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

This magical realism classic (256 pages) was published in August of 2002 by Anchor. The book takes you to a timeless Mexican village. Melissa read Like Water for Chocolate and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

buy is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.


Like Water for Chocolate

A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies

Laura Esquivel, Carol and Thomas Christenen (translators)

Food, love, and passion color this luscious family saga set in a Mexican border town around 1900. This intimate story of one family is played out against the dramatic backdrop of the Mexican Revolution.

Wistful and full of magic, the tale reads like a legend that’s been passed down through generations, and it centers on the forbidden love of Tita and Pedro. As the youngest daughter, it’s Tita’s fate to forsake love and to care for her domineering mother, Mama Elena, until her mother’s death.

But Tita and Pedro fall madly in love.

When Tita felt Pedro’s gaze on her, ‘she understood exactly how raw dough must feel when it comes into contact with boiling oil.’ To be close to her, Pedro marries Tita’s older sister, and no one’s life remains untouched by this flawed decision.

To Tita, food is life. Each chapter represents a month of the year, opening with a recipe that intertwines with the characters’ experiences. Tita spends her days in the kitchen, both her gift and her curse. The food she prepares is infused with deep emotion and magical powers. Her tears, bitterly wept into the batter of a wedding cake, induce a devastating sense of longing in the guests who take a bite. A delicate sauce made of rose petals inspires incendiary passions around the dinner table.

As the plot traces Tita and Pedro’s lifelong love, we see its impact on the rest of the family and the village, including Tita’s sisters, a kindly doctor, bouncing babies, and Mexican revolutionaries.

It’s an enchanting and sorrowful story of family obligation, the things that feed us, and a desire that cannot be extinguished.

The trouble with crying over an onion is that once the chopping gets you started and the tears begin to well up, the next thing you know you just can’t stop. — Laura Esquivel

keep reading

Tropical coasts, lush jungles, ancient Mayan and Aztec ruins, majestic colonial architecture, fresh margaritas — Mexico is an inspired background for all kinds of stories about sun, fun, friendship, and family.
If reading makes us more empathetic, then reading books in translation gives us super-empathy. In these beautifully translated stories, you'll meet unforgettable characters and expand your reading world.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got the history of the question mark, Pennsylvania scrapple, Ukrainian novels, LA's Union Station, fiction podcasts, and more.
We cannot resist an epic family saga: Secrets kept and revealed. Half-truths passed through the generations. Expectations and sacrifice. Tales of bravery, love, and loyalty that defy the odds. These books have it all.
The pages of 'Like Water for Chocolate' burn with the various ways humans can love each other: passionately, platonically, painfully — and food is a full-fledged character in this lush, satisfying family saga.
Mexico is an inspiring background for stories that explore the joy (and challenges) of family and the magic of everyday experiences. In this episode of our podcast, we hit the beach and explore ancient cultures.
Cuba has a tough history, but the island itself is welcoming, a candy-colored dreamscape of pastel buildings, lush greenery, sparkling beaches, and friendly people — plus rum cocktails and dancing in the streets.
Thailand engages all your senses with vibrant color everywhere you look, delicious things to eat on every corner, the scent of tropical flowers on the breeze, and the music of gongs hovering in the air. Let's go!

sharing is caring!

Wanna help us spread the word? If you like this page, please share with your friends.

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.

This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
We'll never share your email with anyone else. Promise.
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.