Mon 12 Oct 2009
Humans! In India when speaking of our dead, the people say “she left the body” rather than “she died”. That is, there is a deep clarity — for me our subconscious patterns of speech reveal deeply the structure of how we think — about what death is, or as it has sometimes occurred to me, “the unreality of death”.
Krishna and Jesus are both pretty into this idea —
“For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”
“He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.”
I’ll let you figure out the who’s whom, but the point is that many tribes and cultures have come up with elaborate rituals around the Leaving of the Body. Some are to gather together, some are to forcibly extract grief (mandatory wailing), and some are in the spirit of pure celebration.
In Mexico, Dia de Los Muertos is celebrated every year, on November 1st and 2nd, to pray for and remember our dead. I’ve been working with a group in Sequim for the past few years, to put on a Dia de Los Muertos fundraising dinner for the last few years. Last year, we served enchiladas.
Now it’s all beginning to come together. You see?
Fellow and erstwhile tripper and professional Reed Aubin recently informed me he is working with a group of students from El Colegio to build Day of the Dead altars for the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. In the spirit of inspiration, I suggest to everybody in the family that we do the same. Maybe we could work on it over the next few weeks, or maybe we could have a party the day before Halloween, make some enchiladas, build offerings together, remember, laugh, and cry over our dead.
You’ve got to do this thing. This idea of memory and creation: the holding and releasing. It happens one way or another. There’s no other way. The skeletons and enchiladas and dioramas are just a tool to help you get on with it.
I think it’s important for those of us still in the body. Ask you family floating around you. They know.
And if you do, or don’t, you might want to try these awesome enchiladas I made for my mom today:
woke up to 22 degree frost on the grass i scythed this morning and it’s very clear that fall just ended. probably can still get some more blackberries before the rain returns, but it’s basically time to turn towards that pumpkin.
double-hands-full of chantrelles we picked last week, brushed lightly to remove dirt, and sliced into quarters, or until each piece achieved the volume of a baby carrot.
1 small leek, chopped into thin rings, up to the beginning of the light green section.
saute the chantrelles on low heat until they sweat out a little water. ours have been pretty dry so not much comes out. and, really, you can use any mushroom. they don’t have to be chantrelles and you didn’t have to pick them. but you’ll enjoy it more, likely, if you did. add the chantrelles to the bowl with the leeks, squirt some olive oil (from your fancy ex-relish bottle full of olive oil you keep next to the stove to be cool), and return the shrooms with the leeks to the pan. saute on low head until the leeks are sweet and tender enough to eat. the mushrooms should be plump and tender. if you’re worried about difference in cooking times between your mushrooms and the leeks, you can do them separately and combine at the end.
i did plain white rice today. it was sweet and delicious.
i used half of a pumpkin about 2/3 the size of my head. try to measure that. hah. you can cut it roughly into slices and steam it until the peel comes off easily, then (you guessed it) easily take the peel off and boil it with an inch of water and some of the tougher green tops from your leek. you can also add an old carrot, some celery, half an onion, and a clove or two of garlic. basically, you’re making a sort of pumpkin soup, but a watery, lame pumpkin soup. the reason it doesn’t matter if it’s slightly lame is that you’re going to blend it and it’s going to be awesome.
while you’re heating up the pan for the filling but the mushrooms aren’t clean and chopped yet, deposit enough pumpkin seeds to cover the bottom of the pan and let them toast on medium heat until they tell you (really, they will speak) they are done. trade the seeds out for the shrooms, and add the seeds (“pepitas”) to the blender. blend. add the pumpkin soup after everything in the broth is tender, and a bit of salt. blend again. check the consistency. the goal here is to be able to pour the sauce into a pan, grab a tortillas, and dip the tortilla into the hot sauce so it coats the tortilla as it slips off. if it’s too thin, you’ll just be reducing the sauce on the stove again as your friends chop cilantro and avocados, impatiently, receding into the distance. if it’s too thick, you add water, stock, a little cream, white wine, whatever.
taste, add salt, taste, question the salt, taste.
finely diced onions
dip the tortilla in the sauce
Almost burn yourself
Jump in excitement!
Flick the soaked tortilla on a ceramic plate
Have someone spoon the filling,
then the rice,
then the avocado,
And roll it yourself to seam-side-down.
Repeat twice, drizzle more sauce on top,
paint with cilantro and chopped onions
if feeling artistic.
Note that these enchiladas were described as “absolutely delicious blend of delicate with spicy with warm and savory.” by a human thousands of miles away. So they must be good. And they are.
p.s. if you do this offering thing, as i will, send me a note or picture about it. i think that will be good.
83 lost meadow
sequim, wa 98382