Like Water for Chocolate

By Laura Esquivel,

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

Book description


'This magical, mythical, moving story of love, sacrifice and summering sensuality is something I will savour for a long time' MAUREEN LIPMAN

Like Water For Chocolate tells the captivating story of the…

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Why read it?

9 authors picked Like Water for Chocolate as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Laura Esquivel’s delicious love story is chock full of cooking and magic realism. When protagonist Tita first sees Pedro, a forbidden passion ignites and burns bright. It consumes and almost devours the young lovers at the center of this novel.

When I set out to write my book, I wanted to include elements of magic realism and lots of cooking. Growing up Italian in New Jersey, the magic of food was a huge part of my upbringing. Like Tita in Like Water for Chocolate, I learned very early in life that great cooking is the best way to capture…

From David's list on quirky wisdom filled love stories.

Honestly, I first picked up this novel because of the abundance of recipes within its pages!

I also enjoyed the fanciful idea that food can have power over emotions. And Like Water for Chocolate is a tale full of feeling, offering me a roller coaster experience as I journeyed with Tita, hoping for love and redemption for her in the end. Esquivel also wrote about strong ties to family and tradition, which resonated with me. 

From Jennifer's list on books that combine food and magic.

In this novel, Laura Esquivel uses a technique of taking a typical experience and exaggerating it so much that it transcends the possible and ventures into the magical. The birth of the main character, Tita, involves “a great tide of tears” so vast that when the water has dried, there is “enough salt to fill a ten-pound sack.” 

Tita is a gifted chef, and her emotions seep into the food she prepares which in turn affects the feelings of those who eat it. A meal she has cooked while feeling a passionate longing for the lover she cannot have, for…

This novel is a great way to start enjoying magical realism. It’s about a family—a hard-boiled mother and her three daughters who live on a ranch in northern Mexico during the Mexican Revolution.

The youngest daughter, named Tita, is told that it is an unalterable family tradition for the youngest daughter not to marry but to stay home and take care of her mother. Tita obeys but with very interesting (and magical) consequences.

Food is the source of much of the magic in this novel, and if you love cooking and eating, you’ll love this magic! And because the story…

In Like Water for Chocolate, how people feel when they are cooking affects what they are creating, and the people eating that food feel what the cook was feeling. I love that. It shows how truly magical, healing, and transformative cooking can be even though it is an ordinary everyday task that most of us perform. Each chapter has a recipe, and each recipe is tinged with magic. As a bonus, the book taught me to pay attention to how I feel when I cook—I try not to cry or be angry when preparing dishes. Just in case.

A classic, bitter-sweet love story taking place in turn-of-the-century Mexico. Tita, the youngest daughter on the De la Garza Ranch, grows up to be a master chef. Through whimsy, wit, and a dash of magic, she expresses her heartaches, hopes, and dreams, through her dishes. Esquivel takes us on a journey that is both meaningful, emotional, and heartfelt, as Tita discovers her worth, strength, and passion for life and love. Emotionally, this book can be a challenging read, but perhaps that bit of realism is what resonates with me so profoundly.

As I love chocolate almost as much as I love reading, Like Water for Chocolate was always going to be on my reading list. On the surface, the book is a simple love story set during the Mexican Civil War. Digging deeper, the story is an allegory for the suffering of the Mexican people, particularly women, under the strict rules and traditions of an elitist government. This book is a subtle, sumptuous feast in which the recipes Tita concocts magically transfer her passions into her food and from the food to those who eat her cooking. The final choice she…

Like Water for Chocolate is a blend of romance and magic realism in which food is integral to the story. Each section begins with a beloved Mexican recipe that is woven into the story. The novel takes place in the early 1900s and follows a fifteen-year-old girl seeking true love and independence. While pursuing her adoration of a young man, her mother’s disapproval gets in the way and the girl finds her way toward independence as she cooks. The themes of coming of age, revolting against constraints, following one’s bliss, and cultivating passion—all the while cooking

Magical realism is a gift of the world that most people never learn about. This book was one of my first introductions to magical realism and I’ve never related to characters and emotions that I personally have no connection or relation to more than in this book. You can feel the words on the page come to life and overcome you as you read.

The book combines an outlandish plot with very real-world emotions. This works to have readers escape into an unfamiliar world with the familiarity of their own lives.

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