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Magic+Food=Great Fiction

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With all the excitement of birthday phone calls and what not this morning, I nearly forgot to write my post.  Gosh, I’m getting so bad about that.

I recently started reading Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages, and I finally got around to it.  I realize it was published in the mid  80’s so most of you have probably already read it, but in case you haven’t, you should definitely pick up a copy.  It’s absolutely delightful.

The book takes place on a ranch in Mexico.  Like nearly every piece of Latin American literature I’ve ever read, it’s set amidst a rebel upheaval.  Geurilla warfare seems absolutely pervasive.  What’s up with that?  It follows the sad life of Tita, the youngest daughter  doomed to serve her mother until she dies.  Tita spends most of her time in the kitchen, and her emotions have an astounding affect on the people who eat the food she prepares.

This book could not be more perfect for me.  It combines two things that I absolutely adore, food and magic.  It’s always so difficult to explain magical realism to people who don’t know what it is.  You really have to experience it to understand it.  Fantastical things happen in the everyday world, and people just accept it as normal.  It’s not spells or wizardry, more like supernatural elements permeating real life.  Nobody ever questions whether ghosts exist or that food cooked by someone with a broken heart could make the person who eats it ill.  That’s just how it is.

This story is told through the traditional family recipes that Tita prepares.  Each chapter is based on a certain recipe, and the preparation of that recipe and the ensuing action are what moves the story forward.  It’s romantic and heartbreaking and delicious.  Get lost in Like Water for Chocolate.  You’ll love it.


About Renee

Life should be awesome, even if your paycheck isn't. I'm trying to live awesomely on $20 a day.

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