Combine an artistic celebration of the saints with some heavenly salsa


With All Saints Day soon at hand (Nov. 1), a heavenly contingent of “Santeros” on exhibit at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton is lifting spirits and touching hearts.

Treat yourselves to the sight of these wonderful carvings by the Lopez Family — Felix, Joseph and Krissa — masters of this centuries old artistic tradition. Originally conceived as substitutes for the religious images from Spain and Mexico that were all but impossible for colonists in 18th century New Mexico to come by, the carvings became important works of art, recognized for their own merit.

Made of materials native to New Mexico, the sculptures are either in the round or in relief and present delightful interpretations of such saints as Nicholas with his tall mitre and staff, Isidore (patron of farmers) with his garden implements and Peter with the keys of his office. Carvings of Jesus bearing his Cross and many depictions of Mary, the Mother of God, capture the imagination.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Janet Yurkanin, diocesan director of migration and refugee services, and I had the good fortune to see this delightful exhibit recently and enjoyed the experience tremendously. For us, it was a wonderful introduction into the art form which appears in many museum collections.

The carved santos reflect one of the oldest living traditions of religious devotion practiced by Hispanic Americans. It’s an enduring Latino tradition and wonderful to behold.

For me, the afternoon sparked a desire to enjoy a “taste” of  Latino cuisine back at home. That big, stainless steel bowl full of late, late summer tomatoes was too compelling to ignore. I began chopping, dicing and peeling tomatoes, did the same with some avocado (always on hand) and some mango (most usually on hand) and concocted a heavenly salsa to savor with the memory of a very fine day.

Ingredients: 1 mango – peeled, seeded and diced; 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced; 4 medium tomatoes (the last of the best are on market shelves now); 1 chili pepper, seeded and minced; 1/2 cup Italian parsley (or cilantro if you prefer); 3 cloves minced garlic; 1 teaspoon salt; 2 tablespoons lime juice; 1/4 cup chopped red onion; 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.

Directions: In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, tomatoes, pepper and parsley and stir til blended. Stir in the salt, lime juice, red onion and olive oil. Refrigerate before serving with tortilla chips.

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