For the ninth season of Mexico One Plate at a Time, Rick and his production crew have returned to the origin of much of what we do at Frontera—the state of Oaxaca. If there could ever be considered a cradle of culture for Mexico, it would be Oaxaca. The art, indigenous groups, music, spirits and cuisine are at the heart of the national Mexican identity.
Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is celebrated throughout Mexico, but the observance in Oaxaca attracts thousands of people to its cemeteries and town squares to share stories and platters of food. Rick and Deann are in Oaxaca this week to celebrate this special day and are filming an episode to air as part of Season Nine of the show.
The tradition of Day of the Dead in Mexico dates back over 3,000 years, to pagan rituals practiced by indigenous groups to honor dead loved ones. By preparing their favorite foods and drinks, or sharing funny stories and memories, the loss is not as painful or sad. In Chicago, we build our altar at Frontera Grill and invite staff members to share photos and memories of loved ones that have passed away.
Jean Marie Brownson is a member of the crew in Oaxaca with Rick:
"We're in Oaxaca City now capturing the amazing Dias de Los Muertos festivities—everything from shopping for chiles and the special breads at the Central de Abastos market to making mole with friends. We've seen incredible altars in the cemeteries as well as in restaurants and on the zocalo. Last night the crew found themselves in the middle of a parade and marching band on the way to dinner (and super-delicious mezcal cocktails) at Danzantes. Afterwards, the main cemetery of Oaxaca took our breath away—it was filled with candelight, flowers, music and a gentle celebration of life.
We've also had dark delicious chocolate, the best cup of organic coffee ever, gone fishing with the locals and eaten tlayudas in the market. From the pristine beaches of Huatulco to the highlands for cheese-making, Season Nine will thrill and inspire."
Both Diana Kennedy
and Susana Trilling
have written exceptional books on the cuisine of Oaxaca. A personal favorite dish of mine is the mole verde