Honoring the Dead By Feeding Them

Understanding the food-filled altars of Día de los Muertos

You may not have noticed, but the elaborate Día de los Muertos altars that pop up this time of year are full of really good-looking (and presumably good-tasting) food. They’re loaded with freshly baked pan de muerto (an anise-and-cinnamon-spiced sweet bread baked only at this time of the year—and exclusively for this purpose), platters brimming with things like dark mole made from scratch, and piles of ripe fruit. Not to mention unopened bottles of the beers, wines, and spirits that deceased honorees liked to drink when they were alive.

Fruit, aromatic pan de muerto (sweet, spongy, egg bread baked with cinnamon, anise, and citrus zest), and nicuatole (a milk custard gelatinized with toasted corn powder) are essential altar treats.

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Forget the Ouija Board

If you want to get into divination this Halloween season, check out these alternatives to the game that rhymes with ‘squeegee’

Vicky Adams

Several writers, including award-winning poet James Merrill, claim they've published works composed with the help of spirits conjured and consulted via Ouija boards. Most of the movies featuring such a board (such as the imaginatively titled Ouija, Hasbro's second attempt at a major motion picture following 2012's Battleship), however, all seem to be based on urban legends about the horrors unleashed by its misuse in the hands of morons.

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