Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead

From November 1 to November 2, the people of Mexico celebrate Dia de los Muertos, otherwise known as day of the dead. During Dia de los Muertos, people celebrate the lives of the deceased. It is said that on November 1 the spirits of deceased children come down to reunite with their families, while on November 2 the spirits of deceased adults come down. 

Dia de los Muertos is celebrated first in each family’s home. An altar, called an ofrenda, made for the deceased and then decorated. The altar is decorated with candles, flowers, foods such as tortilla and Day of the Dead-bread, drinks, toys and candies for the children, cigarettes and alcohol for the adults, skeletons and sugar skulls, and favorite memories or things of the deceased. They leave these things for the deceased, because it is said that the deceased’s spirit will come down and enjoy these things when they come down to reunite with their families.

On the afternoon of November 2, families go to the cemetary to their loved ones’ graves. They clean the graves, play games, listen to music, and celebrate the lives and memories of their deceased loved ones. 

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Cibus romanus

For my Latin final, I decided to do a presentation on cibus romanus otherwise known as Ancient Roman cuisine. So let me enlighten you once again..

The main staple of ancient Roman cuisine was wheat. It was used to make breads and porridge. Meals were centered around grains, oil, and wine. Food was eaten with fingers and cut with knives made from anter, wood, or bronze with an iron blade. Spoons were only used for eggs and liquids, and the spoons were made from bronze, silver, or bone.  The spoons had pointed handles, which were used to extract shellfish and snails from their shells. Most food was cooked over an open hearth, (either by means of cauldrons suspended from chains or cooking vessels set on gridirons) where the smoke could escape out a small hole in the ceiling through a wall vent (if the Roman had a culina-kitchen).  Cooking was also known to be done outside by using communal ovens.

Bread in the ancient Roman times varied widely depending on the type of flour used. The best bread was made from wheat flour, while the worst bread was made from bran. Some types of breads were libae, panis primus, panis plebeius, panis rusticus, and siligineus. Libae were smaller rolls, panis primus was a cheap, coarse grain bread, panis plebeius was bread made of coarse wheat flour, panis rusticus was bread made out of bran, and siligineus was white bread. And sometimes, legumes such as beans green peas, and lentils were added to bread. Breads as well as pastries were baked in a circular domed oven.

Figs, apples, grapes, pears, plums, and pomegranates were some of the types of fruits they had back then. The Romans rarely ate berries. Fruits were eaten raw, dried, preserved, and cooked. They were dried or preserved to eat them later for the winter.

Some of the vegetables they had during the Ancient Roman time were artichokes, asparagus, beans, beets, broccoli, cabbages, cucumbers, garlic, leeks, lentils, lettuce, mushrooms, olives, onions, peas, radishes, and turnips. Beans and peas were important to the diets of the lower class, and they were sold dried or sold hot by street vendors. The Romans believed cabbage prevented drunkenness, cured paralysis, and protected people from the plague. They also believed that garlic gave soldiers courage and that lettuce was a laxative.

The different types of meat the Romans consumed were beef, veal, pork, dormice, goat, hare, lamb, and mutton. The different types of poultry they consumed were chicken, crane, dove, duck, flamingo, goose, ostrich, pigeon, thrushes, and peacock. The poor rarely bought meat, since it was so expensive to buy. Back then, meat was boiled more often than it was roasted. And pork and stuffed dormice were considered delicacies.

There were many types of seafood then. Some of these includes carp, catfish, clams, crab, eel, flounder, lobster, mackerel, swordfish, trout, mussels, octopus, oysters, prawns, rays, sardines, tuna, and shark.

If you were not rich in the Ancient Roman time, food could be rather bland. So the Romans had sauces to spice up their food. Some of these sauces include garum and defrutum. Garum, also known as liquamen, was a fish sauce made from fish entrails and squished into a paste, layered with salt and spices, and fermented for twenty to thirty days. It was poured over eggs, meat, and vegetables, or spread on bread. Defrutum was a concentrated wine used to preserve and sweeten wine and it was also added to fruit and meat dishes. Other sauces made from vinegar, honey, pepper, herbs and spices were also popularly used.
 
The Romans loved to drink wine. However, they drank wine that was watered down, spiced, and heated. Drinking undiluted wine or beer was considered to be barbaric. Some other drinks the Romans drank were calda, mulsum, and posca. Calda was typically a  winter drink made of warm water and wine with spices. Mulsum was a drink made of a mixture of boiled wine and honey. Posca was a drink popular among the lower class. It was made from a diluted wine that was similar to vinegar.
 
Some foods and drinks unknown to the Romans are bananas, chili peppers, chocolate, buttered corn, peanuts, potatoes, rice, tomatoes, coffee, sugar, and tea. It’s not that the Romans did not like these foods and drinks, but rather these were not introduced to humans until later on in time.
 
The Romans usually ate one large meal per day. At first, the meals of ordinary Romans were the ientaculum (breakfast), cena (dinner), and vesperna (a light supper). Later on, however, cena was eaten during the evening and prandium (lunch) was added. Ientaculum was at sunrise or the first hour. Breakfast was a light meal, usually a slice of bread or a cup of  water. However, foods that could be served at breakfast were wheat pancake biscuits; bread dipped in wine; bread flavored with a little cheese, dried fruits or honey; or bread with salt, honey, dates, or olives. Breakfast was followed by prandium at 11 a.m. Lunch usually consisted of a light meal of eggs with bread, cheese, and possibly some meat. Cena was the largest meal of the day, eaten around late afternoon or early evening. At a household, if the master of the house had no guests-dinner could last an hour. If the master of the house did have guests-dinner could last up to four hours. 
 
Meals, however, differed between the poor and the wealthy. Meals for the poor usually consisted of porridge or bread with vegetables or meat, if they could afford it.
 
Meals for the wealthy were divided into 3 courses: appetizer, prima mensa (main course), and secunda mensa (dessert). Some foods served as appetizers were salads, radishes, mushrooms, eggs, oysters, and sardines. The main course consisted of a seafood dish, meat dish, and/or poultry dish. And honey-sweetened cakes and fruit were eaten for dessert. Some popular desserts included stuffed dates, honeyed bread, and itrion-honey biscuits with sesame seeds.
 
It’s interesting how much food, meals, and utensils have evolved since then..
 
 

La cocina ecuatoriana

For my Spanish final, I decided to a powerpoint on la cocina ecuatoriana or the Ecuadorian cuisine in English. So let me enlighten you with some information on the Ecuadorian cuisine. 

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The Ecuadorian cuisine is very diverse. The typical diet of Ecuadorian natives are rice, Andean potatoes, meat, and seafood with fruits and vegetables. Ecuador is famous for its Andean potatoes, seafood, and many exotic fruits such as chirimoya (white, pulpy fruit is full of black seeds with a green outer skin-can get as big as a small melon-skin and seeds are discarded), granadilla (small, pale orange-pink, egg-shaped fruit containing black seeds and gray pulp-skin is discarded), pitahaya (bumpy yellow fruit-the pulp, which is semi-transparent, grayish and full of tiny black seeds-skin is discarded), and oritos (finger bananas-sweeter and richer in taste).

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Ecuador is divided into 3 regions: the Costa, the Sierra, and the Oriente. Cuisines differ from region to region. The Costa region is the fertile tropical lowland west of Andes. Seafood is popular at the coast since the abundance of fish in the flowing rivers and coastal waters. The typical dishes of the coastal regions makes use of the foods typically grown along the coastal plains such as bananas, coffee beans, cacao, sugarcane, and rice. The Sierra region is the Andean region of high mountains, valleys, and basins. In the hill country and mountain valleys, temperate crops such as cereals, especially corn, vegetables, particularly bean and potatoes; and fruits are grown. The typical foods of the Sierra are mainly based off potatoes, corn, cheese, and avocados. The Oriente region is the jungle lowland east of the Andes, almost uninhibited. The main staples of the Oriente region is the yuca also known as cassava (a starchy root, kind of like a potato or yam) and fruit. (1=Coasta, 2=Sierra, 3=Oriente).

 

Ecuador regions
The main meals of the day are el desayuno (breakfast), el almuerzo (lunch), and la cena (dinner).
Breakfast usually starts anytime from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Breakfast usually consists of eggs with potatoes or rice, and served with corn tortillas, coffee, toast, and/or fruit.
desayuno
desayuno huevos y tocino
Lunch is the biggest meal of the day. It starts from noon up to 2 p.m. It is traditionally two to three courses. A soup dish is usually served with rice dish, meat, fish, vegetables, or salad. Then, dessert and coffee can be eaten afterward.
almuerzo ecuatoriano
Dinner is a lighter meal. It starts anytime from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dinner can be as simple as bread and coffee/herbal tea. Dinner can also be as large as lunch, it depends on the human being and/or family.
pan para cena
Let’s talk about some of the different kinds sopas (soups):
Locro de papa is a soup made of potatoes, cheese, and avocadoes.
locro
Chupe de pescado is a fish and vegetable soup.
chupe de pescado
Encebollado is a soup that is made of tuna, yuca, onions, tomatoes and sprinkled with lemon juice.
encebollado
Fanesca is a milky broth served with fish, green beans, lima beans, and a chocho bean.
fanesca
Caldo de leche is a cream soup usually with vegetables.
Menestra is a thicker lentil stew usually served with vegetables and either meat or fish.
• And guatitas is a stew made of pieces of cow stomach and served with peanut sauce and potatoes.
Los mariscos, or seafood, is popular at the coast. Some of the most popular seafood are prawns, shrimp, lobster, shellfish, and squid. A popular seafood dish in Ecuador is ceviche. Ceviche is a a seafood dish that is made of raw marinated fish marinated in lemon or lime and seasonings. And it can be made of fish, shrimp, shellfish, squid, or a mixture of all these seafood.
ceviche de camaron
ceviche de concha
ceviche mixto
Two delicacies known in Ecuador are cuy and caldo de pata. Cuy is roasted guinea pig. It is a traditional dish in the Sierra region, which is usually reserved for special occasions since cuy is not cheap. In Ecuador, guinea pigs are bred for the sole purpose of being eaten, and not as pets.
cuy
Caldo de pata is a broth containing chunks of boiled cow hooves. It is believed by hopeful men to increase virility.
caldo de pata
Some other Ecuadorian dishes are empanadas, tamales, seco de pollo, lomo salteado, bollos de pescado, humita, patacones, llapingachos, and chifles.
Empanadas are small, deep-fried pastries stuffed with meat or potatoes
empanadas
Tamales are a mixture of cornmeal, meat, cheese and spices wrapped in banana leaves
tamales
Seco de pollo is stewed chicken and rice with slices of avocado.
seco de pollo
Lomo salteado is a dish made up of pieces of sirloin that have been soaked in vinegar, spices and soy sauce and then stir fried with parsley, tomatoes and red onions. It is usually served over rice or French fries.
lomo salteado
Seco de chivo is braised goat – or more commonly, lamb or mutton.
Bollos de pescado are fish and peanuts wrapped in banana leaves.
• Humita is steamed corn cake that is are prepared with fresh ground corn with onions, eggs and spices and wrapped in corn husk.
Patacones are made of fried plantains, salt, and oil.
Llapingachos are fried potato pancakes stuffed with cheese and onions.
llapingachos
• And chifles are fried plantain or green banana chips.
chifles
Some desserts in Ecuador include bienmesabe, flan, tres leches, come y bebe, espumillas, dulce de higos, dulce de zapallo, dulce de leche, and alfajores.
Bienmesabe is a coconut cream cake.
bienmesabe
Flan is a baked custard, and there a few varieties in Ecuador such as coconut flan with orange caramel, vanilla flan, caramel flan, and pineapple flan.
flan
Tres leches is a sweet, runny sponge cake. Tres leches literally means “three milks cake,” because it is soaked in three types of milk-evaporated milk, condensed milk, and whole milk.
tres leches
Come y bebe is a drinkable fruit salad composed of papaya, pineapple, banana, and orange juice. Come y bebe literally means “eat and drink,” since you can both eat and drink it.
come y bebe
Espumillas is a meringue cream dessert that is usually made of fruit pulps from guava or guayaba, egg whites, and sugar.
espumillas
Dulce de higos is a dessert made with figs simmered in panela syrup or hard brown cane sugar and spices
Dulce de zapallos is a dessert made with squash or pumpkin simmered in panela syrup or hard brown cane sugar and spices
Dulce de leche is a milk candy sauce that tastes similar to caramel. Dulce de leche, however, is prepared by slowly heating condensed milk and sugar.
• And alfajores are shortbread cookies filled with dulce de leche.
alfajores
With the wide variety of exotic fruits it has, Ecuador also has a wide variety of fruit juices such as jugo (juice) de piña (pineapple), mora (blackberry), maracuya (passion fruit), naranja (orange), sandia (watermelon), naranjilla (a jungle fruit), melon, taxo, guanabana, guava, papaya, tomate de árbol (tree tomato), etc.
jugo de naranjilla
jugo de sandia
Other drinks found in Ecuador are agua (water), chicha, leche (milk), té, café, and refrescos (sodas) such as Coca Cola, Pepsi, Sprite, Fanta, etc. Chicha is a traditional libation (drink poured as an offering), which is found throughout the Sierra region. It is made from fermented corn, rice, or yucca. And in some of the rural parts of Ecuador, chicha makers augment the fermentation process by adding human saliva. They would chew the ingredients and spit them back into the pot.
chicha

Easter

Today is Easter. Heute is Ostern. 오늘은 부활절이다.

It is the day of the Easter bunny, Easter candy and chocolate, Easter egg hunts, and dying and decorating Easter eggs.

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However, Easter is also the day Jesus resurrected from the dead. The true meaning and purpose of Easter is to celebrate his resurrection.

Easter also is the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline. Lent starts Ash Wednesday and ends Easter Sunday. Easter is always celebrated the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.

On Easter, most Christians go to Easter church services. Families also often have Easter dinners or lunches. For example, my family had an Easter lunch (since my dad has to work in the day). We had ham (actually it was turkey ham), mash potatoes, and carrots. For dessert, we had dutch apple pie topped with rocky road ice cream (which was delicious by the way).

easter dinner

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Happy Easter everyone! Frohe Ostern! 부활절을 잘 보내세요!

Turkish Tea: Çay

Last Friday, I was able to try a type ofTurkish tea known as çay (pronounced chai). There is a Turkish girl in one of classes and she brought in some Turkish Black Sea tea for my class to try. Below is a picture of my cup of Turkish Black Sea tea and some Israeli crackers that my teacher so happened to have (which tasted like animal crackers).

çay

Anyways, tea is a very popular drink in Turkey and is also very important to the Turkish culture. For the Turkish, tea could be a daily routine, a welcome gesture, a simple moment of happiness, etc. People drink it daily. They [can] drink it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It is usually served in a tulip-shaped glass with a little spoon and cubes.  Like I said before, çay is a type of Turkish tea. Çay is the national tea of Turkey. It is a black tea, which is produced at the Black Sea coast.

Çay is prepared in a two stacked kettle known as çaydanlık. The lower, larger kettle filled with water is brought to a boil, which half is then added to the upper, smaller kettle with tea leaves, meanwhile, turn the heat down for the remaining water at the bottom. The remaining water on the bottom is used to dilute the tea. If you order çay at a Turkish restaurant or somewhere in Turkey, be sure to tell them açık ah-chuk (weak) or koyu koh-yoo (strong) . Tea can be served with sugar cubes (never milk), but it’s all based on personal preference. For example:  I used sugar with my tea, but the Turkish girl said she drinks her tea plain. I drank the tea before I added sugar, and it was too bitter for my taste. Don’t let that discourage you though!

çaydanlık

çaydanlık

çay

çay with sugar cubes

If you ever get the opportunity to drink çay, try it. You may not like it at first, but it is an acquiring taste.

Korean Food/한식

Today, my parents finally went to the local Korean market (which is like an hour away from us..) When I got home from school, I immediately put my stuff down and ran to the kitchen. “Why are you so excited about Korean food?,” you might ask. Ever since I was born, Korean food has always been a part of my life. And ever since I went to Korea to visit relatives for two weeks, I started to crave Korean food once I got back. Actually..요즘에는 한식을 항상 먹고 싶어요. ㅎㅎ (I always want to eat Korean food these days).

Anyways, when I got to my kitchen, it was paradise. Kimbap, bread, choco pie, walnut confectionaries, udon (not Korean, but Japanese), peanut treats, bean paste bread, bean sprouts, noodles, pure heaven. As my excitement grew, I had a thought. This would be great topic to post about, Korean food.

So here’s a good list of some Korean food or 한식 (hanshik) and confectionaries/과자:

Bulgogi/불고기 (one of the first dishes I can remember trying as a young child)

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Galbi/갈비 Korean BBQ (ribs)

galbi

Bibimbap/비빔밥 a mixture of meat, vegetables, egg, chili pepper paste

bibimbap

Japchae/잡채

japchae

Jajangmyun/자장면 noodles with black bean paste

jajangmyun

Kimbap/김밥

kimbap

Mandu dumplings/만두

mandu

Pickled radish/단무지

pickled radish

Kimchi/김치 fermented cabbage

kimchi

Read more about kimchi here:

https://christinathepolyglot.wordpress.com/2012/11/24/what-is-kimchi/

떡볶이Spicy vendor rice cakes

spicy ricecake

Korean Vegetable Pancakes/야채전

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Korean egg rolls (made with actual eggs)/계란말이

계란말이

Fishcake/오뎅

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Note: (Personal picture) I first saw/heard of 오뎅 (odeng) while I was watching Boys Over Flowers, when Gu Jun Pyo tried his first one and then absolutely fell in love with them. When I went to Korea, I’m not going to lie…not my favorite…But, I’m not a big fish person (depends on the fish).

Chicken Feet/닭발

닭발

Note: Yes, some Koreans eat chicken feet. NOT all Koreans eat it, but like I said some do. Don’t judge.

Beansprout Soup/콩나물

beansprout soup

Spicy Chicken Stew/닭도리탕 

spicy chicken stew

Spicy Beef Soup with Fernbracken/육계장 (Just had some for dinner earlier, but mine was mixed with rice)

spicy beef soup with fernbracken

Korean tofu stew/두부찌개

두부찌개

Bean Paste Stew with Tofu/된장찌개

bean paste stew with tofu

Fish Stew/생선찌개

fish stew

Rice cake soup/떡국

ddeokgook

Korean sweet pancake/호떡

hoddepk

Choco Pie/초코 파이

choco pie

Korean Yogurt Drink/요구르트

yogurt drinks

(*personal picture)

Throughout the years of always getting these from the Korean market, I finally just noticed that they actually come in a variety of flavors. These ones in the picture is strawberry (딸기맛). 맛있다~♥

뻥튀기 Puffed “Cereal Cookies” (Pure amazingness)

bbeongtwegi

Korean melon/참외 It may look weird, but trust me-it’s good.

참외

Shrimp crackers/chips /새우깡 Shrimply delicious~I know, corny right?

shrimp puffs

Walnut Confectionary/호두 과자 I love these ♥

walnut confectionary

Patbingsoo/팥빙수 Shaved Ice ❤

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Note: (Personal picture) I also saw patbingsoo in a drama that I watched (can’t remember which one) and wanted to try it. So I told myself no matter what, I would find patbingsoo somewhere in S. Korea and try it. And as you can see, I did. I remember walking through one of the department stores and I just so happened to walk by this little cafe and the first thing I saw on the little board was “팥빙수.” I immediately grabbed my mom’s arm, pointed, and yelled, “팥빙수! Patbingsoo!” I’m so glad that I was able to able hangeul, otherwise I would’ve passed right by. Let’s just say, it was amazing and delicious…

Is your mouthwatering yet? Mine sure is. Anyways, if you come across Korean food or any food from another country-try it. When I was younger, I was a really picky eater. Which, really limited my trying of different foods. Once I finally stopped being picky, I decided, “Hey, might as well try everything onceIf I don’t like it, then I won’t eat it.” I’m so glad I did too. There are a lot of food (especially Korean food) that I didn’t want to try before because I thought it looked weird or smelled weird. But after I opened myself to at least try it, I found out that I actually do like the taste, despite the sight, smell, or look of it. You never know what you’ll actually enjoy eating, unless you try it first.

There are plenty more Korean dishes, sweets, etc. out there, but it would probably take me hours, days, weeks (maybe not weeks) to write about. If you ever get the chance to try Korean food, do it. You won’t regret it, even if you don’t like it. Life is short, might as well experience and try new things.

If you want to know more about Hanshik/Korean food, go here:

http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/CU/CU_EN_8_1_7_1.jsp