Subject: A Mexican tradition
Linda has asked me to post my recent experience of a typical Mexican tradition.....

Here in Mexico there is an interesting tradition at Christmas. There is a kind of pastry, or cake, called Rosca de Reyes (roughly meaning Kings' donut-shaped cake) that is made for Christmas, and is sold in the supermarkets and bakeries only for about one month (they start selling it in early December). The Rosca de Reyes is a plain cake, vaguely similar to the Jewish bread eaten on Friday nights, and on top are some pieces of candied fruit. They bake into the cake a few tiny, white plastic dolls about an inch high. Whoever gets the piece of cake with a doll in it must then make a party on Feb. 2 (the day the kings arrived at the manger), and serve tamales at the party.

My husband and I were invited on Jan. 5 to someone's house for dinner - or should I say, mainly for the Rosca de Reyes. It was a rather interesting group: we were 12 people, yet only 1 was Mexican! The hostess, Angela, who has been living in Mexico with her husband for 35 years, was Spanish from the Philippines, and her husband was Argentinian. The other guests were Costa Rican, Spanish, Canadian (us), American, and British, most of them living in Mexican for many, many years. Instead of Mexican food, we were served Philippino food - special Philippino noodles with vegetables, and egg rolls, the dough of which was from the Philippines, imported by the U.S., and brought from San Francisco to Mexico by Angela's daughter! (even egg rolls get to travel!!)

After the noodles and egg rolls, we had Rosca de Reyes and hot chocolate. One of the men got the little doll inside, but Angela announced before the Rosca was cut that whoever got the doll would not be expected to throw a party.

That same day, we had Roscas at work, and I was one of several lucky ones to get the little doll. No party expected, but we were told we're supposed to bring in tamales for everyone on Feb. 2!

Laurie in Mexico City (formerly from Rome)