"Soups can cure any illness, whether physical or mental" (7,416); with that logic, Chencha brings a steaming bowl of ox-tail soup to Tita.
When Chencha arrived at Dr. B's house, Tita was sitting at the window, watching Alex (John's son).
Soup. Tita smells it before Dr. B and Chencha enter her room.
Reunited and it feels so good. The women eat, they cry, they share memories.
Tita cries so much a stream of tears runs down the stairs.
Dr. B, alarmed, makes like he's going to leave and Tita speaks for the first time in months:
"John. Please don't leave" (7,425).
Tita and Chencha gossip and some interesting things are revealed: Mama E had forbidden visits to Tita; Mama E would never forgive Tita for blaming Roberto's death on her; Gertrudis was working in a brothel and she sent a letter to Tita.
Tita tells Chencha that she will never go back to the ranch.
Chencha leaves; as she crosses the border between the U.S. and Mexico, she wonders what to tell Mama E.
Chencha thinks Tita will be sad and "tortured" all alone with John, but not so: Tita is happy and John proposes.
Unfortunately, Chencha never gets to tell her story; a group of bandits attacks the ranch the night she arrives—she's raped and Mama E's beaten and left paralyzed from the waist down. (Talk about a horrible homecoming.)
Tita returns to the ranch after hearing about the incident.
Tita makes her mom some soup and when she tries it she immediately spits it out.
Tita can't believe it (really?) and wishes she was back with John.
Sometimes wishes do come true—just as Tita runs out of the room, John arrives.
Paranoid much? When John asks Mama E why she won't eat, she claims Tita is trying to poison her.
John tries the soup but she still refuses to eat it and demands a "good cook."
John says Tita is the best and one day he'll ask for her hand in marriage.
Oops. Somebody forgot that Mama E gets pissed when there's the threat of Tita leaving her.
After John's comment, Mama E realizes that there's something between them and that Tita is determined to kill her—and never again will she eat her daughter's food.
Big whoop. Tita doesn't care; now she has more time to work on her trousseau.
Poor Chencha has to take over the cooking and serving for Mama E.
The day Chencha gets her stitches removed from the rape Tita has no choice but to cook for Mama E.
But she can't be fooled. She kicks Chencha out for trying to trick her.
Referring to her rape, Chencha tells Tita that no man will "eat off a plate that isn't clean" (7,473).
It's hiring time at the ranch and Tita searches in vain for a cook—they all quit. What a surprise.
In the end, there's nothing and Mama E must eat Tita's food.
After a long fight, Mama E dies; she was secretly taking syrup of ipecac. Why, we're not sure. Unhappy? Knew she'd die anyway? Had nothing else to live for?
While dressing Mama E for the wake, Tita finds a heart-shaped locket around her neck with a tiny key inside.
In a flashback to childhood, Tita finds a box in her mom's closet that can only be opened with a key.
Turns out the tiny key opens the box and inside there is a diary and love letters.
Hard to believe but it's true—they're from a Mr. Jose Trevino, a mulatto (oh, the intrigue).
When her parents discovered their love, they forced her to marry Juan De la Garza, Tita's father.
Scandalous. Mama E and Jose kept seeing each other and have a baby…Gertrudis.
Mama E planned to run away with Jose after she found out she was preggers with Gertrudis but while waiting for him, he was killed.
Talk about emo; Mama E resigns herself to her unhappy life.
When Juan finds out he'll be a father again, he went to a bar to celebrate.
Mid-drink, someone spilled the beans about his unfaithful wife and he has a heart attack and dies on the spot. The truth kills, apparently.
Back in the present, Tita cries for her mom for the first time ever.
At the funeral, Tita sees and embraces Rosaura, who is pregnant again, and Pedro.
John and Tita hold hands on the way back to the ranch and Pedro watches jealously; apparently, Tita "belonged" to him. Machismo, anyone? Anyone?