Sweet treats for Día de Muertos
Colorful, fun and somewhat creepy, brightly decorated sugar skulls (calaveritas) are an integral part of Day of the Dead celebrations.
Sugar Skulls (Calaveritas)
To make the skulls:
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- The white of 1 large egg
In a bowl, combine sugar and egg white with your fingers. Pack mixture firmly into skull molds. Scrape tops level. Bake at 200 F (93 C) for 20–30 min. until surface feels hard and solid when lightly pressed. Cool on wire rack.
To unmold: place a baking sheet over the mold; holding mold and pan together, turn over. Tap mold gently and then lift carefully off sugar skulls.
If mixture sticks to mold, dump back into bowl and stir in 2–4 tablespoons sugar; if mixture crumbles, return to bowl and mix in more egg white, 1 teaspoon at a time. If any skulls break, wash and dry mold and fill again, reusing sugar mixture.
To make icing:
- white of 1 large egg
- 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (optional)
Using a mixer on high speed, the egg white and cream of tartar (if available) until foamy. Beat in 1½ cups powdered sugar. Add more if needed to make a stiff icing. Blend in food coloring as desired.
Pipe icing onto cooled skulls to decorate, using a pastry bag with plain or decorative tips. Let dry at least 1 hour.
Store airtight in closed container or wrapped in plastic.
♦ Read full article: https://mexiconewsdaily.com/mexicolife/sweet-treats-for-dia-de-muertos/
Death comes alive with calacas, Mexico’s skeletal figures
A papier mache calaca version of Diego Rivera’s mural, “Dream of a Sunday afternoon in Alameda Park,” part of the annual mega altar set up annual by the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City.
Calacas today tend to represent one or more of three things: the fleeting nature of life; an acknowledgement of the reality of death by the living; or a reinforcement of Mexican identity, especially as it relates to the past. These modern interpretations have their origin with the work of political cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913). He created a myriad of clothed and active calacas reflecting the social and political reality of pre-Revolution Mexico. The most famous of these is La Catrina.
That was not his name for her. The original drawing was a skull wearing an ornate floral hat popular with late 19th-century upper-class women. They, and other European-style trappings, were also popular among mestizo and indigenous merchants who sold the fine ladies chickpeas and other “distinguishing” foodstuffs. Posada named his calaca figure La Garbancera (Chickpea Seller), and it was his criticism of women who denied their own heritage for financial gain.
It is more accurate to say that the La Catrina we know today is the creation of both Posada and Diego Rivera. Posada died in obscurity, but post-Revolution cultural authorities saw in his work an antecedent for the values they looked to promote. The name La Catrina first appears in a 1930 book about Posada, which Rivera was involved with. But the artist’s main contribution came through the 1948 mural Dream of a Sunday afternoon in Alameda Park.
Here, La Catrina not only has a body, a dress and a feather boa, she is surrounded by many past and contemporary Mexican notables, including Rivera himself as a child holding the calaca’s hand. The symbolism here is clear: death comes for everyone, no matter the social status.
♦ Read full article: Death comes alive with calacas, Mexico’s skeletal figures (mexiconewsdaily.com)
♦ Choo Ba’ak, Campeche’s Day of the Dead bone-cleaning tradition https://yucatanmagazine.com/choo-baak-campeches-day-of-the-dead-bone-cleaning-tradition/
♦ A big comeback for Paseo de las Ánimas in 2022 https://yucatanmagazine.com/a-big-comeback-for-paseo-de-las-animas-in-2022/