Celebrating San Lorenzo Day
Well, nobody can say my life lacks diversity. The other day I got a newsletter from the Antigua Abacería San Lorenzo saying they would once again be celebrating San Lorenzo day, which made sense given that the bar is named after this saint (as is the barrio). But as I read the newsletter further I was surprised that this celebration would take the form of turning the bar into an “epicentre of roasted and grilled meats”. In case you don’t know, here is a bit of info about San Lorenzo…
Born in Huesca, Spain, San Lorenzo was a Roman deacon who was martyred four days after Pope Saint Sixtus II was put to death. After the pope was killed Lorenzo was instructed by the Prefect to gather all the riches of the church and render them unto Caesar. He had three days to accomplish this and, as the legend goes, he sought out the poor, widows and orphans of Rome and gave them all the money he had, even selling sacred vessels to increase the amount. After three days he gathered a large group of blind, lame, leprous, orphaned and widowed people and presented them to the Prefect saying “these are the treasures of the Church”. For this he was put to a slow and painful death on top of a large gridiron with live coals beneath it and, the legend concludes that, after enduring the pain for a very long time he made his famous cheerful remark, “I’m well done. Turn me over!”
Not surprising I guess, San Lorenzo is the patron saint of cooks and chefs.
And so off I went to take part in this unusual and – um, ironic? – festivity. We were greeted by owners Ramón and Mari Carmen and offered a glass of ponche alosnero (a white wine and peach punch from the village of Alosno in Huelva). Shortly afterwards platters of grilled goodies were passed around to everyone in the bar: sardines, chicken drumsticks, potatoes with mojo picón sauce, strips of “lagarto” Ibérico. Then we were treated to a bit of humourous free-verse from poet and neighbour José Luís Agudo Hill, designated “pregón” for the event, which finished with a flourish as José Luís brandished a small decorated BBQ grill to the delight and applause of the onlookers. There was still more to come as we were only half-way through the celebrations, but I had Saturday errands to attend to and so I took my leave.