This film could have been titled “There Will Be Beef.”
In Mexico, so I have learned, hot chocolate is made with water, not milk. The water is brought to a boil and then the chocolate is spooned into it. A person in a state of sexual excitement is said to be "like water for chocolate." And now here is a movie where everyone seems at the boil, their lives centering around a woman whose sensual life is carried out in the kitchen, and whose food is so magical it can inspire people to laugh, or cry, or run naked from the house to be scooped up and carried away by a passing revolutionary.
"Like Water for Chocolate" creates its own intense world of passion and romance, and adds a little comedy and a lot of quail, garlic, honey, chiles, mole, cilantro, rose petals and corn meal. It takes place in a Mexican border town, circa 1910, where a young couple named Tita and Pedro are deeply in love. But they are never to marry. Mama Elena, Tita's fearsome mother, forbids it. She sees the duty of her youngest daughter to stay always at home and take care of her. Tita is heartbroken - especially when Pedro marries Rosaura, her oldest sister.
But there is a method to Pedro's treachery. During a dance at the wedding, he whispers into Tita's ear that he has actually married Rosaura in order to be always close to Tita. He still loves only her. Weeping with sadness and joy, Tita prepares the wedding cake, and as her tears mingle with the granulated sugar, sifted cake flour, beaten eggs and grated peel of lime, they transform the cake into something enchanting that causes all of the guests at the feast to begin weeping at what should be an occasion for joy.
The movie is narrated by Tita's great niece, who describes how, through the years, Aunt Tita's kitchen produces even more extraordinary miracles. When Pedro gives her a dozen red roses, for example, she prepares them with quail and honey, and the recipe is such an aphrodisiac that everyone at the table is aroused, and smoke actually pours from the ears of the middle sister, Gertrudis. She races to the outhouse, which catches fire, and then, tearing off her burning clothes, is swept into the saddle of a passing bandolero.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
A review of Netflix's new series, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which premieres January 13.
Meryl Streep and other awards recipients shared their thoughts on an America under Donald Trump during last night's G...
A review of NBC's "Emerald City," premiering January 6th.