While Dia Los Muertos is perhaps best known in the USA through its Mexican-style celebrations, it is a holiday celebrated throughout Latin America. I was doing a little research on other countries’ traditional foods, and came across Fiambre, a veritable Guatemalan smorgasbord served in honor of Dia de los Muertos/Dia de Todos Santos (All Saints Day). Fiambre is a chopped salad akin to a giant antipasti dish, which may include up to 50 ingredients , and weight up to 20 pounds. Of course there are as many variations as families, but a common denominator is a base of sliced meat, cold cuts, cheeses and sausages followed by veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and more), topped with eggs, grated cheese, radishes and dressing. A signature touch is pacaya palm blossoms, a traditional Guatemalan ingredient.
Allegedly, the origins of fiambre are rooted in the tradition of bringing ancestors their favorite foods in honor of Dia de Todos Santos. Gradually, according to legend, all of the dishes of food brought to the the graves of the dead were combined to create one large dish of fiambre. Fiambre, unlike many other celebratory dishes, is truly only served on this day, and requires a lot of preparation. The fiambre components have to be sliced and chopped and the assembled fiambre is marinated over night, and is served chilled. Given the amount of ingredients (see below for a sampling), it looks incredibly time-consuming. These two recipes from Growing Up Bilingual and The Latin Kitchen give you a good idea on the preparation of fiambre.