change because of:

  • Getting disputes ended peacefully;
  • Giving his food to the hungry;
  • Learning to read and write;
  • Perusing religious books;
  • Praying throughout the day;
  • Singing with the sheep.

 

Young Pascual expressed his love for animals through pray-filled care as a singing shepherd.

John Gilmary Shea, Pictorial Lives of the Saints (1922), p. 259
John Gilmary Shea, Pictorial Lives of the Saints (1922), p. 259

 

Pascual was accepted as a lay brother by the Franciscan friars of the Alcantrine Reform at Loreto’s monastery. As an autodidact (“self-taught”), he was allowed to do menial tasks instead of:

  • Feeding the poor;
  • Preaching.

Despite not knowing how to cook, he was assigned to kitchen duty for gifting the friars his Mother’s basket brimming with:

  • Cheeses;
  • Dried beans;
  • Eggs;
  • Flour;
  • Fruits;
  • Vegetables.

While he prayed with eyes closed and knees against the hard stone floor, his work was completed by angels and witnessed by the kitchen cat. Pascual thenceforth was given:

  • A friar’s habit for putting on the table apricots, beans, breads, cheeses, and oranges;
  • The responsibility of cooking for the friars and feeding the hungry.

 

St. Pasquale (Paschal) Baylon with sheep (bottom right): stained glass memorial to saintly Franciscan friar, Couvent Saint-François (St Francis Convent)

Paris, north central France
Paris, north central France

Conclusion

 

The story of Pascual -- Patron Saint of bakers, cooks, and shepherds -- numbers among the inspiring biographies of subsequently famous people who know early on what they hope to accomplish in life. In this regard, his résumé parallels that of author - illustrator Tomie dePaola, who remembers planning an artistic career as a four-year-old. Pascual and the Kitchen Angels indeed respects childhood experiences and personal preferences through the astute choices of:

  • Gina DiMassi and Marikka Tamur as designers;
  • G.P. Putnam’s Sons as publisher;
  • South China Printing Co. Ltd. as manufacturer.

Painted in acrylics and gesso on 140-pound handmade rough watercolor paper and typeset in Raleigh Demi Bold, the 2004-released publication welcomes ages 4 years and upward.

 

Pascual and the Kitchen Angels by Tomie dePaola

But when Pascual joins the Franciscans, they send him to the kitchen. Pascual doesn't know how to cook even a cup of beans! That's when the kitchen angels fly down, and delicious dinners appear on the friars' table night after night.
Tomie dePaola stories

Acknowledgment

 

My special thanks to:

  • Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.

 

Telling Stories with Tomie "Food as Storytelling"

Published on YouTube on May 10, 2013 by The Jim Henson Company ~ URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTnT1O7rYWI

Sources Consulted

 

dePaola, Tomie. 2004. Pascual and the Kitchen Angels. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam's Sons.

“Pascual and the Kitchen Angels.” Tomie.com: Tomie’s Books > Bibliography. Retrieved December 8, 2014.

  • Available at: http://www.tomie.com/books/bibliography/2004/pascual.html

“17 de mayo San Pascual Bailón (1540 – 1592).” Directorio Franciscano: Santoral Franciscano. Franciscanos.org. Retrieved December 8, 2014.

  • Available at: http://www.franciscanos.org/santoral/pascualbailon.htm

Shea, John Gilmary. 1922. Pictorial Lives of the Saints With Reflections for Every Day of the Year: Compiled from "Butler's Lives" and Other Approved Sources; To Which Are Added Lives of Certain Saints Contained in the Calendar of Special Feasts for the United States and Some Others Recently Canonized. New York, Cincinnati, Chicago: Benziger Brothers.

  • Available via Internet Archive at: https://archive.org/details/pictoriallivesof00shea

 

the end which is also the beginning
the end which is also the beginning

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Me and my purrfectly purrfect Maine coon kittycat, Augusta "Gusty" Sunshine

Gusty and I thank you for reading this article and hope that our product selection interests you; Gusty Gus receives favorite treats from my commissions.
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
DerdriuMarriner, All Rights Reserved
Updated: 12/08/2014, DerdriuMarriner
 
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