The Day of the Dead

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My friends Donna and Dian in California introduced me to the Day of the Dead, la Dia de los Muertos, which is fast becoming one of my favorite holidays.

I gather that there are actually TWO days of the dead. On November 1, the spirits of dead children return to earth to join us. On November 2, adults follow.

Dian and Donna have wonderful, elaborate ofrendas, shrines dedicated to the memory of people they have lost. The ofrendas feature flowers, candles, trinkets, foods the people loved, skulls made of sugar, and even chocolate skulls.

I am only just starting to celebrate this holiday so my ofrenda is quite small—but I had fun putting it together. I brought it along to my most recent appearance on the television program Mass Appeal. I made Mexican hot chocolate in honor of the day and of my father (who LOVED chocolate).

The hot chocolate recipe, and the chocolate with which I made it, came from Taza Chocolate. I have tried making the hot chocolate with both vanilla-flavored chocolate (plus a little cinnamon) and the guajillo chile chocolate we used on the TV show. The chile chocolate might be a bit strong for kids, but it has a nice kick. And either frothy chocolate drink is fluffy and creamy.

Next year, I hope to give you a recipe for the traditional bread for the Day of the Dead, which you can see in the photograph of my ofrenda. I’m still working on the right formula!

Meanwhile, Happy Day of the Dead—and of course Happy Halloween. If you watch the video at the bottom of this post, you’ll see us make pumpkin bread for Halloween as well as the hot chocolate.

hotchocweb

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

1 2.7-ounce package (2 discs) Mexican chocolate
2 cups milk
1 pinch salt

Instructions:

Roughly chop or grate the chocolate. Set it aside.

Heat the milk over medium heat until it ALMOST starts to simmer. Remove the milk from the heat, and toss in the salt.

Slow add the chocolate, stirring until it dissolves.

Return the mixture to the stove and warm it up again over low heat. While it is heating, use a whisk, a frother, or an immersion blender to froth it.

Serves 2.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El2Pi_U-3rk[/youtube]

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7 Responses to “The Day of the Dead”

  1. Donna says:

    Tinky! That’s fabulous! What a wonderful altar!!!!!!

  2. tinkyweisblat says:

    Why, thank you, Donna. I appreciate the inspiration!

  3. Adelaide B. Shaw says:

    Hi Tinky,

    We love hot chocolate at our house and use (I must confess) to a powered chocolate drink mix. Heat milk in the microwave, add powered chocolate as much as taste buds like, stir and drink.

    In the Catholic Church Halloween is followed by two days of remembering the dead: All Saints Day, a day to remember those in heaven, and All Souls Day, a day to pray for those souls who are in Purgatory, a place between Heaven and Hell, a place where the Souls have gone because they had not yet atoned for some of their sins, sins not bad enough for Hell. These days started out as part of pagan rituals before Christianity.

  4. Adelaide B. Shaw says:

    Hi Tinky,

    We love hot chocolate at our house and use (I must confess) to a powered chocolate drink mix. Heat milk in the microwave, add powered chocolate as much as taste buds like, stir and drink.

    In the Catholic Church Halloween is followed by two days of remembering the dead: All Saints Day, a day to remember those in heaven, and All Souls Day, a day to pray for those souls who are in Purgatory, a place between Heaven and Hell, a place where the Souls have gone because they had not yet atoned for some of their sins, sins not bad enough for Hell. These days started out as part of pagan rituals before Christianity.

  5. tinkyweisblat says:

    Hot chocolate in any form works! This isn’t much harder than a mix if you want to try it, Adelaide. The Day of the Dread tradition is very similar to what you’re talking about, which makes sense since most people in Mexico are Catholic. November 1 is the day for children to return to earth (I guess they’re the saints!). November 2 is for everybody else (I guess the Purgatory crowd). I figure any day on which we remember the dead is a good one.

  6. Awesome posting. I want to make an ofrenda too!

  7. tinkyweisblat says:

    Wonderful! If you do, please post a photo and let me know.

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