Writing Dia de Los Muertos + Vegan Elote!


My family celebrates the traditional Mexican holiday of Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead every year by going to the local festival. There are tons of amazing food, music, costumes, and games.


We usually paint the traditional skull or Catrina makeup on our faces and don either a crown of beautiful flowers or a fun hat before heading out.


My favorite is the music which reminds me of my mother and grandmothers. I've lost all of them but being able to remember and honor them with family and friends makes missing them a little easier. It's traditional to make the favorite foods of departed loved ones and to place photos around to remember them in good times.


My mother loved Elote, which is corn on a stick dressed with a combination of spicy seasonings, cool creams, and salty cheese. It truly is amazing. I remember walking around a cold fall night with the scent of sizzling carne asada, savory corn, and sweet

drinks in the air.

Due to the pandemic and California's need to lock down, this year's celebration was canceled. No matter, we decided to have some fun at home.


And, of course, we had to have some Elote. Ours is vegan and has the tastiest queso fresco I've ever had. It's from my favorite vegan channel, Airam’s Vegan Vida. You can find the recipe here.


We pounded the sticks into the corn cobs and boiled the corn for fifteen minutes. Some people like to roast it in the husk, but I wanted to mimic the way its sold at street fairs. When it's still hot, we put out a bunch of traditional toppings like vegan butter, Chile Limon salt, Veganaise flavored with lime, and a mixture made of crumbled queso fresco, chopped fresh cilantro, and garlic powder. You can substitute Mexican style vegan shreds if you don't have the queso fresco. It's an amazing and nostalgic treat for me and I hope you enjoy it.


As I close in on the climax of my current novel, I am excited to finally get to write the scene of Elara and her family at a similar kind of celebration years in the future. I wonder how it will look. How much of the traditions I grew up with will survive fifty, even sixty years from now? Will our way of celebrating and coming together look the same? The research for my book and particularly this holiday has been eye-opening and a lot of fun. I thought I had known all about Day of the Dead, but as I've found quite often. There's always something more to learn.

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