Ultimate Love in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate is a love story set in Mexico, interspersed with recipes, related in unadorned, uncomplicated language. Yet when the ingredients are combined and simmer, subtle and unusual flavors emerge. On one level, this is the story of Tita, youngest daughter of the formidable matriarch Mama Elena who forbids Tita to marry her true love Pedro because tradition says that the youngest daughter must care for her mother until her death. When Pedro marries Tita's oldest sister in order to be near Tita, it begins a life-long conflict filled with passion, deception, anger, and pure love. Interwoven throughout the narrative are the recipes, which, like an ancient Greek chorus, provide an ongoing metaphorical commentary on the characters and their culture. Finally, there is the food itself that Tita creates as head cook on the family ranch, food so vibrant and sensual, so imbued with her feelings of longing, frustration, rebellion, or love, that it affects everyone who eats it. The story is told by Tita's grand-niece who follows in her footsteps, using her cookbook and continuing a tradition quite different from the one her great-grandmother tried to impose. The combination of all these elements, food, tradition, romance, and a good measure of the super natural thrown in, enlace to form a passionate narrative where ultimate love is the string that holds it all.
Tita was born and raised in the kitchen. It is in this realm where she burst in a tidal wave of tears from her mother?s womb; where she was destined to serve a long life of solitude and emptiness. However, it is here where she also learns the most important lessons about life from the Indian cook Nacha. Tita was always attracted to the scents, the flavors, and the mysteries of the kitchen. As a toddler she spent her days witnessing the magic that Nacha manifested every time she set herself to make a platter. Tita was her apprentice and without knowing it, little by little, she completely embodied the power to cook, and what?s more, to reveal herself through her food. When she had no other way to express herself, food became her mode of communication. Mama Elena?s cruel appointing of Tita as head of all the preparations for the wedding of her sister Rosaura and the man that Tita loved, resulted very tragically. While baking the cake with Nacha, Tita?s tears sank into the batter of the cake, and acted as poisonous toxins that nauseated all those who ate it, ruining the wedding, and killing Nacha herself, who also tasted Tita?s melancholy teardrops:
Weeping was just the first symptom of a strange intoxication
-an acute attack of pain and frustration- that seized the guests
and scattered them across the patio and the grounds and in
the bathrooms, all of them wailing over their lost loves
Her feelings towards the other nuptial that occurs in the novel are completely different...