PASCUAL AND THE KITCHEN ANGELS
written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 2004
ISBN 0-399-24214-7 (hard-cover)

Notes on PASCUAL AND THE KITCHEN ANGELS by Tomie...

I have many good friends in Mexico. My friends are just like their country: lively, charming, colorful and very loving. It's one of the reasons I love to visit that great country south of our border.

Of course, if you know me, you know I also love to go to Mexico to go SHOPPING! - especially for Folk Art. (Those of you who were able to see the art show "Tomie & His Stuff" have seen the tip of my Folk Art "iceberg." Those who couldn't see "Tomie & His Stuff" will be able to see a slide show of the exhibition at NON-BOOK ART under BEING AN ARTIST.)

My best friend in Mexico is Dr. Mario Mercado. He is an eye doctor and surgeon and he helps me to "see better," not only with the right glasses, but by taking me to wonderful towns and markets.

One of Mario's good friends, and now mine, is Eduardo Fernandez. Eduardo's nickname is LALO. (Don't ask me why. It just is.) Lalo lived in the beautiful town of San Miguel de Allende. He bought old houses and re-did them and then sold them to mostly Americans. He got to meet many local craftsmen, including a woodcarver. Lalo would buy carvings of saints and paint them himself.

Lalo has visited me in my home. He loves my kitchen, especially the All-Clad pots and pans I cook with. Once when he visited, he made a chicken molé.

"I can't believe I'm in your kitchen cooking with your All-Clad pans!" Lalo said.

The next time Lalo came to visit with Mario, he brought me a gift for my kitchen. It was a hand-painted wood carving of San Pascual, the saint of the kitchen. Lalo had painted the saint himself. I immediately found a place for the humble saint who is wearing an apron and holding a wooden spoon and a bowl of dried beans.

Then, Lalo told me some of the stories about San Pascual. Now, you all know how much I love folktales, especially tales about the saints.

So, I told Margaret Frith, my editor, about my idea to do a book about Pascual and the Kitchen Angels.

I don't want to tell you the story here. I want you to see the book which has just been published this January.

 

Even though the story was so much fun to write, I had trouble with one thing - the ANGELS. I just couldn't seem to "see" how they looked. I sketched and sketched. I painted and painted. Oh, I liked what I was doing, but they just weren't right!

That night, I left my studio and went into my kitchen to start preparing dinner. "San Pascual," I said to the little carving, "let me 'see' the angels, please."

I started to get out the ingredients for the dish I was going to cook in my All-Clad pots and pans and suddenly I had an idea!

I have paper and pads and pencils and pens everywhere in my house, just in case an idea hits. So, I grabbed some paper (sometimes it's a paper napkin!) and started to sketch.

There, on the paper, was the way I would paint my Kitchen Angels!

"Thanks, Pascual," I said to the little carving. And thanks to you, too, Lalo! I thought.

The book is about how the Kitchen Angels helped Pascual cook.

I didn't need the Kitchen Angels to help me cook, but I did need them to help me to draw them. But maybe they were the Art Angels who helped me!

I hope you'll see the book. I think you'll find it fun to look at and to read.

Oh, and Happy Cooking! And Happy ART!

 
 
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