I missed this book by Laura Esquivel when it was all the rage some 15 years ago or so. The subtitle nearly says it all: "A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies." What a fun book.
Set in Mexico at the turn of the century, Like Water for Chocolate focuses on Tita, the youngest daughter of a traditional Mexican family. As the youngest daughter, she is expected to forsake love in order to stay at home and care for her aging mother. The dictator-mother insists that the love of Tita's life, Pedro, marry her sister Rosaura instead. Pedro agrees only because it means he'll be able to stay close to Tita.
The rest of the book involves lots and lots of cooking, which produces all kinds of interesting scenarios. Tita is a somewhat magical cook, and her food brings out the best and worst in the people around her.
Again, this is a fun book—one to read when you need something light but well-written. The element of magical realism is somewhat reminiscent of Isabel Allende's House of the Spirits, although Allende's book is on a completely different level. I look forward to seeing the movie, which I have on my Netflix queue.
Other Reviews of Like Water for Chocolate
Nose in a Book
Jandy's Reading Room