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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Innovation Kitchen hosts tamale making event

The innovation kitchen inside the Alumni Memorial Union is a room that consists of a built-in kitchen and seating area. Cooking classes and events that involve a cooking demo are often hosted there. On the evening of Nov. 1st, dining services hosted a celebration for Día de los Muertos in the innovation kitchen.
Melanie+Vianes+demonstrates+how+to+prepare+the+Tamales+in+front+of+the+Ofrenda.+
Photo by For
Melanie Vianes demonstrates how to prepare the Tamales in front of the Ofrenda.

a de los Muertos translates to “Day of the Dead,” and is celebrated as a time to remember deceased loved ones. The celebration runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 2. Despite originating in Mexico, it is celebrated in many Latin American countries and by descendants of Latin American heritage all over the world. 

The innovation kitchen inside the Alumni Memorial Union is a room that consists of a built-in kitchen and seating area. Cooking classes and events that involve a cooking demo are often hosted there. On the evening of Nov. 1, dining services hosted a celebration for Día de los Muertos in the innovation kitchen.

Papel picados are bright pieces of tissue paper that are strung across streets and houses; different colors have different meanings, such as celebration (pink) or the grief of mourning (purple). An Ofrenda is an altar for the deceased to return to. The Ofrenda is often decorated with food, drinks and the deceased’s favorite items. 

Papel picados and an Ofrenda decorated the innovation kitchen as students walked in. The festivities didn’t end there; students had the opportunity to make their own tamales as music consisting of Spanish lyrics filled the room. 

The event was led by Melanie Vianes, general manager of Marquette dining services. As the demonstration began, Vianes spoke about the meaning and history of the Ofrenda. Vianes displayed her personal Ofrenda, explaining that often the Ofrenda is decorated with some of the deceased loved one’s favorite food and drinks. 

Vianes spoke about why food is an important aspect of the celebration. 

“Food is an offering and remembrance of what your loved ones have eaten,” Vianes said. 

Vianes explained that the recipe she presented was a recipe commonly used by her family during her childhood while she grew up in south Texas. Students were able to watch the preparation of the tamales. Step-by-step, Vianes demonstrated the cooking process and presented her skills in the kitchen. 

Tamales have two main components: the dough and filling. Vianes led students through the steps to seasoning and preparing the filling. 

Emma Coon, a first-year student in the College of Health Sciences studying exercise physiology, observed the 40 minute cooking process and preparation for the tamales, noting the time it takes. 

“It’s a lengthy process, and many need to be prepared for the celebration,” Coon said. 

Vianes spoke about the overall importance of food and culture, as well as her goal through hosting the event. 

“I wanted to pair culture with cuisine. Food is an expression of so many different cultures. I want to ignite awareness through food and also become a resource on campus for diversity and inclusion,” Vianes said. 

For some, this was their first time celebrating Día de los Muertos. Some groups of friends laughed and talked their way through making their first ever tamales, as they attempted to fill and wrap them. 

Patricia Dawidoicz, a first-year student in the College of Health Sciences, talked about her experience celebrating Día de los Muertos for the first time. 

“I took away the very positive environment that has been created here,” Dawidoicz said. 

Vianes said that she was striving to have a positive outcome for those who celebrate Día de los Muertos annually and for those who are celebrating for the first time.

“It creates awareness to the cultural aspect of it, and it’s nice to remember loved ones that have passed in a celebratory way,” Vianes said. 

This story was written by Olivia Stanley. She can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Olivia Stanley, News Multimedia Journalist
Olivia Stanley is a first-year student from Two Rivers, Wisconsin. She is studying journalism and political science and is a news multimedia journalist for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire she enjoys reading, traveling, and running. Olivia is excited to learn more about multimedia journalism and the Marquette Wire as a whole during her first year at Marquette.

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