St. Lucia of Syracuse was punished for rejecting a man –perhaps all men– and for giving her dowry to the poor. Encouraged by St. Agatha of Catania, Lucy’s faith made her so strong that neither force nor fire could destroy her.
Through ceremony that fire is understood as light in the darkness, enough light to get through the winter days. In the Nordic countries, St. Lucy’s Day comes at the time of winter solstice. Celebrations on this day include candlelit processions led by a contemporary Lucy who wears a crown of candles.
Depending what country you are celebrating in, St. Lucy’s Feast could be pasta, cookies, or special saffron buns but while we are repurposing traditions about violence against women – a “feast” seems to call for something more tender and attentive to the complexities of gender, history, and ritual.
So I propose a feast which is not difficult to make, but require attention, and produces a experience of complexity.
The salad “Gargouille” is considered a “historical artistic creation” of Chef Michel Bras. The presentation at Alejandro Digilio’s La Vinería de Gualterio Bolíver in Buenos Aires went like this:
“This is the salad of 19 things. It has some roots and some shoots. Some herbs and some flowers. Some leaves and some fruits. Some are cooked. Some are raw. Some are hot, some are cold…”
Patiently search your pantry, your farmers market, and your garden until you find 19 things. Prepare each one with care. When you put 19 things into a salad, every bite is different.
A feast honoring faithful determination, overlooked abundance, and unavoidable complexity.