No, I don’t have a pan de muerto recipe for you. Or a how to on sugar skulls, or a picture my ofrenda, or anything related to el día de los muertos.
Don’t ask. I cannot help you.
Actually, I won’t help you. I refuse and abstain. Crankily so. Here’s why: just because I am Mexican does not mean I observe this particular celebration or want anything to do with it.
Until the imagery of sugar skulls, Catrinas, and paths littered with marigold petals became mainstream, celebrations of día de los muertos was geographically dependent. Central to southern Mexico, yes, sure, this may be part of your cultural tradition. Operative words ‘may be.’
Being northern Mexican, my cultural traditions were of Yaqui deer dancers and paper flowers, mesquite smoke mixing with the scent of chileverde and beef (and don’t give me your bland watery midwestern beef, I want dry desert beef tasting of the beefiest of beefs), citrus blossoms in the spring, chiltepin on tables, having your own machaca guy, and no one ever asking what kind of tortilla you want your carne asada taco on because there is only one answer, harina.
There’s a point to me being cranky. From the American point of view, every foreign country is seen as a homogeneous object, without distinct peoples, customs, languages, cuisines, etc. Why not think this way, when everything that was unique and of the land which the United States now inhabits was pushed aside like rubbish?
So of course everyone from Mexico is short, dark brown, black of hair and eye. Of course they all have their family mole recipe. Of course they have an altar at home. Of course they’re catholic. Of course they’re a stereotype.
Or we’re not.