- Traditional Mexican cerimonial foods are both savory and sweet.granite mortar and pestle with red chillies image by Christopher Meder from Fotolia.com
Every culture has traditions and celebrations that are highlighted by special foods. The Mexican culture observes several secular and religious occasions with particular foods and dishes that add a festive flavor to the holiday. Unlike the Tex-Mex cuisine most Americans are used to, these savory and sweet dishes are authentic representations of traditional Mexican cuisine.
Tamal de Dulce
- Tamal de Dulce, or sweet tamales, is a sweet version of the more widely known savory chicken or pork tamales. Filled with nuts, fruits, such as pineapple, and spices, Tamal de Dulce is traditionally served on Día de la Candelaria, otherwise known as Candlemas. Celebrated annually on February 2, Día de la Candelaria celebrates the purification of Mary and the presentation and blessing of Jesus. After attending a church ceremony, family and friends and eat Tamal de Dulce in honor of the celebration. Tamal de Dulce is also served at children's birthday parties, first communions, christenings and the Christmas posadas.
Pan de Muerto
- Pan de Muerto is long and flat sweet bread flavored with anise, orange peel and orange glaze. More traditional loaves are round with a central raised knob of dough, representing the skull, and crossed bone-shaped decorations projecting from the central knob. Pan de Muerto is placed on altars and graves on The Day of the Dead, celebrated every year on November 1, to create unity between life and death, wherein death is highlighted as a part of the cycle of life. It is believed that souls return to their homes on The Day of the Dead, and to honor the souls, candles, toys, religious pictures, cut tissue-paper decorations, personal mementos, incense, cigarettes, liquor, and food such as tamales, sugar skulls, and pan de muerto are placed on graves and altars for the returning soul to enjoy. The bread is meant to offer nourishment for the departed soul.
- Romeritos are eaten at Christmas time. Similar to rosemary, Romeritos are soft, non-woody leaves with a pronounced tart taste used to season dishes comprised of dried shrimp, nopales and potatoes. They are cooked in a mole sauce made from ancho, mulato and pasilla chiles, almonds, cinnamon, garlic, onions and breadcrumbs. Romeritos may be used as an herb or as a stand-alone pot-herb vegetable.
Chile en Nogada
- Chile en Nogada is a chile poblano stuffed with pork or beef, shredded apple and seasoning and covered in white walnut sauce, red pomegranate and green parsley to represent the Mexican flag. Chile en Nogada is eaten in September to commemorate independence in central Mexico.