But I did attend a Dio de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) party last weekend at the Fabulous Miss Amy’s beautiful (and, in spite of what she says, very CLEAN) home last weekend. Attendees had two assignments: 1) To knit up one of these:
and 2) to bring a food to share that would honor a loved one who has died.
I didn’t knit a day of the dead doll, because all I ever knit any more is Mother Bear Project bears, but my Grandma used to knit for charity all the time, so I figured my latest bear could represent her efforts. And anyway, I never could have topped Connie's creation:
The food would pose an even greater challenge. My Grandma was a legendary cook. She was a home economics teacher for many years, and loved nothing more than to get in the kitchen and get her hands dirty (and pretty much everything else in the room while she was at it).
When I thought about what dishes reminded me most of her, the first thing that came to mind was one that I won’t be making until Thanksgiving—creamed onions. The foundation of most of my Grandma’s signature recipes are butter and/or heavy cream, you see. The next thing was twice-baked potatoes, a fairly involved recipe that I only make for Christmas Eve dinner. Because, apparently, I only cook when required to by a holiday.
Then I thought of a little item my family calls simply “Grandma Cake.” It’s a devil’s food layer cake, with each layer split in two so there are really four layers. Freshly whipped cream (sweetened with a smidge of powdered sugar and vanilla) goes between each of the layers, and then the whole thing is covered in chocolate frosting. It’s like a giant Ho-Ho, only way, way better. But I had already asked my sister Betsy to make me one for my birthday, and two Grandma Cakes in the same week would be more decadence than even I could handle.
So, once again, Trader Joe’s came to my rescue in the form of Artichoke Antipasto and a jar of Olive Tapenade. Because, you know, Grandma also loved artichokes. And she always put olives on the relish trays at family dinners.
My favorite Trader fella must have appreciated the gesture, because yesterday he left me a very special voicemail, wishing me a happy birthday, and asking me to marry him! It’s true! And even though his voice sounded suspiciously like a slightly deeper version of DemiGoddess the Elder’s, I am totally going to say YES!
Just as soon as I figure out how to call him back, because my intended forgot to leave his number.