Like Water for Chocolate - by Laura Esquivel
"Anyone who eats Tita's cooking feels her thought and impulses."
Like Water for Chocolate is definitely one of the weirdest books I've ever read, and I've read a lot of books. Every chapter is a month of the year and begins with a list of ingredients followed by the steps for preparing a dish. Food is used to symbolize different emotions in the book like passion, heartbreak, triumph, anger, love, and lust. The main character, Tita, transmits her emotions at the time that she's cooking into the food she's making. Anyone who eats the food can feel the same thoughts and impulses that Tita felt at the time. While this is obviously not possible, it provides for some pretty funny scenes.
One of my favorites is when Tita is angry at her sister and is making chilaquiles for herself. She feeds the crumbs to the chickens , but they begin to viciously attack each other, poking out eyes and tearing off feathers. The fight is so intense that it creates a whirlwind that sweeps Tita off the ground and, when it's over, there are only three featherless chickens left.
Like Water for Chocolate is full of improbable scenes like this one and also Mexican folklore and superstition. The book uses hyperbole to make these scenes more outrageously hilarious. Tita is said to have flooded the house one time, tears streaming down the stairs and out the door from all her crying.
The descriptions of the dishes are mouth-watering and made me want to go to the kitchen and prepare a huge seven course meal. Actually, after reading a few chapters the other night, I baked these cookie things without using a recipe, and they actually turned out pretty tasty.
The only real complaint I have is that the book's layout is somewhat confusing. Although the chapters are arranged chronologically from one month to the next, the book talks about month, or even years, passing from one event to another. By December, Pedro and Rosaura have supposedly been married for twenty-two years, even though it seems like it has been less thatn a year becuase their wedding was in February.
Despite this minor detail, Like Water for Chocolate is a fun, quick read, and it actually made me laugh out loud at the especially funny parts. The ending also provide a twist that would normally be considered tragic, but under the circumstances is just the perfect touch to this wacky ridiculous read.