This article is from the June 2000 The Mexico File newsletter.
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by Bruce McGovern

A traditional sweet bread for Day of the Dead is called muertitos, Little Dead People. It's made of bread dough, twisted into a traditional shape that is supposed to represent a body with two legs extended, and the arms crossed on the chest. It is covered with a red sugar, then baked.

To me, they look like a couple of triangles joined together.

November 1st, in the little village where my wife was born, in the State of Puebla, we were visiting Tia Otilia, and she asked one of the boys to drive us to the center of town for fresh, hot muertitos.

A block away from the Catholic church is a traditional bakery. The brick and stone oven is about ten feet deep, with an arched roof. The baker builds a fire in the oven. While it heats, he prepares his dough, and puts it on a long board. When the oven is hot, he sweep out the fire and shoves in the dough‑laden boards. After they are baked, he pulls out the boards and sets them to cool.

Women were carrying away baskets of those hot muertitos!

Later, Tia made chamomile tea and offered us fresh muertitos. Margarita explained I don't eat sugar, then she turned over a muertito, peeled off the bottom, sugar‑free half, gave it to me, and ate the sugar part.

Tia and Tio both took a muertito, carefully peeled off the bottom, gave it to me, and ate the sugar part.  

And, people ask why I love the Mexican people!