Like Water for Chocolate, published in 1989, is Laura Esquivel’s first novel. Part cookbook, part fiction, this best-selling work retells the story of the De la Garza family with a specific focus on Tita de la Garza. Every chapter begins with a recipe, and every major event in the story has a direct tie to food and food preparation.
The early nineties ushered in literary success for minority women of cultural histories. Shortly after Esquivel first published the book, it soon inspired a Spanish-language movie adaptation. The work was then translated from Spanish into English in 1992, and the novel became a best-seller.
Like Water for Chocolate is best known for its use of magical realism and its focus on female characters. Magical realism, developed by Alejo Carpentier in 1949, is a literary style that incorporates fantasy, myth, and supernatural themes into an otherwise realistic plot and setting. Magical realism is a common style among Latin American writers, partly because it expresses the fusion of cultural myths originating in Latin American countries and the European colonial standards of the Catholic Church.