HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


A Community Ofrenda for Día de los Muertos: Day of the Dead

Día de los Muertos is upon us. Let's celebrate with a community ofrenda to welcome our loved ones back for a visit with some of their favorite foods. I'm hoping our ofrenda will be REALLY HUGE.

Some background on this holiday:

One of my favorite videos to bring the concept to life:

Here are my contributions to the ofrenda.

For my father: a plate of my mom's spaghetti and meatballs and a box of Jujubes

For Poppy: some Portuguese sausage (we are Italian, but I can remember him making special trips to Hartford for it), the best hot dog I can find, a big bowl of vanilla ice cream and plenty of Hershey's syrup to go with.

For Nanny: I'll make her oatmeal cookies with M&Ms and add a box of Canada Mints and a pack of Freshen-Up gum to the ofrenda.

For Aunt Pegi: spaghetti carbonara, steak tartare (because I first ate it with you and got me hooked at an early age!), a pack of Marlboros (despite my hatred for them) and the best chocolate cake I can make. We can all share, given our family's proclivity for sweet treats. :


For Uncle Al: a giant grinder from Franklin Ave., a cream puff and a diet Coke, 'cause for some reason, you seemed to think the diet Coke canceled out the calories in everything else. Semper Fi, ol' man!

For my Carly girl: a pig ear, a squeaky chew toy and some homemade peanut butter cookies

Love and miss you all--you live forever in my heart!

Chowhounds, please join me in welcoming the souls of the departed with your own additions to the ofrenda! I won't go into detail of the pictures I'm placing in honor of everyone I miss. But in my mind, I'm fondly remembering many happy memories of special times together and encourage you to do the same.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For Tessa, some cheerios
    For Weezie, some raisins
    For Dukie and Baron, some tri-tip
    For Uncle Ev, French wine and a wheel of brie
    For Aunt Jane, home-baked french bread with roasted garlic
    For Grandmother Hallie, some Danish butter
    For everyone else, a chocolate calavera with royal icing flowers, and a slice of Pan de Muerto!

    1. I absolutely -love- this holiday, and the ideas expressed in it. The art, the ceremony of going to the gravesites, the food..The whole event is thoughtful, respectful..Even joyful!

      For my Grandmother, a delicious perfectly salty ham, and a margarita, EXTRA strong. Or a Beefeater martini. I could actually set out about 10 different foods, as she loved to cook, and was excellent at it.

      For Grandpa, a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream. He had one every night before bed, with a Mother's Taffy cookie or 2. Of course, the 2 dogs also got some. ^_-

      Lovely post idea, kattyeyes!

      1. Not too practical for me to visit any graves, but I think I'll make Mom's special meatloaf and have a glass of Rose, that was her favorite. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I've never celebrated it before! More study required!

        1. A nice Manhattan for my Mom.
          Peach Kuchen for my Granny.
          A whole day to sit in his favorite chair, uninterrupted, for my Thomas.
          Raw shrimp for my Angus.
          Duck a la orange and a six pack of Bud for my Carl.

          1. oh, kattyeyes, what a lovely post!

            For my mother, peanut butter cookies and home made parker house rolls she filled my childhood with!

            For my dad, nearly charred cottage fried potatoes with two fried eggs with crispy ruffles around the edges of the whites doused with generous amounts of ketchup. His favorite breakfast.

            For my lovely wonderful Victorian grandmother, candied apricots she made annually from our trees. But I won't pack mine in tins then store them in a trunk with mothballs to flavor them! I love her beyond words, but she could do strange things on occasion. '-)

            For my wonderful grandfather, a bowl of his famous chile. After he retired, he built himself a malt shop restaurant and people drove from miles around for his chile!

            And for all of us who are still here, a large glass of bubbly to toast those we love who have traveled on. Cheers! We love and miss you.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Caroline1

              Thanks to each of you who has joined in so far. I love reading everyone's tributes and am so glad you joined me in this virtual celebration.

              Caroline1, I laughed out loud at your apricot caveat (hey, poetic!)...as I've shared previously on this site somewhere, I took over Nanny's tradition of oatmeal cookie baking when I was a teenager. I made them one holiday for one of my uncles, who commented, "These are just like Ma's...except you didn't burn them!" Yes, Nanny had a tendency toward "well-done" in both meats and cookies. God forbid we should eat something raw. :) LOL. But I always say she was a pioneer. Other kids grandmothers didn't put M&Ms in cookies, but MINE did.

            2. i love this idea. remembering those we loved with the foods that loved them and us.

              gram: coffee (reheated in the microwave), baked potato with sour cream, cottage cheese, a scoop of peppermint ice cream (for years she ate a scoop every night for dessert), an d pack of Newports (yuck)

              mingy: (never met him, but he was the kindest, warmest man in my mother's life): 5 lb salami, a 12 pack of Coca-Cola, and a pack of cigs (yuck)

              1. Awesome idea, and especially nice since I can't actually visit the graves of any of my family members, since I've moved cross country.

                For my Mom: A good cup of tea, a box of Lorna Doone cookies, a platter of fish and chips, and a nice, big salad.

                For Daddy: A jar of Koegel's red hots, two coney dogs (Flint style, tyvm), a bag of Paramount potato chips and a bottle of Vernors ginger ale.

                For Michael: A big, thick steak with all the trimmings, a beer, a big piece of chocolate cake, and a pack of Kools.

                For Michelle: A bottle of diet coke and a big, big bag of M&Ms.

                For Bob: Halo burger with the works, large fries, large onion rings, cherry coke (made with real cherry syrup!), fried okra (thank you for turning me on to this!) and Lipton Iced tea.

                For Roger, Shadow, Salem and Cosmo: Catnip mice and bowls of Fancy Feast.

                For Kira and IceStorm: Pig ears, marrow bones, a squeakie fuzzy blue bunny toy and a grunting fuzzy hedge hog toy.

                1. I feel we have two deaths. The first when our mortality catches up with us. The second when those that remember us with affection pass away, or cease to remember us.

                  It is not within my culture to assign a day to a celebration of our memories. That is our loss.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Paulustrious

                    Interesting insights on death, however sad.

                    For what it's worth, it's not part of my culture, either, but I'm all for adopting traditions that resonate with me personally...so no loss at all, but a gain (at least for me). No reason you can't celebrate, too. Join us...

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      Yes, Kattyeyes, my feelings exactly. And not too different from my culture, where we believe the dead return to be with us at wintertime, when the nights are long and dark, and spirits are out and about. I always leave an offering for them this time of year, and at Jul. Thanks for setting up this community offrenda.

                  2. For JB: First- One of your oven baked salami and provolone sandwiches on proper Italian-bread with olive oil, some stuffed cherry peppers, either calamari/scungilli/octopus salad(anything for you), then the porkskin braciole and suffritta(I found the place Pop!). Later- Your holiday seafood feast of clams in "that" seasoned broth, ridiculously sized shrimp with the oh-so spicy cocktail sauce, lobster fra diavolo, and everything else we had of the sea....all washed down with bottles from our namesake region(we've come a long way old man).