Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Today is a very important day, for several reasons.

First and foremost, it's election day! I certainly hope that you've all done your patriotic duty, and cast your vote.

Okay. I promise, that's probably the only political issue you'll hear me talk about on this blog.

Next, today is important because it is Día de los Muertos, a traditional Mexican holiday. It is believed that the souls of beloved deceased return to earth to visit their living relatives. Families usually gather together and pray and honor their loved ones. Altars are decorated with marigolds, candles, food, and sugar skulls to entice the spirits back home.

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a terrible Mexican.

It's not that I'm not proud of my heritage; in fact, it's the exact opposite. I'm half Japanese AND half Mexican, something that I'm very proud of. But growing up was a little difficult. Other than the confusion and the weird looks followed by questions of, "What are you?", some lesser-known holidays from both cultures got lost in the mix.

Sadly, Día de los Muertos is one of those holidays. But now that I'm older, I'm trying to change that.

Today, I took a step in what I think is the right direction of embracing my beautiful heritage, and I decided to do that with food and baking.

Another festive food item that comes with celebrating Día de los Muertos is pan de muerto, or bread of the dead. (side note, "pan" is also bread in Japanese! How cool is that?) I spent some time reading over recipes and finally selected one that involved an orange glaze (yum!)...and here's the result!

Gorgeous, right?

Pan de muerto is traditionally eaten with the family and served with Mexican hot chocolate (usually laced with cinammon), and they remember and honor the dead. Unfortunately, I have class until 10 pm tonight, and I don't anticipate getting to enjoy this bread with them, but it smells so good that I might just bake this again next year.

So here's to my grandparents, Manuel and Ruth. While I never met my grandmother, I understand that she was an amazing cook; my grandfather lived to be 99 years old, and he was a fighter until the end. I hope my pan de muerto is good enough to honor their memory. Here's to being a better Mexican, and here's to a new tradition.

Happy baking, everyone :)

1 comment:

  1. You're right; your bread looks gorgeous! The start of a great tradition:)