Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate

A Novel in Monthly Installments, With Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

Book - 1992
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Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef. She shares special points of her favorite preparations with listeners throughout the story.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c1992
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780385420167
0385420161
Branch Call Number: FIC Esqu
Characteristics: 245 p

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m
mini_moon_pie
Jun 17, 2019

Romantic, funny, Like Water for Chocolate is also sexy. But don’t worry! You never get any explicit acts or descriptions, but that doesn’t make the novel chaste. As Tita grinds spices by hand in the kitchen, Pedro wanders in and sees her. The narrator acknowledges Tita never wears a bra, and thus Pedro can see her exposed breasts. He never touches them, though; his passion comes through in his look, and “in a few moments’ time, Pedro had transformed Tita’s breasts from chaste to experienced flesh, without even touching them.” I’m not capturing the whole scene, but the build up to this moment is sexual, passionate, and never gratuitous.

r
ryner
Feb 14, 2019

When her mother marries Tita's sister off to Tita's own crush Pedro on the grounds that Tita, as the youngest daughter, can never marry because it is her duty to care for her mother until her dying days, she is understandably devastated. Thereafter, she takes refuge in the kitchen, preparing all of the traditional family recipes passed down over the years (and also shared here with the reader).

Although I've read a handful which I've enjoyed, I'm not a fan of magical realism generally. I selected this title for the #ownvoices Mexico category in the Read Harder challenge, as it is well-known and highly-rated. I was somewhat appalled to discover how unlikable (even ghastly) many of the characters were -- poor Tita. On the other hand, the recipes sounded delicious, though I'm not sure I have the culinary skills to execute them successfully. I'd be curious to learn whether other readers have tried their hands and how they turned out.

a
alicat1
Nov 26, 2018

A culinary and literary delight!

m
MustInvolveEggs
Sep 23, 2018

The magical realism is skillful and emotional, and there were passages, like Tita trying to feed the pigeon, that worked really well for me. But the romance at the center of the book is horrifying. Pedro willingly marries Tita’s sister Rosaura to get closer to her, with no regard for Rosaura’s feelings or future. Once he’s part of the household, though, he makes no clear attempts to stop or lessen the abuse toward the woman he supposedly loves. His one caring act, bringing Tita a showy bouquet of flowers, is a move guaranteed to make tensions worse. He doesn’t grow a spine when Tita’s mother forbids their marriage or orders him out of town: he waits until Tita is engaged to a man who would at least treat her with kindness and care. After a day of escalating refusals to take her no for an answer, he sexually assaults the woman he claims to love. Love doesn’t matter at that point. This is a man incapable of putting anyone’s happiness over his own comfort. It’s understandable that attention-starved Tita could fall for someone who showed her intermittent neglect instead of total neglect. If the book had seemed to understand how awful their dynamic was, it could’ve been a heartbreaking tragedy. But with their love presented as right and inescapable, it’s just unintentionally heartbreaking.

t
tinafaris
Sep 18, 2017

This magical realism book combined food and lyrical writing in a way that made you think you were reading a soft-core romance novel. It does have a telenovela feel with the dramatized events, but it was so beautifully written that it wasn't overly dramatic. Food and cooking has so much depth, especially when combined with the cultural importance frequently found in the Latin American cuisine experience--and this short novel captured all of this so well. Each chapter is broken up by recipe and delved into with fervent emotions that, in turn, end up affecting the food and those eating the food just as much as the cook experiencing those emotions. It was truly a beautiful, romantic book filled with magical realism elements that had similarities to the great One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (one of my favorites).

p
pennymcgilton
Dec 15, 2016

This is one of the most memorable books I have read. It is an example of the family legends and stories from our ancestors. How time will exaggerate what we hear about aunts and uncles and grandparents. The story has a sort ethereal feel about a young girl who is deprived of love and her feelings are transferred to her cooking. If she is happy, all those who eat her food are delirious. If she is sad, all those who partake become horribly ill. When she does find love things are all in a tizzy. The ending is quite wonderful and special.

a
artemishi
Aug 07, 2013

A beautiful, passionate love story interwoven with mouth-watering recipes. This book reads like a narration, and I imagine an audio tape of it must be quite something. I am dying to try making some of these recipes, and to find my Pedro someday.

m
maacarrillo
Aug 02, 2013

this book a have read sever time is one of my favorite book all time , it has everything romances , lust , great plot

patienceandfortitude Feb 04, 2013

Really not my cup of tea. I think I need to stay away from magical realism. It just doesn't work for me. The ending seemed just silly. Sigh.

mamiuno Oct 18, 2012

ese mi libro........

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janicedlb Oct 14, 2014

With food running through all of her prose...."wrapped up like a taco, the baby was sleeping peacefully"....

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