El Reporte

Spend Day of the Dead with Frida Kahlo

Byline: Capt. Pat Rains

Spend Day of the Dead with Frida Kahlo

Here’s a great book for southbound galleys.

“Frida’s Fiestas: Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo” is half cookbook and half memoir of the colorful lives of two world-famous painters — Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo — and their families, gathered around the dinner table.

“Frida’s Fiestas” was written by Guadalupe Rivera, daughter of Diego Rivera. She is a law professor in Mexico City and recalls vividly her childhood in the Blue House, where Frida dished up traditional and fanciful fare to Rivera and dozens of fellow artists, philosophers and politicos during turbulent times that span decades.

The original book was written in Spanish, of course, but the English translation is available on amazon.com through other vendors. This 8- by 10.5-inch hardcover book contains 224 pages.

Frida’s average year was full of parties, evidently. The book’s 100 recipes are organized within 12 specific feast menus — one major feast celebration each month. These are dishes that “Diego loved to eat and Frida loved to prepare,” said the author. They were served to notable guests and extended family groups alike.

For example, November’s feast menu focuses on Day of the Dead. It starts with two pages of the author’s charming stories about the traditional holiday events, then gives 10 recipes for dishes Frida served to guests during that month. Among November’s recipes are Dead Man’s Bread, Chicken in Pipian Sauce, Yellow and Red Moles, Tamales in Banana Leaves, Tropical Fruit in Syrup, Pumpkin in Syrup and Strawberry Atole.

Each recipe throughout the book is accompanied by clear directions transcribed from the handwritten notes made by Frida Kahlo and the author’s grandmother, pulled from their own well-loved cookbooks. All the ingredients are easily found in Mexican grocery stores and fresh produce markets.

“Frida’s Fiestas” is lavishly illustrated with full-page color images by photographer Ignacio Urchiza, plus historic photos and color plates of Rivera’s and Kahlo’s artwork.

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