The Lady of the Dead / La Dama de la Muerte

La Catrina, also referred to as la pelona or peloncita, is the "Lady of the Dead". Created by José Guadalupe Posada, this Catrina is  one of the most popular figures of the Day of the Dead celebration. She symbolizes an elegant woman of upper class. Posada illustrated her as a fabulously dressed skeleton making death the neutralizing force that shows that at the end, everyone is the same. 

This song is for her. I leave you with the lyrics translated the best I could and I invite you to listen to the music while enjoying pictures of La Catrina and of some altars. 

La Guapachosa

I was making a little altar 
on November first
with cempasuchitl flowers
and what used to make him happy.

When I added his picture
a breeze came out of nowhere,
my skin got goose bumps
leaving me very scared.

Guapachosa la catrina
who entertains herself with the breeze
coming and going, going and coming
coming and going, going and coming.

Guapachosa peloncita
who entertains herself with the breeze
coming and going, going and coming
coming and going, going and coming.

Don't be scaring me,
I've given you candles
I've given you flowers
your little Madonna.
I gave you molito, your tortillitas
your cigars, your tequilita

What more do you want catrincita?
I think you want to sing
you're going and coming, you're coming and going
you're going and coming, you're coming and going

Altar made by Adriana dedicated to my nephew Rafa

Altar made by Grace dedicated to my father

My altar dedicated to Faten and Bruce, two good friends and coworkers


Summer or Autumn / Verano u Otoño

The season is officially autumn but here, in the beautiful city of San Diego, the weather still pretty much like mid summer. Today, the temperatures reached 88°F but last week we had a couple of cold, rainy days - summer or autumn, who knows?

I recognize that fall is here because all the markets are full of cold weather fruits and vegetables. The apples have been making an increasing appearance at the market, alone with persimmons, pomegranates and a good variety of winter squash.  Also, we have been getting lots of butternut squash from our garden and now we are also getting kabocha squash which is delicious.

I have made several dishes with my squash and today I'm sharing a delicious pancake recipe with kabocha. This is perfect for Sunday breakfast, I prepared it last week and we really enjoyed it.  

Kabocha Squash

Kabocha Squash Pancakes

1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk or yogurt 
1/2 cup roasted kabocha ( any other winter squash can be used)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons melted butter

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with an electric mixer to obtain a smooth batter. You can also do this in a blender, food processor or by hand.
Cook pancakes on a hot, well greased griddle. Serve hot topped with maple syrup.