by Ed Halmagyi


Even a cursory inspection of the list of Catholic saints is enough to convince me that the church has covered every base.

From millers to wax melters, beekeepers to vinegar makers, tinsmiths to job-seekers, there is a patron saint for every conceivable occupation. In fact, you might think the patronage system is archaic and outdated, but Isidore of Seville is the patron saint of computer users. She is, ironically, also the patron saint of computer technicians, although one suspects that mid-crisis these two antithetical groups may well be praying in opposite directions.

There is even a patron saint of cutlers, those who manufacture the devices with which we eat…well, actually there are four saints of cutlery. St Eligius takes care of those devices made exclusively of metal, having resolved to be a patron of smiths of all orders. St Lucy of Syracuse is focussed on the knives rather than spoons and forks, a testament to having had her eyes cut out as part of her martyrdom. St Catherine of Alexandria loves cutlery, but is mostly concerned with knife sharpening – offering her succour to those who struggle to retain a sharp edge on their carving blade.

But St Lawrence is the key man when it comes to tools for eating. He not only represents those who make all manner of cutlery, but he stands up for those who make and use kitchen cooking devices too. Not just the forks and knives, he’s there for the tongs and whisks as well.

But it did make me wonder. If St Lawrence is the patron saint of cooking utensils, where do we draw the line. Consider skewers as an example. Now if they’re steel skewers he’d probably have to share responsibilities with St Eligius (the metal thing is complicated), and if they’re bamboo he’d run into St Francis Xavier who helps out on all matters Chinese, or St Joseph who patronises woodworkers.

But sometimes skewers can be made out of aromatic plants, like rosemary. For this St Lawrence would have to share the load with St Phocus the Gardener who tends to our edible plants.

In essence, however you choose to genuflect, this recipe is twice blessed.
Pork and orange rosemary skewers