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Like Water for Chocolate

Like Water for Chocolate

4.2 269
by Laura Esquivel

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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

Anne Gendler
The first English translation of Mexico's top best-seller in 1990. Each chapter of this unusual novel is prefaced with a recipe, but the recipes have more to do with romance than food. The dishes impart the intoxicating flavors of fantastic lust, grief, jealousy, and all the other passions that permeate this sensual love story. The heroine, Tita, is the youngest of three daughters. Practically raised in the kitchen, she is expected to spend her life waiting on Mama Elena and never to marry. Her habitual torment increases when her beloved Pedro becomes engaged to one of her sisters. Tita and he are thrown into tantalizing proximity and manage to communicate their affection through the dishes she prepares for him and his rapturous appreciation. Eventually, Tita's culinary wizardry unleashes uncontrollable forces, with surprising results. Fanciful, earthy, and sublime, this is a joy to read.
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

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:

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

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Like Water for Chocolate 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 269 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!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Awesome read, sad storyline centered around the kitchen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Magic mixed with reality equals truth.
izzyparisss More than 1 year ago
Like water for chocolate, a story by laura esquivel, is a latin american novel that will truly blow your mind. From rich culture to family drama this novel keeps you flipping pages in order to see how it all turns out. Each chapter starts with a recipe for a dish that will later be featured in the chapter. Through the 12 chapters, marked by each month, we go alongside main character Tita de la Garza on her quest to marry the man that she loves, and be free from her mother's rules. The novel displays rich latin american culture and traditions in a creative and unique way, and i highly recommend it to anyone interested. When Tita’s love Pedro Muzquiz comes to the family’s ranch to ask for Tita to marry him, he is turned away due to a family tradition that doesn't allow the youngest daughter to marry. Traditions like this that put restrictions on marriage were and still are common in latin american culture. The novel represents this in a very interesting way, having Tita’s love interest mary her sister in order to stay close to her. Each chapter starts out with a traditional latin american recipe that somewhat ties into the chapter. I thought this was interesting because it was educational about mexican culture and tied into the plot of the story. I have never read anything that incorporated food into the story, and i thought this was really impressive. If you are interested in Latin American culture, and want a fun, interesting read, i recommend this novel for you. It keeps you flipping pages and learning about another culture at the same time.
Sam Powers More than 1 year ago
Sam Powers Period 5 Like Water for Chocolate, a great Latin American read Like Water for Chocolate is a great story about a young girl named Tita and her life in the De La Garza family. Tita was born as the youngest child which means that she can not get married and she has to take care of he mother until she dies. This one family tradition is what starts the conflict and makes the book a page turner. The author, Laura Esquirel, does a great job of telling the story of Tita’s life through Tita’s perspective. The reader knows exactly how Tita is feeling at every moment because the author captures her emotions at key parts of the book. Tita’s life on the ranch with her family is so interesting because there are many problems that the family has which keep the reader engaged. Like Water for Chocolate is an excellent choice for young teen readers all the way to older readers because anyone can relate to book. Many people feel like they can relate to Tita when her Mother, Mama Elena, doesn't allow her do anything but cook and take care of her. Every chapter in the book begins with a recipe which I think is one of the strengths of the book because cooking is such a huge part of it. With the recipes, the reader can try making some of the delicious food that Tita makes in their own home. In Like Water for Chocolate, the only complaint I have is when someone dies, that person comes back as a light or ghost and they can talk to the characters. Mama Elena’s light started a fire which almost caused Pedro to die. The reason I think this is a weakness in the book is because the book loses its realistic sense that I enjoyed throughout the book. The rest of the book consists of events that happen in real life and contain no spiritual encounters. I feel more people can relate to the book as it pertains to real life. Another aspect of Like Water for Chocolate that makes it a great book is the characters. The people in the De La Garza family and all the other main characters have at least big role or scene in the story. Even the sister named Gertrudis whom we do not hear much about, comes out having a big role in the end. All the characters are very well described and they have a significant part in the book which is another reason I recommend this book. There are many more compliments I could give this book because it’s well written and keeps you interested. There are absolutely no more negatives that I can give this book because it was so enjoyable to get involved in the story. Laura Esquirel has done a tremendous job writing this book and I believe that everyone should look into reading it. This book has drama, action, tragedy, and even some comedy. Like Water for Chocolate has everything you could ask for in a book which is why it is one of my favorites.
Chris-Brand More than 1 year ago
Latin American Book review Like Water For Chocolate is a fairytale about the De La Garza family. Set in Mexico during the early 1900’s it describes the life of Tita. Tita’s family live in a small border town during the Mexican Revolution. Tita and Pedro fall in love but cannot be together because of the long tradition of the youngest daughter caring for her mother until she dies. Pedro wants to be with Tita but cannot, so the only way to remain close to his love, is by marrying Tita’s sister Rosaura. To no prevail Tita and Pedro grow further apart from this new marriage and cannot unite. Pedro wishes with all of his heart to be with Tita, even wishing he had run away with her when he had the chance. The book does an excellent job of incorporating the struggles of Tita's emotions, her pain, false hope and young love into the only part of her life where she has an influence, her cooking. As she cooks, her emotions and deep feelings seep into her food making it a drama of love and human emotions. Every chapter begins with a recipe as it sets a scene to what may follow. When Tita feels sad and denied, her food has these same mixed emotions which then, the people who eat her food feel. Magic is present throughout the book for example when Tita made a cake for her sister's wedding while crying, she began making the people who ate her cake cry as well. Setting place in a time where women didn’t have much say on how they lived their lives, it shows Tita’s life from her own viewpoint and the hard work and risks she had to take to be able to get away from her unfair traditional mother. In a struggle between loyalty to her family and the wish to follow her own heart, Tita must decided how she wishes to live her own life. This book is about how Tita is confined by cultural roles and how she chose to deal with these roles and overcome them.