Dining with the Dead

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This exploration of culinary customs surrounding the Mexican folk festival known as Dia de los Muertos is fascinating in its thoroughness and wholly absorbing.

The first 38 pages are devoted to the history of the holiday, inseparable from the history of Mexico itself. Another 40 pages address technique and core ingredients. The recipes which follow are explicit and precise, covering everything from street foods, moles, and tamales to soups, salsas, drinks, and the iconic sweets such as honey skulls and the fragrant pan de muerto.

Step-by-step photo sequences illustrate complicated technique. Recipe headnotes provide not only tips for ingredient selection but commentary on regional variations and traditions.

Author Mariana Nuno Ruiz was born in raised in Guadalajara and is now a culinary instructor in the United States. Photographer Ian McEnroe is her longtime collaborator and husband.