The Ultimate Comfort Foods

Mexico altar, LuisVG Wikimedia

Lisa Rogak’s book Death Warmed Over explores the world’s ultimate comfort foods: 75 recipes typically served at funeral ceremonies of different cultures around the globe. With Halloween (and Mexico’s Day of the Dead) just around the corner, Lisa joins ES to share a recipe for bread of the dead.

While there are many funeral traditions throughout Mexico, the best-known post-funeral celebration is The Day of the Dead, also known as All Souls’ Day, on November 2nd. Officially, it is the one day of the year when dead ancestors return to earth to visit. November 1st is All Saints’ Day, and traditionally, celebrations begin that evening, though in the daytime families tend to honor children who have died, reserving the evenings for adult ancestors.

On November 2nd, the family will spend the day at the cemetery where loved ones are buried. They clean the area around the grave, wash the tombstone, and place the deceased’s favorite foods around the grave. Huge flower arrangements are also common. Most families also build a small altar – either at the gravesite or at the home or office – and place food offerings and favorite items on it as well

Food is also a central part of Day of the Dead celebrations for those still walking the earth: Special black plates and bowls are only sold during the last two weeks in October and bakeries make hundreds of the life-size skull-shaped cakes with the name of the deceased written in frosting on the forehead. In fact, candy and desserts take center stage during the Day of the Dead, from chocolate caskets to candy skeletons. Indeed, like other cultures that saved biscuits and cakes from the funeral as a memento of a lost loved one, many Mexicans will hold onto these candy bones for years.

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)

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The Top 10 Craziest Street Foods in the World

Editor’s Note: This article is brought to you by Rease Kirchner of, a team of foodie writers delivering a menu of delights to your inbox: daring delicacies, foodie travel tips and easy recipes to re-create in your own world kitchen. Follow the Fugu on Twitter @TheFlyingFugu.

For our money, we’d say street food is usually just as delicious as fancier restaurant fare (if not more so). And we’re not just talking about sandwiches and hot dogs. Take a look at the ten wackiest street food finds from around the globe — each one actually a very common find in one particular corner of the earth.

10. Fruit with Chili Powder — Mexico

You may think it’s odd to put something spicy on something sweet, but Mexicans do it all the time. It is very common to pick up fruit in a bowl or on a stick with some spicy chili powder sprinkled on top. Think of it as a twist on the sweet and salty combo — Mexico has sweet and spicy instead! (Photo: Spotreporting)

9. Chicken Feet — China

These grilled feet may look disturbingly similar to a human hand, but don’t worry, they actually come from a chicken. The meat is described as a bit chewier than a chicken leg might be. On the street, they are generally served grilled with some spices, on a stick or just in a basket. (Photo: Whologwhy)

8. Bugs on a Stick — Thailand

In Thailand,insects like crickets, grasshoppers and worms are fried up, shoved on a stick and served up to anyone with a rumbling tummy. The taste varies by the insect and the spices used to flavor them. In general, the insects are crunchy on the outside and a little soft on the inside. Mmm…soft and flavorful bug guts. (Photo: Star5112)

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Cocktail O’Clock: Mexico Meets Thailand

Here’s one the will make you reeeeeally mad that you live somewhere so freaking cold. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Mexico shared their recipe for a margarita that mixes things up with two typically southeast Asian ingredients — tamarind and mint — to make pretty much the most tropical drink ever.

Sorry about the cold.

Tamarind Mint Margarita

1.5 oz Tamarind Concentrate
4 Fresh Mint Leaves
1.5 oz Tequila
½ oz Controy (Mexican Orange Liqueur)
Dash of Lemon Juice
Dash of Simple Syrup

Mix all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously and serve in salt-rimmed frosted glass.

Find more creative cocktail ideas in Endless Cocktails.

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Torta Reform

Due to the nature of my regular nine to five six seven whenever-I’m-done job, I am what you may call a Road Warrior. I spend 80% of my time traveling throughout the wonderful state of Pennsylvania. As an added bonus, this has led to some really great food finds that I would not otherwise have known about.

I found myself last week without a lunch and only about 15 minutes away from a small Mexican restaurant a friend of mine had recommended.  This friend grew up in southern Texas and is pretty stringent in his standards for Mexican food. He will rail against the evils of pre-packaged taco shells and refuses to even say the words “taco” and “bell” in the same sentence, so I felt that I could trust his opinion. Pulling up to the restaurant, I was a little unsure. The GPS told me I had arrived but the fact that I had pulled up to a small storefront with no signage was a little concerning. Once I stepped out of the car though, I was comforted by the fantastic smells of coastal Mexico.

As soon as I walked in, I knew I had come to a seriously tasty place.

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