Study Guide

Like Water for Chocolate Cooking as a Remedy

By Laura Esquivel

Cooking as a Remedy

It wasn't easy for a person whose knowledge was based on the kitchen to comprehend the outside world. (1, 7)

Luckily for Tita, the kitchen is the one place she can express herself and let out her emotions. If not, who knows if she would have survived?

Soups can cure any illness, whether physical or mental. (7, 410)

Ox-tail soup for the soul, indeed. Something about the hot liquid, or the love used to make it, seems to cure Tita in her darkest hour.

With the first sip, Nacha appeared there at [Tita's] side, stroking her hair as she ate […]. (7, 421)

Who knew soup could conjure up spirits, too? Food and memory are intertwined in the novel, and there's no way that a bowl of soup is just a bowl of soup.

"John. Please don't leave." (7, 425)

After Tita eats the soup, she is inspired to talk and these are her first words uttered in weeks.

"Because it is nasty and bitter, and I don't want it. Take it away. Don't you hear?" (7, 447)

Okay, so soups aren't the trick for everyone. Maybe Mama Elena doesn't want to be cured of anything?

"Yes child, but why should I want to add any more bitterness to the mole I've got." (7,471)

Here, Chencha speaks with Tita, using food as a metaphor for her life pains. Not all life can be a platter of cream fritters.

"You know how men are. They all say they won't eat off a plate that isn't clean." (7, 473)

Really? Cause we've seen plenty of men eat off dirty plates, floors, beds… Again, Chencha uses a metaphor to refer to men not wanting to be with her because she is no longer a virgin.

"Only the pan knows how the boiling soup feels, but I know how [Tita] feel, so stop crying […]." (1, 124)

Nacha comforts Tita, showing her that they're deeply connected. Tita's fortunately not alone.

[Pedro] let Tita penetrate to the farthest corners of his being and all the while they couldn't take their eyes off each other. (3, 180)

Is it hot in here, or is it just us? Somebody get these two a room, before they devour the quail in rose petal sauce and then each other.

"There are many ways to dry out a box of damp matches, but you can be sure, there is a cure." (6, 113)

While matches are not typically used as a snack, in Tita's case, they are used as a remedy to draw her out of her silence.