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There’s a lot to love about Día de los Muertos | Food news | Detroit

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Tokens of deceased family members’ favorites are displayed during a offered.

Chowhound is a weekly column about trends in Detroit food culture. Advice: (email protected).

Much more than just a Mexican Halloween: At the risk of ruffling some religious feathers, this Christian finds a reason to commemorate the afterlife at this time of year. No, I don’t go into the dark pretending to be something monstrously opposed to my faith, and, yes, I can bristle at costumes that irritate my sensibilities. The pleasure that many find quite innocent in transforming themselves into naughty little angels and devils for a night is something that others may be strongly against. Could some conscientious objectors be overreacting to this Halloween thing, at least a little? Let me confess that I certainly did. A true son of a nun myself (long story), I once drunkenly judged a student dressed as a pregnant Catholic nun at a Ferris State frat party. After starting off sarcastically by telling her how much she reminded me of my mother, I moved into a totally drunken rant that ended with her suggesting she name the pillow stuffed under her dress after me. Two Sig Eps kicked me out of their house right after.

These days, I’m much less affected by the outfits people choose to wear and much more sober when making judgments. As for Halloween itself, I’ve come to appreciate it in the same spirit that Mexican culture celebrates Día de los Muertos right after the Gringo Festival (traditionally November 1st and 2nd). With a ritual generally recognized as being rooted in medieval European observances, the Spanish probably imported in part (All Saints’ Day/Feast of Souls and the “Dance of Death”), themes of loved ones being remembered happily and a Humorous acceptance of the fleeting nature of life are reflected throughout the Mexican diaspora via the Día de los Muertos tradition.

Food is part of the problem. Testimonies of favorites of deceased family members are on display at offerings; intimate altars installed for the occasion in family homes or on real graves. Pan of death (Sweet challah-like breads and buns with skeletal shapes and baked stripes) are placed alongside marigold flowers native to Mexico, whose petals are said to have the power to open paths between this world and the ‘other. Classically flavored with orange and anise, these breads are out of this world, that’s for sure. Metro Detroit bakeries like Mexican Town (4300 Vernor Hwy.), Sheila’s (2142 Springwells St.), and La Gloria (3345 Bagley St.), among others, can offer them this season. Here’s a suggestion: get at least one good loaf of bread to make French toast at home. Stir a few drops of vanilla and/or almond extract into your eggs and cinnamon to add more flavor to the bread slices. It’s death by dulce and delicious. Want to turn things into a festive adult brunch? Make almendrado mimosas to accompany. A tequila-based almond liqueur, almendrado is excellent mixed with orange juice (think a punchier Amaretto Sour, with or without a spritz of sparkling wine or water). My best mix is ​​almendrado, pineapple juice and fresh lime. What a rico!

Besides the accoutrements meant to satisfy the sweet tooth, Día de los Muertos ceremonies offer a fearless breath of fresh air in contemplating an afterlife that no mortal has ever visited, returned and reported on with verifiable authority. Instead of haunting suspicions, what-ifs, and frightening uncertainties, the myth of the “muertos” is more about embracing the belief that life continues on both sides of that which separates the living from their dearly departed, and the idea that It is a veil thin enough to travel with a certain serenity, coming and going. It’s far from being those infernals, let’s say, Conspiracy plots, but pretty much exactly like Pixar/Disney’s coconut. THE Los Angeles TimesRobert Abele – one of several film critics who have praised its storytelling – went so far as to say: “If an animated film is going to offer children a way to understand death, it’s hard to imagine a more fiery, more touching and more relaxed film. funny example that coconut.” Consider this quote when choosing a kid-friendly Halloween movie to watch. Abele’s compliments speak to the script’s close adherence to its subject matter of Mexican tradition, just as it does to any other production value. Maybe you haven’t seen yet coconut or just haven’t for a while, maybe you should do it in the next couple of weeks, if only for the sake of contrast and comparison, before you binge watch the whole thing. 13 installments (ooh, how scary is that number?) of the Michael Myers film Halloween saga. Blech. Gag me with a goalie mask.

Don’t make a mistake. The devil is real. This is my belief. Still, I don’t believe that being out one late October night a year playing monster or villain makes one more vulnerable to the evil or invites them to their deceptions and temptations. I’ve experienced 61 Halloween nights this year, and over 22,000 days to boot. Doing the math, all of my October 31st days combined represent only 0.0003% of the time I’ve had on this Earth thus far to earn myself a privileged place in the afterlife. Truth be told, between the Halloweens I spent as an innocent child trick-or-treating or as a father taking my own children to revel in that same sweet tradition, this last calendar day of October m did so much good. as any Christmas cheer could. There is no day of the year that can make us better or worse simply by its appearance or disappearance. As always, with everything, it’s what we choose to do with ourselves at any given moment. What is dear to us or what we let pass. These most important things that we sometimes forget and others that are impossible to forget, which remind me:

In my first 45 years, I gave birthday cards to someone celebrating their birth on Halloween night; filling them with half a lifetime of X’s and O’s. Growing up, I would simply slip envelopes on his bed the mornings after “Devil’s Night” here in Detroit. After leaving the house at 8 p.m., I sent most of the others by long distance mail to reach her. In the fall of 2007, his death separated us even further.

These days, Halloween reminds me most fondly of my mother. I miss you mom. Hugs and kisses. I’ll be home soon.

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