San Guibin [Thanksgiving]


Do you think that seasoning-marinating a turkey on Sunday when it will be cooked and devoured on Thursday is too early?  Yes?  Then you are unfamiliar with the most sacred of Puerto Rican traditions.

Let me tell you a story.

On the fourth Thursday of November Puerto Ricans get together to celebrate Puerto Rico’s first (unofficial) Saint: San Guibin [with a silent u- and pronounced Thanksgiving in English].

As the story goes, San Guibin’s first, and only miracle, was that of turning that most Hemispheric-American bird, the bland turkey, into a delicious taste-like-frigging-pork dish that we have come to know as Pavo-Chon.

San Guibin mixed the finest herbs, spices and condiments (mostly salt, pepper, garlic and oregano- cough, cough) to make turkey palatable to Puerto Ricans circa the fourth Thursday of November, 1899. [Note to self: Need footnote here]

Later on, San Guibin also introduced the mashed plantain stuffing and white rum to the celebration. Who are we kidding? All researchers agree that the bottle of rum (or pitorro) ratio to turkey was close to 12 bottles per ounce of turkey. But I digress.

San Guibin’s odyssey is relived daily by Puerto Rican pilgrims and unsuspecting exchange college students who walk “El camino de pavo-chon”, which is also known by those less devout as the “Birra-Cruxis”.

Millions of Puerto Ricans, who will be showing off their hybrid culinary skills this Thursday (including me of course), owe this moment to San Guibin.

In the next installment we will reveal a rare image of San Guibin feeding, not the hungry, but those who stayed for seconds, or thirds, or…

san guibin

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