magical food & magical realism

Alec Dempster

Spanish 231

Asuncion Arnedo

Apr. 16 2022


magical food and magical realism

         How chocolate water can be explored through the eyes, ears and nose of Tita de la Garza and her mother, Mama Elena. Tita strongly desires love and freedom, while Mama Elena acts as the obstacle that prevents her from reaching her goals. “Unquestionably,” Esquivel writes, “when it came to dividing, dismantling, dismembering, desolating, detaching, dispossessing, destroying, or dominating, Mama Elena was a pro” (Esquivel, p. 97). Because Mama Elena refuses to bond with tita, she develops a relationship with food that allows her to enhance her emotions.

        Not only does her cooking allow her to voice her emotions, but the food Tita cooks reflects what happens later along in the story. For example, Gertrudis leaving the farm is a direct correlation to Tita’s cooking. While cooking, Tita’s sexual attraction to peter takes control of his food. This passion that tita cooks his food transmits to gertrudis, who leaves so that he can pursue his sexual attraction to Juan. John Brown illustrates the magic behind Tita’s food, saying that “it creates a brightness that shines far beyond our normal vision and then a splendid tunnel appears that shows us the way that we forgot when we were born and calls us to recover our lost divine origin’” (Esquivel, p. 243-244). 

        Images of fire and flame drive the novel’s intense passion and emotion. However, this image of fire also encapsulates the inner fire Tita struggles with throughout the novel. Perhaps the title of the novel best outlines Tita. Esquivel writes that, “Tita was literally ‘like water for chocolate’—she was on the verge of boiling over” (Esquivel, p. 151). 


añorar to long for/miss

la lágrima tear

nodriza nurse

el grano de cafe coffee

el cacao cocoa


Esquivel, Laura. Like water for chocolate. New York, A Division of Random House Inc. 1989.

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