Oh, how grateful I am to Suzanne for gifting me this exquisite book for Christmas. I forgot to include it in my New Year Books post – only because I had it already squirrelled away by my bedside ready for delving into.
This huge world-wide best-seller (and subsequent film adaptation) had completely passed me by. I’m not sure how that happened – this book is so very right up my street – but if I ruminate long enough, I’d imagine it’s due to timing. It was waiting for me, waiting for the perfect moment.
What does the word ‘chocolate’ evoke for you? For me, it’s rich, deep, velvety, spicy, magic, sultry, explicit – and that just about describes this book for me.
Delivered in monthly chapters, the tale is of the De La Garza family and in particular the youngest daughter, Tita. Against her will, she is held to a Mexican tradition that the youngest daughter in the family may never marry, and is instead forced to look after her mother into her old age.
Each chapter unfolds with a new recipe and begins in the same way, interweaving the ingredients and the method into a tale of unconsummated passion, unrequited love, stubborn temperaments and fierce personalities.
January’s recipe is the celebratory ‘Christmas Rolls’, March brings us the delicate ‘Quail in Rose Petal Sauce’ and September offers up the majestic “Chocolate and Three King’s Day Bread”. How could you resist?
I’ve got a thing about preparing food with love. If it isn’t – well, it just tastes nasty and leaves a lump in the throat. The author ingeniously captures that idea in the very fabric of her tale, and uses the emotions with which Tita cooks to imbue violent reactions in the recipients of it – from deep inexplicable sorrow, to blazing sexuality.
It is ingenious and magical, invoking powerful visual imagery throughout. In fact, it’s so rich, it is like taking a bath in chocolate. I only wish I knew enough Spanish to read the original version.
To the table or to bed
You must come when you are bid.
Here’s a link to Amazon if you’re a customer there. Like Water for Chocolate
It’s an affiliate link, which one day may earn me enough for a biscuit to accompany my coffee (it hasn’t so far!)
p.s. “Like water for chocolate” comes from a Mexican saying which compares a boiling temperament to that of the water prepared for hot chocolate …
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