Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

Día de los Muertos

October 21, 2012

Tags: Día de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, Fall, CSA, cycle of life, la Catarina, Jose Guadalupe Posada

Día de los Muertos
The season has changed from an extended dry spell to the first rains of winter. It is time for the Day of the Dead. We are saddened by the departure of several relatives this year, from the last of our parent’s generation, to a much beloved in-law in Denver.

Falling as it does in the harvest season, el día de los muertos is a reminder that we have our seasons, that we are organic as well, dependent on the lives of plants and animals in order to continue our journey.

We remember those who went before us, and we remind ourselves of who they were – a good opportunity to pass down ancestral information to our children.

Sitting in the rocking chair in our display this year is a representation of La Catarina, first depicted by artist José Guadalupe Posada during the Mexican Revolution, when death seemed to rule every street and cornfield. Now, she is a reminder that death is always with us, and like one’s enemy’s, should be kept close. We both respect and mock her, for she is, of course, ourselves. Surrounded by flowers, La Catarina reminds us that life constantly comes back from the earth.

There is also food for the departed spirits, who will partake of its essence, leaving the substance for those of us still in our corporeal forms. We will continue to add gifts and photos to this display until the beginning of November. Our kitchen remodel is almost done, and we look forward to feeding our friends and family in it.

We also remember that this is a cycle – wedding have been celebrated, babies born, goals achieved, and projects completed as we continue our journey around the sun. The days have grown short, but the season has been abundant with squash, corn, and beans. We recently enjoyed a salad of greens, tiny carrots, and tomatoes from the garden, lettuce from our local grocery store, and radishes from our CSA. My little garden plot is still yielding yellow, pear-shaped tomatoes, enough that I have begun to freeze some of them.

May the fall season treat you well, and may you take comfort in the wholeness of the cycle as we travel forward through time and space.


  1. October 21, 2012 9:05 PM PDT
    si kathy, asi es, extrañando a nuestros parientes y amigos q se fueron antes q nosotros, pero siempre recordandoles y nunca dejan de estar con nosotros, claro q la vida sigue y me da mucho gusto saber de tus verduras, aqui la ardilla se comio mis tomates, ni modo, hay q cooperar, cuidate
    - priscila cepeda narro
  2. October 21, 2012 11:17 PM PDT
    Gracias, Prisi
    - Kathleen Alcala
With Cowichan Elder Hyamiciate, Della (Rice) Sylvester at the The Living Breath of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Indigenous Foods and Ecological Knowledge Symposium


Selected Works

Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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