Quail in rose Petal Sauce
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In Laura Esquivel’s novel Like Water for Chocolate, magical realism is one of the most dominant themes of the novel. Like Water for Chocolate is a novel that uses magic in ways that will affect almost everyone around the source that produces the magic in a good or bad way. Like Water for Chocolate is a story of a young woman, growing up during the Mexican Revolution whose fate is set by her discouraging, domineering mother. Tita, the protagonist of the story, lives with her mother, Mama Elena, two older sisters, Rosaura and Gertrudis, and the cook, Nacha. Magical realism illustrates how passionate Tita is for cooking.
Through the magical realism in the Like Water For Chocolate, Tita express her love through cooking. With a rose given to her secretly by Pedro, Tita prepares quail in rose petal sauce. The recipe is of pre-Hispanic origin, and it is in Nacha’s voice that the secrets are transmitted. Tita cooks this special meal with the petals of a rose given to her by Pedro, the still-fiery force of their love (transmitted through the food) has an intense effect on Mama Elena’s second daughter, Gertrudis, who is whipped into a lustful state and flees the ranch in the arms of a revolutionary soldier. The intensity of the family’s reaction to the meal serves to communicate the potency of the passion that she possesses but is unable to express directly. With her primary form of expression limited to food, Tita takes the illicit token of love from Pedro and returns the gift, transforming it into a meal filled with lust.
The magical realism in this book illustrates Tita’s character. It shows her emotions, feeling and passionate for cooking. This just goes to show her love for cooking and what is to come in the next part of the book. She puts such detail and passion into cooking her exquisite dishes. She expresses her emotions and feelings through food. Cooking is a way of releasing her feelings she is unable to express. In addition, this meal also demonstrates her as a character. It illustrates her shyness and timidness. She could never tell Pedro how she truly feels even though he knows and feels the same way. Because she is the youngest child, she is forced to take care of her mother. This is most likely a reason for her lack of security and confidence in expressing what she feels and believes in. Without food she would have no way to show her feelings which would ultimately lead to her death.
Tita is an extraordinary person which shows through her cooking. She expresses her feelings through her dishes because of her insecurity. She expresses her love and lust for Pedro through her Quail in rose petal sauce. If it wasn’t for magical realism in this novel she would have no way of expressing her love for him. We learn of Tita’s struggle to pursue true love and claim her independence. We learn about her as a character and as a person. She has all this emotion built up in her and no way of expressing it but through her dishes she prepares for her family.