By Yvette Marquez, Vive Mejor Ambassador
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1 and 2. The holiday focuses on gathering family and friends to honor the memory of the departed. Día de los Muertos is neither scary nor somber; it is joyous.
Every year, I love to teach my family and friends ways to honor and celebrate our departed. I’m sure it might sound odd, “celebrate our departed”, but to me, it truly is healing. This holiday is a time to reflect and remember all the happy memories you have with your loved ones who have passed away, and take the time to share stories.
You don’t have to visit their gravestone to do this – you can celebrate and honor them in your home and build a home altar or simply host a gathering inviting close friends or relatives and make traditional Mexican pan de muerto, also known as Day of the Dead bread!
It’s actually very easy to celebrate Día de los Muertos:
• You can host an intimate and elegant party with friends and family and serve a few traditional Mexican holiday recipes with a twist: Latin style grilled corn slathered in a creamy chili-lime mayo sprinkled with cotija; sweet and spongy pan de muerto; and rich, hot, and slightly spicy chocolate tea.
• Decorate your dining table with traditional and brightly embroidered Mexican textiles, vibrant and aromatic flowers, glistening candles, and ceramic skulls.
• To set the mood put on some Latin music, set out the hot chocolate, and pass around family photos to share stories about your departed loved ones.
All these recipes are very simple to make and can easily be made the day before your event so you can enjoy your time hosting instead of cooking. The only dish cooked on the day of was the corn, which was quickly grilled outdoors.
¡Buen provecho y feliz Día de los Muertos!
Yvette Marquez, Vive Mejor Ambassador
Latin Style Grilled Corn : This is a Latin twist to an American classic. A common Mexican street food, this corn is slathered in butter and grilled, and then coated with a mixture of mayo, fresh lime juice, chili powder, seasonings, sprinkled with crumbled cotija cheese, and a drizzle of lime. The combination of the sweet corn with the salty cheese and spicy chili powder makes for an delicious side for this occasion. You can serve the grilled corn on a platter with small bowls of the sauce, cheese, and lime on the side so everyone can make their own. Cotija is a crumbly Mexican cheese that can be found in Latin markets and many grocery stores. If you cannot find cotija, substitute with Parmesan in this recipe. But whatever you do, don’t skimp out on the mayo -- Hellmann's® or Best Foods® mayonnaise are both made with real simple ingredients and uses 100% cage free eggs. It’s the secret ingredient adding a delicious and rich flavor to the grilled corn.
Pan de Muerto : A Dia de los Muertos fiesta is not complete without the sweet, buttery bread, pan de muerto (bread of the dead). This traditional round loaf of bread has strips of dough rolled out and attached on top to resemble bones. This bread is traditionally eaten and left on gravesites or on altars as part of the festivities. Regular butter takes about 45 minutes to soften. This recipe is made with Country Crock Spread making for faster baking since it can be used straight out of the fridge and has a delicious taste with simple ingredients you can recognize and pronounce. I would highly suggest making this recipe into three small loaves instead of one large loaf. This bread is too special and having some leftovers for breakfast is such a treat with a smear of Country Crock Spread and a hot cup of coffee. Day-old bread also makes great French toast.
Hot 'N Spicy Chocolate Tea : There is something special about tea and hot chocolate that warms the soul. These flavors are combined to make this Hot 'N Spicy Chocolate Tea. Every delicious sip is a warm blend of spices and chocolaty goodness that melts into joy. For a dairy free option replace milk with soy milk, coconut milk, or almond milk. This tea is made with fresh brewed black tea by Lipton – a delicious blend that includes carefully selected and fresh-pressed tea leaves. Warm up this fall with this super easy hot drink and indulge in the richness of chocolate, black tea, and spices.