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. 

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