the magical mexican kitchen

The ghost of cooking

the magical mexican kitchen

Mexican films and books can easily be recognized for a spirit entering the story, sooner or later. The Mexican cultural history features Aztec and Maya believes are combined with the Spanish catholic believes, so the supernatural is never far away. Dia de Muertos (the day of the dead on November 2) is world famous but the remembrance of deceased ancestors is always kept to a close.
dia de muertos
Decorated skulls from pure sugar. The colorful designs represent the vitality of life and individual personality.
In the best Mexican food film Como agua para chocolate (Like water for chocolate), spirits are all around. Tita is born on the kitchen table, so no wonder that Tita becomes a good cook and 'lives' the food she's preparing.

When Nacha, the friendly cook of the family dies,  her spirit guides Tita through her life with well advices. When Tita's harsh mother dies, however, her evil spirit takes over and haunts Tita. Tita is in love with Pedro but is not allowed to marry him. He marries her oldest sister, just to be close to Tita. Unable to communicate her love directly to him, she 'communicates' through the food she's making (see video.

passionate food

When Tita is sad while cooking, her emotions are absorbed by the food and as by magic, the guests are overwhelmed by the same emotion, when eating the food. Hilariously, eating the wedding cake turns the whole party into a crying party, ending with a collective vomiting session.
When Tita receives roses from Pedro, she is so full of love and lust, that the prepared quails with rose petals evoke a passionate love affair between Tita's other sister and a revolutionary. The magic is in the food, and in the cooking.
Quail with rose petals

pièce dé resistance

Finally, when Pedro and Tita are free to do what they like, Tita cooks the famous tricolore of Mexico: stuffed green peppers with red pomegranate. As a result of her happiness, the party ends in a gigantic orgy.
green peppers

the writer

The film is actually not as famous as the book, written by Laura Esquivel. It has been translated in 33 languages, and very special about the book is the integration of 12 recipes into the 12 chapters of the book. Each meal reflects a month in a year and reflects a certain time or mood in the life of Tita. It's a rare combination of a truly fun to read novel with a very good Mexican cookbook. Almost all recipes are used by Cinema Culinair. Her husband Alfonso Aura is a famous actor/director/screenwriter and directed the film of her book.
laura esquivel
Laura Esquivel and her husband, the director of the film Alfonso Arau. 
“She felt so lost and lonely. One last chile in walnut sauce left on the platter after a fancy dinner couldn't feel any worse than she did. 

When nobody eats the last chile on the plate, it's usually because none of them wants to look like a glutton. They were rejecting that stuffed pepper, which contains every imaginable flavor; sweet as candied citron, juicy as pomegranate, with the bit of pepper and the subtlety of walnuts, that marvelous chile in the walnut sauce.

Within it lies the secret of love, but it will never be consumed, and all because it wouldn't feel proper.” 
- Laura Esquivel
Wies Sanders, 22. May 2018
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