THE SMALL BOILER IN AYERBE
Every month of September, around the second week, at six o´clock in the afternoon, if God wants and if the time does not prevent it, neighbors of Ayerbe go out with frying pans and whisks in hand in a popular celebration that has become, with the years, in a traditional act of the great celebrations of this locality in honor to Saint Leticia. We are speaking of the traditional small boiler.
The small boiler always is made the last day of the celebrations of Saint Leticia. It is not a tradition of religious character but it is a profane celebration.
This day, the groups of friends, relatives and neighbors, each one in its position customary, they meet every year to begin to prepare the last festive supper.
The squares of Ayerbe are seed of fire and it means that the great celebrations of Ayerbe are finishing. All ingredients and materials used to cook are prepared to make the stew: meat, potatoes, dressings, firewood, the frying pan and the whisk. In the preparation of the small boiler, as the saying goes," each teacher has its small book".
The small boiler is a recipe that it is very dificult it tastes of the same way that when it was cooked in another time. Between all stews that are prepared that day, we would not find two similar stews. What we can assure is that if we have water, oil, onion, garlic, potatoes, meat of lamb, we will be able to prepare a delicious small boiler.
Around six o´clock in the afternoon, the scent to burned firewood and smoke take step to the uproar of the " cooks " who are preparing, with hability and more or less help from the guests to have a supper, all the ingredients for the stew.
Between drink and drink of wine and brightened up by the music of the brass band, little by little it begins to change the scent to fire to become the fragrance of the old stew. Like most of the times, some ingredient will be lacking. This is the reason why between as many " street kitchens ", some ingredients will be lent between the groups and they will be given back next year in so similar circunstances.
About half past nine the appearance of the squares changes. People who are near to the cook looking how he is making the stew start to sit to taste the supper. Somr people sit on the sidewalks, others remove tables and chairs of its houses... It is warm and the temperature at dusk is quite pleasant to have a supper in the street.
When all have supper there is silence in the street. Broken the murmur by some firecrackers, outburst of laughter or uproar of some group of people, somebody always says: " It the best stew I have never eaten. It is better than the stew of the last year "
This is a friendly supper which is made in abundance so it can be distributed between all people that wish to taste it.
Sometimes, the haste to accompany the presidents in the last street band and others to avoid that the fire bull causes some uncomfortable digestion make that people have supper in much less time of the one than it costs to prepare so appraised plate. The dessert, coffee and drinks will be later.
At twelve o´clock at night when the bonfires of each small boiler have been extinguished, the bravest people run the well-known fire bull. When the fire bull finalizes, the string of fireworks is the last act with which finalizes the celebrations in honour to Saint Leticia.