Friday, January 18, 2008

Fiambre for Day of the Dead

I'm way behind on my posts since I have been waiting to have the time to implement this new "Read More" feature (Expandable Post with Peekaboo View). I have been leery of poking about in the inner workings of my blog, but I noticed and liked this feature on Meeta's Blog ( and when I asked her how to do it, she referred me (thanks a million, Meeta) to I've been working up my courage, and have taken some time to do this change with "thought". If it works properly, it should be followed by a flurry of posts that have been waiting in the wings for some time.

Today's dish is Fiambre ... a dish that is famous in Guatemala as the food to serve on November 1st, the Day of the Dead, when all and sundry pack up their gardening tools and paintbrushes, their new plastic flowers, their guitars and their kids and head off to the cemetaries to repair the past year's ravages and party a bit with the departed. I'm guessing that the vivid red color of fiambre ...

has something to do with its timing on this day, but have found no mention of that anywhere.

Fiambre is a salad, served chilled, and may be made up from over 50 ingredients.

Fiambre started out from the tradition in Guatemala of taking dead family members their favorite dishes to the cemeteries for the Day of the Dead. As all different families brought food to the celebrations, they became mixed, eventually mixing them together to this all-encompassing salad. Ingredients usually include numerous cold cuts and sausages, pickled baby-corn and onion, beets, pacaya flower, string beans, radish, different cheeses, olives, chicken, and sometimes even brussels sprouts or shrimp ... topped with an herbed oil and vinegar dressing. It can take days to make, and like all good traditional dishes, Fiambre varies from kitchen to kitchen. This version was a gift from our next door neighbors, who make a huge delicious batch every year for their own family celebrations.

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