Saturday, 27 October 2012

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

Some people are called sensual I would call this story very sensual.

The book is about a Mexican family consisting of women only: a tyrannical mother, three sisters, a cook and a few servants. The story happens at the turn of the 20th century and the major place of actions is the kitchen of the de la Graza ranch. The book is about tasty things and is written deliciously so you swallow it in one go like an oyster.

Any author who uses food metaphors in her/his writings is doomed to be remembered because these kind of metaphors appeal to our instincts. It works exactly like with the sense of smell, take, for example, "Perfume" of Patrick Suskind. When I was reading it I suddenly noticed that I was breathing deeply as if trying to absorb more flavor, sometimes I would hold my breath for a long time. My body will remember "Perfume" forever:)

Laura Esquivel beats the nail on the head.  Not only does she use epithets and metaphors related to food but she starts every chapter with a recipe and what a recipe! The ingredients are so strong: red pepper, chocolate, almonds, and the dishes are so festive and rare: quails in rose petals, oxtail soup, chocolate and royal pretzel, that hardly anyone can resist this cascade of tastes. Only the strength of the women characters and passions of the de la Graza ranch can match the power of recipes (that I unfortunately cannot reproduce because of the lack of ingredients). If the mother is authoritarian then this feature is pronounced as the taste of lemon without sugar. If passion suddenly awakens in the middle sister then no one can stop her like a magic pot of porridge. If Tita is unhappy because her beloved Pedro maries her sister, the wedding food cooked by Tita poisons the guests because Tita poured her sadness in it. 

Tita, the main heroine, is the youngest in the family. Her birth in the kitchen determined her fate - she became eventually the cook of the house and the food she prepares transmits Tita's emotions to those who eat it. 

What the plot is about? Tita cannot not live without Pedro, Pedro can not be without Tita as Mexican hot chocolate can not be without boiling water. Their fate lines having zigzagged sharply finally get  connected. In other words "Eat, Pray, Love":)

Everything is extreme and magical in the story - the intensity of the emotions and the Mexican heat. Everything stimulates amorous exploits, and cooking exploits, of course. 

PS: Please make sure you have eaten before you start reading this delicious book. 

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