Background: The informant is a 50 year old man. He was born in Tecate, Mexico, moving to California when he was young. He grew up with his four siblings and two parents, moving from location to location across California. He currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
Context: The context was a few weeks before Easter, and the informant began sharing stories about what happens before Easter when walking in the mall past Easter decorations.
UI: “Around Easter, when I was a kid, we used to go to my grandmothers, in uh, Delano, which is a small town near Bakersfield, and, and what she used to do is that she would make this, hm, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s like a bread pudding and in Spanish it’s called capirotada. You know, I haven’t had it in so long because it takes like all day to make it. What you do is start off with about a week old bread, and then you put it in a tray with butter. And basically, it’s like traditional Mexican bread. It’s like a bread pudding type bread, and you typically make it before Easter and it’s like day old bread with raisins and butter and nuts, and it’s just like it all melts together with cinnamon and they sprinkle it with cheese on top and it all kind of like blends together into a weird pudding mixture, and that’s basically in preparation for Easter. I used to help my grandmother make it, because she would make trays and trays for everybody. The bread represents the body of Christ, the syrup is his blood, and the cloves are the nails of the cross, and the whole cinnamon sticks are the woods of the cross, and the melted cheese stands for the holy shroud. I guess it’s just like hidden meanings with the crucifixion of Jesus for Easter within the food.”
Informant: He was very excited when sharing the story and appeared actually nostalgic for his childhood. Evidently, the time making food with his grandmother was a peaceful time of his life, and he loved the food.
Mine: Many of the foods around the holiday have hidden religious meanings behind them, having a dual cultural significance for both being a food to bring together family on holidays and for the religious context. The informant made the food with his grandmother, serving as time for the two of them to bond and for him to be taught the recipe of the Mexican dish. He was in the transition state from passively accepting the tradition when he began cooking with his grandmother. Then, the capirotada holds religious folklore, with each element not being randomly chosen, but rather chosen to represent an element of Christ. Given that the informantant still remembers the information after all these years, it is clear that the message imparted onto him by his grandmother held a deep value for him. It is our elders who are carrying on the traditions and they must be listened to in order to fully absorb it.