Sign In / Sign Up

Día Delights

Global Feature
#0828
By: Elizabeth Winslow
Día Delights

Looking for a fall celebration that's more delicious than a bagful of stale Halloween candy? Dating back centuries with roots in an Aztec festival, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that brings friends and family together to remember and honor the deceased. Like any holiday worth its salt, the celebration centers on food—especially dishes beloved by the departed.

Mexico City-born chef Iliana de la Vega, owner of Austin's El Naranjo restaurant, recalls Día de los Muertos celebrations from childhood: "My mom was from Oaxaca, and she always put up an altar at our house. My little Mexico City friends didn't know what to make of it back then, but now people celebrate the holiday all over the country, as well as here in the U.S." 

Not surprisingly, her strongest memories of the holiday connect to its food. "We always made mole, tamales and a big pot of chicken soup, but people make all kinds of things," she says. "It really depends on your own family traditions."

Elaborately-decorated sugar skulls and pan de muerto, a rich, sweet, golden, orange and anise-spiked egg bread are essential treats during the three-day holiday. Altars filled with keepsakes, offerings, and bunches of marigolds can create the backdrop for your gathering, while stories, remembrances and lively music provide the soundtrack. 

What's on the menu? You can't go wrong starting off with a seasonal Apple Habanero Margarita, with a rim of peppery cinnamon salt, and here are more menu ideas for a delightful Día celebration:

As guests arrive, get the party started with big bowls of Chile and Lime-Roasted Cashews and High Spirited Guacamole. Cinnamon-spiced Horchata is a great non-alcoholic beverage option.

For the main course, smoky Chicken Tinga and Pasilla Chile Mole can feed (and please!) a crowd. Turkey and quinoa-packed Albondigas Verde with Sweet and Sour Glaze are easy to make ahead and will disappear in a flash. Serve everything with warm corn chips, Grilled Corn Mango Salsa and a big crock of Beans with Cumin Seed.

For dessert, arrange Mexican Chocolate Almond Cookies on a big platter and let guests help themselves. If the evening's chilly, mugs of Cinnamon Hot Chocolate make for a cozy finish to the meal.

Where you go from there is up to you, but celebrating loved ones with delicious food and drink is a wonderfully whimsical and spooky way to live it up!

Elizabeth Winslow is a writer, food blogger, teacher, and entrepreneur in Austin, Texas. She is a regular contributor to Edible Austin and creates compelling content for brands both large and small. She has an M.A. in Literature from the University of Texas at San Antonio and teaches cooking classes with Kitchen Underground. Winslow + co

Spice Islands® spices deliver high quality, authentic flavors from all over the world so you can put the most delicious meals on your table.

 

Additional Content


Recent
Pho: Vietnamese Soup for Morning, Noon or Night
Pho: Vietnamese Soup for Morning, Noon or Night
Eggs, bacon, pancakes and cereal might be what comes to mind when you think about a traditional breakfast. In Vietnam, however, the day begins with bright and nourishing pho — bowls of broth, a tangle of rice noodles and an accompanying plate of fresh bean sprouts, slices of lime and jalapeno, purple basil, scallions and cilantro.
Global
Explore Israel's Flavors for Independence Day
Explore Israel's Flavors for Independence Day
Each spring, the people of Israel celebrate the country's establishment as a sovereign state and Jewish homeland.
Global
Create Your Own Fiesta for Cinco de Mayo
Create Your Own Fiesta for Cinco de Mayo
The perfect excuse for a Mexican-themed dinner, Cinco de Mayo is a fiesta just waiting to happen.