Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a holiday that I find absolutely fascinating. Coinciding with All Souls Day in the Catholic religion, the Mexican holiday on November 2nd celebrates all those we love who we have lost. Across Mexico and parts of the US and Canada, families build altars in memory of their loved ones using bright marigolds, sugar skulls and favorite foods of the deceased.
What I love about this holiday is the idea that we’re never very far from those we’ve loved and lost. I love that death is an extension of life and nothing to be feared. We spend so much time hiding from the inevitable, why not embrace it? In my opinion, November 2nd is as good a day to remember loved ones as any other. I like the idea of remembering people I’ve loved by foods they loved.
My grandmother used to make Taco Soup whenever there was a big family gathering. It’s not fancy, but whenever I make this soup I inevitably think of her and remember things she used to do… how she would wash, dry and iron dollar bills to be perfectly crisp, then tape them together, end on end for your birthday. We always got one extra dollar than our age for good luck. I remember going to do laundry at her house one of the last times I visited and finding dollars in the washing machine. I had long since become too old for this birthday gift, but she was still washing and ironing for my younger cousins.
Pan de Muerto is an essential part of Dia de los Muertos. It is a sweet, yeasty bread that is baked into a variety of shapes- from skulls to favorite animals- and serves as a part of the sustenance provided to the deceased on their journey. I could not find a gluten free version of this treat, but here are some conventional recipes to try. Enjoy!
» What dish reminds you of your loved ones?