Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Feast of the Dead

My last two posts during Vegan Mofo won't be sandwich-themed. Instead, I'm posting about my Halloween traditions. Tomorrow night, on Halloween, I'll tell y'all about my family tradition, but tonight, I'm inviting you all to my annual Feast of the Dead.

Long before Americans were celebrating Halloween, folks of the Gaelic tradition were celebrating Samhain, the last harvest and the night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead are thinnest. I like to celebrate that ancient holiday with a little feast honoring my friends and family members who have passed.

Every year, I set a table with pictures or items representing everyone I know who has died during my lifetime. As I get older, my guest list grows. This year, I "invited" 13 people:

There were places for Trudy (Mama Dragon), Tammy (Tzaddia Morningstar), Daniel, Adam, Flick, Smoky, Xander, David Ray, my grandpa Haas (my mama's daddy), my Pa (my daddy's daddy), my Aunt Ruth, my kitty Alexius, and my kitty Patches.

I light a candle for each person who has passed and think about my memories of them as I dine on Smoky South American Seitan Stew from Grub:

I don't know why, but I make this same stew every year for the Samhain feast. I always have, and I never make it any other time of year. It's so delicious that it's worth saving for such a special occasion. The chipotle-tomato broth is loaded with homemade seitan, red potatoes, fried plantains, and cilantro. I dipped slices of toasted garlic bread into the soup and washed it down with some red wine.

No Feast of the Dead is complete without dessert. Some years, I make a harvest-themed dessert, but now that my friend Stephanie sells her vegan cakes at Imagine Vegan Cafe, I can be lazy and buy a slice. Her cake is better than anything I can make anyway. I purchased a slice of her Halloween-themed Chocolate-Orange Cake last week and froze it for tonight:

In case you're wondering how well cake freezes, well, let's just say this slice tasted as fresh as if it were baked today. I wrapped it in plastic wrap, froze it for a week, and thawed a few hours before dinner.

Don't forget to enter my Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day giveaway! I'm picking a winner on Wednesday night! Happy Halloween!


vegetarian said...

looks so delicious

Xiao Kang said...

love this.

vegan.in.brighton said...

I really like the idea of your Samhain dinner tradition. That slice of cake looks epic, Stephanie's cakes always look amazing!

Cadry's Kitchen said...

I like it that you celebrate the Feast of the Dead every year. In American culture today, it seems there are only sad days designated for remembering those who have passed, like Memorial Day. The thing that I like about this tradition is that it's more celebratory. It gives time to reflect on some beautiful beings who you love and loved, light a candle for them, eat a tasty meal with them, and bask in the feelings of warmth for them that live on.

Amey said...

what a great post. I always look forward to your posts this time of year. It's so nice to set some time aside to remember our loved ones who have died... As time goes on, it's sort of surprising how time can pass since we've thought of someone. so sweet. Also, that cake looks amazing. I am both envious and relieved that I can't buy vegan cake like that where I live.