Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars

(Note: The italicized portion of the following article is an excerpt from something I wrote for an encyclopedia on the history of dining and entertaining, Entertaining from Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl, Greenwood Press, 2008.) In Mexico, the Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos) (Day of the Dead/All Saints’ Day) resembles the norteamericano Halloween…

December 12: The Virgin of Guadalupe

Patron Saint of Mexico and the Americas Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes once said that “…one may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe.” Apocryphal or not, the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe makes fascinating reading. And the food’s pretty…

In the Kitchen with Barbara Kingsolver: I

I’m going to bed every night now with Barbara Kingsolver’s latest book, The Lacuna: A Novel, about Mexico, politics, art, El Norte, and — best of all — cooks. After her last book (Animal, Vegetable, Mineral: A Year of Food Life), Kingsolver still finds food a fascinating part of life. In The Lacuna, here’s how…

Halloween: Art

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! For more on the Day of the Dead in Mexico, see my previous post: Día de los Muertos (Todos Santos)/ Day of the Dead Food-Laden Altars .

Deep Roots: A Love Note to the Lowly Carrot

A dish of carrot hastily cooked may still have soil uncleaned off the vegetable. ~~ Chinese Proverb Except for the feathery grey braids poking out from under the rebozo, she looked like a child washing dishes. But she wasn’t a child and she wasn’t washing dishes. Rinsing the large carrot— one about the size of…

Slapdown Corner: For the Love of Food!

Like a pot of water heating on the fire, the “meaning of foodie” conversations percolating out there come to boil at times. And at times the heat gets turned off and things simmer down.* Until the next finger-pointing pundit comes flying out of the air. Frankly, it gets tiresome when people exercise their index fingers…

Diana Kennedy’s Menu for Charles, Prince of Wales

In 2002, Diana Kennedy, well-known author of Mexican cookbooks, served the following menu to the man who would be king, Charles, Prince of Wales:* Cocktails & Appetizers Tequila Apéritifs Fresh Tortillas Small Pumpkin Seeds Toasted and Ground with Roasted Habanero Chilies Guacamole Enhanced with Grapes and Pomegranate Seeds Meal Cream-of-Squash-Flower Soup Pork Loin Baked in…

Nachos: Etymology of a Food Word

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) provides many food writers with the tools to plot out the history of certain foods. But just how do those intrepid word researchers find their information? What’s their go-to source? Adriana P. Orr served as a researcher for OED for 25 years. At one point later in her career, she…