Cooking for the Day of the Dead
The Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos is an important holiday in Mexican culture in which the departed adults that have gone on to the afterlife once again walk the earth for a night. It is an opportunity to honor those who have left us behind and a very healthy approach to death that many other cultures would do well to adopt. This is a family event and as such there is typically a good deal of great food involved. If this is your first celebration of the Day of the Dead you are not alone. Most Americans never adopt this custom and those that are interested enough to try out some of the cuisine of this important day in Mexican society are very rarely versed in the tradition, which makes it difficult. Sugar skulls are a very important part of the Day of the dead festivities and can be decorated quite elaborately by skilled artisans.
If this is a tradition you'd like to explore there are many recipes for the mixture as well as forms for the skulls that can be found online. It is a fun art project that takes place in the kitchen for kids and grown-ups alike that also happens to provide a somewhat unique peek at another culture. The painting of the skulls can be very simplistic or as elaborate as you wish to make it. You should note that days when it is either raining or very humid are not good days for trying to make the sugar skulls so plan ahead and pay attention to the weather reports. Pan de Muerto is a staple for cooking on the day of the dead.
It has become known as day of the dead bread. There are many recipes ranging from simple in nature to extremely complex. They are all somewhat different and you may need to try a few before you find that one you like best. The best solution is probably to taste several different varieties and request the recipe for the one you prefer if you know the person who did the baking. Beef tamales are another excellent food for the day of the dead. They are also great to make ahead of time and freeze so that there is little actual prep work to be done on this day. You can also make tamales with the help of your little ones if you are so inclined. It makes them feel important and allows them to be big kids and big helps in the kitchen. Not only that, but when all is said and done they will appreciate the tamales that their efforts produced even more than if they had taken no part in the preparation. Another great tradition is to serve foods that the departed family members considered favorites.
This means that you may have quite a variety of foods on the table, depending on how large the family was and how many family members are dead. This is a tradition that was Indian in origin and is more strongly observed in areas that have the largest Indian population within Mexico and in some southwestern states within the United States. If you are looking to add a little excitement to your cooking feel free to do a little cooking for the Day of the Dead next time it comes around. PPPPP 568 .
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