We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

¡Happy Birthday, Guadalupe! Feliz Navidad Fiesta Menu

by Linda

The Guadalupe Shrine at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun—Tucson, Arizona.
"Cause we are livin’ in a difficult time
We’ve been walkin’ down a difficult line
Put your feet up baby, it’s Christmas time
Cumpleaños feliz
Happy Birthday, Guadalupe."
~The Killers

   I can't honestly pinpoint the moment when I became devoted to the Virgen of Guadalupe. I am nevertheless, for better or for worse, devoted. And my devotion is not Catholic in nature, nor particularly religious. Simply, my devotion flows from the central and urgent need in me to honor the sacred feminine. That force which gestates, gives birth to, and nurtures life and creativity and finally, in the end, destroys and brings death. All of which has a place in the sacred circle of life.
   Somewhere around 1987, during my Saturn Return, I experienced a very dark night of the soul, as they say. I had no idea what a Saturn Return was at the time, but that did stop Saturn from kicking me squarely in the rear end. A more self-aware way to put that would be to say that I had been busy setting in motion some things, and chose to be oblivious to other things. Eventually all those things would converge into my thirty-year-old angst, and subsequent depression.

   "The first Saturn Return is famous because it represents the first test of character and the structures a person has built their life upon. According to traditions, should these structures be unsound, or if a person is living out of touch with his or her true values, the Saturn Return will be a time of upheaval and limitations as Saturn forces him or her to jettison old concepts and worn out patterns of living. It is not uncommon for relationships and jobs to end during this time of life restructuring and reevaluation." — Wikipedia

   So jettison old concepts I did. It was at this time, also, when I turned 30, that my beloved Nana, my maternal grandmother died, leaving me with a broken heart and a great well of sadness within. I started taking stock of every part of my life, including and most especially taking a look at my spiritual life and beliefs, because I was not a happy young woman. I felt depressed and adrift, and I determined that I needed to do something about it. My search for answers led me to read books by Marija Gimbutas, and other scholars who were reintroducing the concept of the Neolithic Mother Goddess. I immediately embraced the idea of a spiritual world view that honored the feminine as sacred, and viewed the Earth as sacred mother of us all. As I began to try on this new mantle honoring the sacred feminine, I felt proud and confident in a way that I never had before.
   So there was Guadalupe. A goddess that I could love— The Goddess of the Americas. My research led me to know that Guadalupe descended from the Aztec Goddesses referred to as Tontantzin. Ancient Aztec cosmology recognized many faces of the goddess, and Tontantzin is the word that was used to refer to all of the sacred forms of the goddess.

Ballet Folklórico Tapatío performs for La Fiesta de Guadalupe. 

   Over the years my relationship with Guadalupe has deepened. These days I feel that she is an old friend, the universal mother. She certainly does not cater to my wishes, or answer my prayers, but she also does not judge me, and she helps me carry my burdens. She patiently watches me struggle with them until I am ready to lay them at her feet. Her expression is always compassionate, and she radiates serenity. And when I don't have any answers, which is often, she is fine with that. In the words of author and poet, Sandra Cisneros:
   "My Virgen de Guadalupe is not the mother of God. She is God. She is a face for a god without a face, an indígena for a god without ethnicity, a female deity for a god who is genderless, but I also understand that for her to approach me, for me to finally open the door and accept her, she had to be a woman like me."

   Happy birthday, La Morenita! According to the legend, the Virgin of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego 479 years ago today, and pink roses bloomed in December on the top of a frigid and barren hill. Here is a hymn for you which you will find me singing today with a full heart and at the top of my voice accompanying one of my favorite Mexican artists Marco Antonio Solis:

Virgencita... milagrosa - Little Virgen...The Miraculous
Eres tu la estrella mas hermosa - Your are the most beautiful star
De la creacion - of creation
Virgen morena- Brown virgen
Reina de la eperanza - Queen of hope
Hoy te cantamos el himno a la humildad - Today we sing a hymn of humility to you
Eres la tierra - You are the earth
Donde la fe sembramos - Where our faith is planted
Y cosechamos siempre - And we always harvest
De tu bondad - Of your goodness
Virgencita adorada - Adored Virgen
No me puedo ir - I am not able to go
Sin decirte mil gracias - Without telling you a thousand thank yous
Tu sabes por que - You know why

Feliz Navidad Fiesta

   Often when I have hosted the Christmas Day festivities at my house, I have opted to have a Mexican Fiesta menu. I chose to do this for several reasons, and the primary ones are because it is delicious and easy. I want to enjoy my Christmas Day, too, so it is the one day where you will not find me slavishly tending the meal. So here are my offerings, for an amazing meal, that leaves you plenty of time to laze about and enjoy the day. Here is my menu and my secrets for success.

Fiesta Menu

Chips y Salsa Fresca

Sopa de Albondigas
Enchiladas de Amy's
Lupe's Tamales de Pollo
El Charro Arroz
Frijoles or Silvia's
Ensalada de Col
Salsa Fresca
Dulces y Garriettas
Cafe y Kahlua

   The enchiladas can either be made ahead and frozen, or I have often purchased Amy's frozen enchiladas in the family-sized pans. They are tasty and couldn't be any easier. As for the tamales, find a good source and purchase. I have always been able to inquire from friends who is selling tamales at holiday time. For a retail source Primavera Tamales are very good. You can purchase ahead and freeze if you like. So there are two main parts of the meal taken care of.
   The only item that you will need to prepare day of the party is the rice. The refried beans can be a store-bought variety and heated up with some sautéed onion, salsa, and a little chicken broth. You can also make Silvia's Black Beans a day or two ahead if you prefer homemade. The Albondigas Soup is nice to have out in a crock pot during the day and will serve as lunch. It is great to have available for guests to serve themselves. I like to set out a Lazy Susan with salsa fresca, chips, guacamole, pickled veggies and jalapenos, sour cream, etc. Guests can ladle up the soup and garnish as desired.

   The margaritas can be prepared up to three days ahead. I like to use plastic gallon water bottles to store the margaritas in the fridge for large groups. For Christmas, I like to add a splash of fresh orange juice to the mix. The juice of one orange per recipe. This way, all you need to do is to find a place to set up your bar. Have sliced limes, salt on a plate, ice and glasses, with the chilled margaritas in a festive pitcher. You can also have a chilled white wine, a red wine and sodas and mineral water at the bar. Guests can help themselves, a favorite tactic of mine. They can be in charge of their own happiness.
   Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. About an hour before dinner place enchiladas in the oven. Start boiling water in a large steamer for the tamales. The tamales will need to steam for at least 20 minutes. Start heating your refried or Silvia's black beans and make your rice. The coleslaw can be tossed just before going on the table.

The chapel built by Ted DeGrazia dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe located in Tucson, Arizona.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this gr8 blog..enjoyed much, muchos gracias!


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