Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate

4.2 255
by Laura Esquivel, Carol Christensen, Thomas Christensen

See All Formats & Editions

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in


Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef. She shares special points of her favorite preparations with listeners throughout the story.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A tall-tale, fairy-tale, soap-opera romance, Mexican cookbook and home-remedy handbook all rolled into one, Like Water For Chocolate is one tasty entree from first-time novelist Laura Esquivel.”— San Francisco Chronicle

Product Details

Baker & Taylor, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition

Meet the Author

Originally published in 1990, Like Water for Chocolate (Como agua para chocolate) won Laura Esquivel international acclaim. The film based on the book, with a screenplay by Laura Esquivel, swept the Ariel awards of the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures, winning eleven in all, and went on to become the largest grossing foreign film ever released in the United States. In 1994 Like Water for Chocolate won the prestigious ABBY award, which is given annually by the American Booksellers Association. The book has been translated into thirty languages and there are over three million copies in print worldwide. Ms. Esquivel lives in Mexico.

Brief Biography

Mexico City, Mexico
Date of Birth:
September 30, 1951
Place of Birth:
Mexico City, Mexico

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Like Water for Chocolate 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 258 reviews.
Author_DB_Pacini More than 1 year ago
A friend recommended this book and eventually loaned me her copy because I had it on my "to buy" list for so long. I read it and was delighted. A family tradition forbids Tita from marrying her beloved Pedro. Well, he wants to stay close to her---so he marries Tita's sister Rosaura and the entire family lives under the same roof. Tita is the family cook and she reveals her love for Pedro though her extraordinary cooking. Author Laura Esquirel combines mouth-watering recipes, Mexico during the Revolution, forbidden love, romance, tears, and laughter in this scrumptious "Mexican Cinderella" story. I love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book Like water for Chocolate, by laura Esquivel, is a story about enchanted love, family, and homemade recipes. It takes place in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. It's about a young girl named Tita who wishes to marry her love of her dreams, but her mother and a Mexican tradtition is holding her back. The tradition indicates that the youngest daughter must not marry and stay at home to take care of their mother until she passes. Tita's mother, Mama Elena, doesnt make the exception to Tita and arranges her other daughter Rosaura to marry Pedro. Pedro accepts to marry Rosaura but only to get closer to Tita. Punishment for Tita's willfulness, Mama Elena makes Tita make their wedding cake. Tita has such passion for cooking that the wedding guests were overcome with sadness as they ate the cake because Tita was sad while baking the cake. This is when she first deiscovers her culinary talents and unique tecniques. As I read the book, I really liked how the chapters begin with recipes because it gives you a sence of whats comming and it also gives you new ideas for dinner. I also like how the elements of the story compliment eachother. There are sad times, and happy times and it all blends well together. I would reccomend this book to mostley girls who like cooking and love stories, although it is acceptable for all women. With Laura Esquival's desciptions, you are able to picture them in your mind. This book is very good and a novel worth reading.
LLCool More than 1 year ago
Like Water Chocolate is a great read for anybody wanting to learn about Mexican culture. It starts off with some background information on the birth of a Mexican girl named Tita during one of the revolutions against the wealthy land owners. Tita at a young age falls in love with Pedro, a boy from her village, and they swear to love each other for ever. When Pedro finds out that Tita cannot marry do to the Mexican tradition of the youngest daughter having to care for her mother until her death, Pedro decides to marry Tita's sister Rosaura so he can be close to Tita. Throughout the story Tita and Pedro find different ways to share their love while life goes on around him. By the end Rosaura dies and Tita's other sister Gertrudis joins the revolution and throughout the story provides Tita with advice and tips on Tita's secret relationship with Pedro. The story has many more climactic events and leads on to the climax of the story and its resolution. The book provides very good insight to the Mexican culture and lets you imagine what it would be like to live in that society. It is laced with many home remedies and recipes that show the way the Mexican people lived back then and make the book a very interesting and give the book a eye-opening power that some books provide on topics of very little knowledge. The book has its downs as well as its ups as parts of the book can go very slowly and some repetition of ideas previously expanded upon can be omitted. This book contains ideas that are considered wrong in our society and can be considered offensive to some woman's rights activist as the youngest daughter has no choice but to live her life in servitude of her mother. A theme that reoccurs throughout the book is to never set aside your love for someone for anything and never let anything stand in your way of love. This book can relate to many Mexicans through the culture of the society and many of the remedies, recipes, and ways of life of the Mexican culture if you account for the changes in the culture that have come through the culture being modernized. All in all this book is a great read and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about Mexican culture or just those who want to read a great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was required to read this novel for my summer english class. I probably would of never read this book otherwise. It was an entertaining read and is better than the adapted film version.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recomend this book to anybody I used to hate reading but after I read this book it changed me
liketoread92 More than 1 year ago
The prose is deceptively simple, the story also appears to be simple. But the author packs a great deal into the short novel. Good starter for those interested in magical realism.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book captures you imagination. it's a great example of mexican/ hispanic culture and traditions
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Horse Whisperer' was this way and so was 'The Piano' What, you get tired of someone and then decide you can hurt others by paying attention to your own selfish desires? Since when is that adult? Now, on the good side, the recipes were good, and I empathize with Tita and her problems with her witchy and nasty mother (who could benefit with a good slap and maybe some intensive therapy) and the plight of women in turn of the century Mexico. Also, I feel sorry For Rosura, who was brought up to be the 'good' girl. She was way too shy and reserved. Not her fault. Tita and Pedro shouldn't have sneeked around on her. That was totally unfair, period.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. It tells a great story about love and life and keeps you intrigued till the very end. With wonderful characters, you can't go wrong with this novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tita may be the protagonist, but John's the one I feel sorriest for in this story.
SarahCortez More than 1 year ago
Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquirel. Translated by Carol Christensen and Thomas Christensen. Published by Doubleday in New York. it came out in 1989 by Laura Esquivel and the english translation came out in 1992. The theme of the book is family values.
The main character of this book is Tita. Her role in the book is to show how the youngest daughter of the family was treated. She had to obey all of her family rules from her mother. And do everything her mother told her to do. Tita struggles throughout the book to find her own identity.
The book starts off with the birth of Tita. It then tells how Tita grew up learning how to cook from Nacha. Nacha was like her mother because she took more care of her than Mama Elena did. As Tita grows she starts to cook more and more, it becomes her passion. Then Nacha sadly dies. It breaks Tita's heart. Nacha was there for her whenever Tita needed her, but now she was gone. Soon after Tita falls deeply in love with Pedro. And he too falls deeply in love with Tita. But Mama Elena won't allow this. But Mama Elena does allow Tita's older sister Rosaura to marry Pedro. Pedro only did it to be closer to Tita. Rosaura then became prgnant and gave birth to a little boy. Tita then began to take care of him when Rosaura wasn't able to breast feed him. Sadly he died. Things then started to go downhill with Tita's family. Pedro wasn't paying attention to Rosaura anymore. Tita's other sister Gertrudis ran off with a soldier. And Mama Elena died. And after Pedro cheated on Rosaura with Titas Mama Elena's ghost started coming back and haunting Tita. Tita then thought she has become pregnant with Pedro's child. The ending is surpring to say the least.
I thought the book was okay. Some parts of it were very boring and didn't have a lot going on. But i did like how at the beginning of every chapter started with a family recipe and it related to what was going on in that chapter. I also thought that there was too many characters going on in the book. I got confused trying to keep up with everyone's names and new people coming and going. Overall it was good.
From this book I learned the traditons of a Mexican family. I would recommend this book to people who like to cook. Or who like a romantic novel.But if you don't like either of those things I don't think you would enjoy reading this book.
sheilaCA More than 1 year ago
Like Water for Chocolate is a fun, quick read. It is about a girl named Tita, who is unable to marry because being the youngest daughter, it is family tradition that she spend her life taking care of her mother. She falls in love with a man named Pedro, who marrys her sister in order to stay close to her. The book is filled with recipes and home remedies. The book is part cookbook, love story, and soap opera. If you want a fun quick read this is the book for you. I am now going to go watch the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the book Like Water for Chocolate a young woman is prohibited to marry her true love all because of a stupid tradition her mother is trying to endure. Her mother suggested the man to marry her other daughter. The man accepted just to be near his true love. As the years pass by they still feel love for each other but with her mother by her side they can¿t be together. The mother will do anything just to prevent them from being near to each other. If you want to know what will happen between the two lovers find out by reading the book Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Will they be together at the end of the book? Will something make their heart change? Will the mother let them be happy? Will the sister try to help them be together? Hmm¿ very interesting right don¿t wait go buy the book or take it out from your local library. This book is so fascinating that you¿ll be done in no time. You¿ll be reading and you won¿t want to stop. Oh and the book even has a few cooking recipes of how to make mole and some other delicious food.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was my first romantic novel and I enjoyed it a lot. I really liked the drama between Tita and her sister Rosaura. Each chapter has a different recipe. Throughout the chapters, I found out stories behind each recipe and why they are so special. Tita's mother will not let her marry her true love. So all through the story, there is conflict between Tita and Mama Elena. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading romantic stories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book & have bought many copies to give away to my friends. Every time the movie comes on TV, I watch it. It is such a beautiful story interspersed with recipes made with love. This story has everything you could ever want in a book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Like Water for Chocolate' is an amazing book if one likes a bit of folklore and magic with one's romance. Laura Esquirel does a marvelous job spicing things up with love that has no equal in passion or longevity, the transfer of emotions through cooking, and a thousand other fairy-tale details. Her book explores love shunned by society, the mother-daughter dynamic, and the pros and cons of tradition. I was disappointed that I was unable to try even the simplest of the recipes due to their exotic ingredients, but what's exotic in New England may not be so hard to find in areas in and around Mexico. Another disappointment was the organization- Esquirel falls into the writing trap of using countless flashbacks-within-flashbacks, which can confuse the reader. Add to that the ghosts and delusions, and the reader may often find him or herself lost. Still, this book is worth a look by fans of romance and folklore.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to pick a book for one of my classes for whne I was a senior. Out of all the books I had to choose, I picked "Like Water for Chocolate." It sounded interested and learned that is was the BEST book I have ever read. I couldn't put it down. I finished it in like 3 hours, but kept re-reading it until my report was due. The book is over-whelming. I have recommend it to everyone I know and they too have loved it. BEST BOOK EVER!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wonderfully told story of Tita, repressed by her mother for her eternal love of Pedro, as the caretaker of her family. She expresses her innermost desires and feelings through miraculous and sensuous recipies. If you love a story with heart and passion, this is an excellent book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a mixture of truth, magic and passion. A brilliant story. I have recommeded this book to many and it never disappoints. It is original and fresh and ignites a new way of looking at love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is such a wonderful way of introducing the different and harsh cultures of hispanic cultures that once were. I was very excited to see that it was also in spanish, it's a wonderful 'crossover' book and I couldn't put it down for a second!
aa_11 More than 1 year ago
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel centers around a girl living in Mexico during a war filled time. The book’s chapters are the months of the year and each month comes with a special recipe that is cooked during that chapter. Tita, the protagonist, faces many struggles with love, family, and life in general. This book shows hardships a girl has to go through due to old family traditions but it also shows how Tita overcomes them. In the beginning, it starts with drama about love and the future. Tita finds out she is destined to never marry the love of her life, Pedro, and end up taking care of her mother till her mother dies. Because of that tradition, Pedro marries Rosaura in order to get closer with Tita. Then the newlyweds conceive a child and are forced to move to San Antonio because Mama Elena suspects that Pedro and Tita have something going on. Things like this make Mama Elena mad which causes her to be mean and abuse Tita. Unfortunately, actions like that were normal in the 1900’s because they were old traditions that no one bothered to change. The author has many strengths with this piece of work. One strength is the use of a particular literary device. The way she uses exaggeration shows the reader how important key moments in the book really are. Esquivel perfectly exaggerates the sadness and despair Tita goes through. She also exaggerates the struggles Tita has to endure like the beatings and the heartbreak. With strengths comes weaknesses and Esquivel does have some. One big one I noticed while reading this is it is kind of like a telenovela. It has some key parts that seem unrealistic and also seems sappy or too graphic. That’s another weakness I see. The exaggeration the author uses comes to play in parts where you may not want to read. The graphic sexual parts is where the exaggeration is seen as a weakness. (In my opinion) Yet because this book is set in the 1900’s or around that time, people have traditions that we normally wouldn't have today so some moments in the book that seem unrealistic, really aren’t because they used to actually exist. This book is a really good read for a reader who loves drama. It is also a good book to read if you want to see what a young girl's life was like when it was ruled by traditions and her mom. The author does a great job of using literary devices and has a very strong plot line. It is a strong book and goes into depth inside a Mexican household and the traditions it has and what they face.
BelaPropst More than 1 year ago
“Like Water for Chocolate” is a Latin American novel that takes place along the Texas/Mexican during the Mexican Revolution. The main character, Tita, grows up in a house with her mother and two other sisters, Gertrudis and Rosaura, and does what she loves most of all, cooking. However this family has far from the typical family drama. This book is crack full of complicated romances and sick family traditions. The author of this novel, Laura Esquivel, did an amazing job at writing this novel. The main strengths that make this book as good as it is the symbolism and meaning used throughout the book. One great strength of this book is the way that Esquivel uses symbolism throughout the novel. One of these symbols is the matches the author uses to show passion between Tita and Pedro. This “spark” is mentioned many times throughout the novel and it gets bigger until the two loves are consumed in the fire of it. Another amazing symbol in the book is the character Gertrudis. She is the perfect symbol for women empowerment. Instead of becoming a housewife like her families, as well as her society's, tradition at the time. She leaves in lust with a general of the revolutionary war. Not only does she prove that women don’t have to wait around for a man to come ask for her hand, but she “became a general in the revolutionary army…. {which} had been earned by sheer hard work, she fought like mad on the field of battle” (178-179) Gertrudis shows that if someone is not happy where they are, then go out and find their passion, find their own adventure. Esquivel creates a brilliant, meaningful title that perfectly fits this novel. This title has a deeper meaning other than the kitchen. As learned through Tita’s cooking, hot chocolate is made using water and it is added as just as the water starts to boil. There are many occasions in this book that Tita is literally “on the verge of boiling over”(151). However, in a similar way to Gertrudis, Tita is a very strong woman. She is the only one to openly challenge her mother, yet does not resort to violence. She uses this strength to push through all of the problems that make her “like water for chocolate.” However, although there are many great aspects to this book, there is also a weakness. Esquivel does make the book confusing to the readers in the aspect of time. The twelve chapters in “Like Water for Chocolate” are each titled with a month making the novel seem as though the events taking place consist of one year, however as the novel is read, it is clear that time has gone by many years. Overall, “Like Water for Chocolate” is an amazing book filled with heartfelt events that will make the reader cling to the novel. Despite its one weakness, the content of “Like Water for Chocolate” is the reason why I give the book 5 stars.
Rhyan_Malachowski More than 1 year ago
Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel is told by Tita’s great niece and is about Tita’s life as the youngest daughter of a mexican family; the family consists of Mama Elena, Rosaura, Gertrudis, and Tita. The main characters are everyone in Tita’s family, Pedro - Tita’s love - and John Brown - the family’s doctor who Tita almost married. The book is told in 12 chapters, one for each month, and each chapter is titled a dish that Tita cooks. The novel starts when Tita is 15 years old and ends when she is 38 and dies with Pedro,but there are many years that are skipped. The phrase “Like Water for Chocolate” is a simile for heat- the water has to be hot to melt the chocolate- and in the story, it is a simile for love and passion. Tita and Pedro are in love and want to get married, but since Tita is the youngest girl in her family, she is not allowed to marry. Pedro tries to ask Tita for her hand multiple times but then eventually agrees to marry Rosaura so he can be near Tita. Pedro and Rosaura have a child and move away. In the meantime, Tita rebels against her mother and goes to live with John. She falls in love with him and plans to marry him but then Mama Elena dies. Pedro and Rosaura come back and Tita realizes she loves Pedro more than John. Many years later, Rosaura dies, leaving Tita and Pedro a chance to be alone together. They die together soon after. One of the major strengths in the novel was that the characters grew and developed well; they went through life and learned things about themselves and had to make choices, maturing throughout. For example, Tita has to choose between John and Pedro. I also liked how there was a happy ending; Tita ended up with Pedro and they never had to live without each other when each of them died. Another strength is that Esquivel inserted things from many Latin American texts: culture, magic and exaggeration. Culture is found in Tita’s family culture, like how “her lot in life [was] to be denied marriage” and how there is a 20 course meal for a wedding (Esquivel 6). Magic is found in Tita’s tears when she cries into a dish she is cooking, everyone who ate it “was flooded with a great wave of longing” (Esquivel 39). Exaggeration is found when there was a “stream that was running down the stairs” and “it was just Tita’s tears” (Esquivel 125). This is an exaggeration because no one could cry that much at one time (Esquivel 125). One weakness of the text was the time. In many parts of the book, mostly at the end, I wasn’t sure what year it was or how much time had passed since the last chapter. There may have been a reason to skip some time so the book could end when the main character died, and also to keep the novel from being too long. However, there was no reason to not explain the year or each person’s age. Of course there could be a good explanation for this, but as far as I’m concerned, Laura Esquivel just did that to confuse the readers. Overall, Like Water For Chocolate is a good read and I recommend this novel to readers of 15 years age and up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was on my list of classics to expand my reading beyond my usual sf and fantasy. But it turns out to be a work of magical realism as the main character's moods are expressed and conveyed through her cooking. As the youngest daughter of a Mexican matriarch Tita is supposed to stay home to take care of her mother. So her marriage is forbidden and the man who loves her marries her sister instead. This could have turned into a soap opera but Tita doesn't go in for histrionic fits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book so many times that I the imagery of the whole story I can view it without hesitation