Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel, Carol Christensen, Thomas Christensen This novel is endearing and unique--Not really fantasy although--more literary fiction imbued with magical realism set in on a Mexican ranch near the border in the early 20th century. Tita is denied permission to marry her love Pedro because a family tradition demands as youngest daughter it is her fate and duty never to marry but instead care for her mother until she dies. The cruel Mama Elena then marries off her middle daughter, Rosauro, to Pedro. Tita expresses the yearning, desire, her anger and despair of her thwarted love through her food, with whimsical consequences. Each chapter begins with recipes exotic and everyday, and begins with the description of how to prepare the food. Somehow the writer conveys the romance and love of food--from the sweet, nurturing tastes we associate with childhood to the bitter ones of happiness crushed under the heel of family authority and propriety. The language is simple--has the feel of a child's tale even if with very adult content. It's part of what gives the story a fairy tale feel--an evil (step)mother, three sisters with different fates--and magic a plenty. Despite this being a tale of star-crossed romance and family jealousies, the different kinds of love ultimately make this a sweet concoction--one fast consumed but nourishing.