Sugar skulls were sold in market stalls (1908 image). Other items for the family alters include candles, Pan de Muerto (a sweet yeast bread), mole and other foods. Several upcoming virtual events are listed below. Some give history and make one of the items such as a sugar skull artist. Dia de Muertos is Nov 2 with activities beginning on Oct 31.From 1919:
"Dia de Muertos " (All Souls' Day) is greatly observed in Mexico City by persons visiting the cemeteries and decorating the graves of departed relatives or friends with beautiful wreaths and flowers. The resting-places of the dead are crowded, all the tramways that lead to the different cemeteries are full of passengers all day long, coming and going.
During the day preceding and the day after, as well as "Dia de Muertos," booths are erected, sometimes near the Zocalo or Alameda, where peculiar toys and sweet-meats are sold in shapes of skulls, tombs, etc., all of funereal aspect, but which strange to say do not frighten the children, who buy these queer toys and take home to play with them. A bread is also sold called "pan de muerto" (dead man's bread), made into these weird shapes.
Godoy, Mercedes. When I was a Girl in Mexico. Boston: 1919
Food for the Ancestors is a documentary made in 1999 by Professor Jan Thompson and Dr. Bruce Kraig. It was shown on PBS, where it still can be seen, as well as schools over the years. Thompson will talk about the making of the film, the food and heritage. Clips of the film and recipes will be sent prior to the Zoom on Sunday, Nov. 1 at 3pm.
Celebrating Dia de Muertos. Pan de Muerto history. Sweet yeast bread. Fanny Gerson. El Museo del Barrio. NY Oct 26 TAPE HERE
Dia de los Muertos. History of mole and prepare Enmoladas. Artbites for La Plaza de Cultura y Artes. CA Oc 26 2020 HERE TAPE HERE
Calaveras de Azúcar (sugar skulls) on Día de Muertos. Graciela Caro (sugar skull artist). Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. IN. Oc 31 2020 HERE. TAPE HERE
Día de los Muertos Virtual Weekend Celebration. The Basics. Paper marigolds. Celebrating the Rich Culinary Heritage (mole and pan de muerto). Also Nov 1 Sun 2-3. Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. DC Oc 31 2020HERE TAPE HERE
Nov 1 Sun 3-4 Food for the Ancestors. Jan Thompson. Culinary Historians of Northern Illinois. $10 HERE
Calendar of virtual Food History talks HERE
Image: Commercial calavera. These calaveras are the real thing, meant for all tricky and fraudulent merchants. [translation of title. Calaveras – skulls] Mexico City: Antonio Vanegas Arroyo, 1908. Library of Congress
©2020 Patricia Bixler Reber
Researching Food History HOME