Like Water for Chocolate

I already mentioned this book before, but in class this week we were talking about works of art (paintings, books, movies, music) about food that inspired us and I can’t help but think of Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

Ever since I read that book in high school, I remember – and believe – that one can truly express emotions through food. I loved how Tita (the main character in the story) can transfer her passions to whoever eats her food, how they can feel whatever it is she was feeling when she was cooking.

I remember a light bulb moment when I realized that emotions can be expressed and transferred through food: Back in the Philippines we have a family cook (who also happens to be my nanny hehe), Tita Ine, who is a wonderful, caring woman and has been with my family for as long as I can remember, and who makes some of the tasties foods I have ever eaten. One night, I heard her complaining while she was making dinner. She was tired and she had an argument with someone else. She sounded irritable and frustrated. That night, we all noticed how salty her adobo tasted. It tasted like it was cooked haphazardly, it was a far cry from her usual tender, well-seasoned dishes. We were not happy with it. As I heard myself complaining, sounding irritable and frustrated myself, I wondered: was it just coincidence that we somehow felt what Tita Ine was feeling while she was cooking?

And I always remember this theory of transferring emotions every time I taste my mom’s cooking. Remember the best thing I ever ate? She cooks so lovingly and patiently, and every time I eat her dishes I feel so loved and nurtured. My mom is a feisty woman, and she is very creative and is always multi-tasking, so it is no surprise to me that her foods are on the spicy side, with lots of complex, mouth-watering flavors. So maybe it’s not just emotions that can be expressed through food, but also character and personality.

Whenever I cook, I always feel relaxed and happy, and I would like to think that whoever eats my food also feels relaxed and happy. Like Water for Chocolate has inspired me to look at cooking not as a chore or a mindless activity, but as something that helps me express who I am.

I hope everyone is having a good week!


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