The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Cooking with lurve

Photo: Christmas heart

Photo: Christmas heart

We rarely watch TV but Christmas is a great time to catch up on the DVDs that come free with the Sunday newspapers. We have a high stack of these collected over several years.

I must have heard good reviews for the movie Like water for Chocolate (Como Agua Para Chocolate 1993, based on the novel by Laura Esquivel). The title rang a deep sonorous bell so I set it aside in the pile for possible Christmas viewing.

The movie was wonderful. Tita’s cold mother decides that this daughter will never marry as she is destined to look after her mother until she dies. As Tita grows up in the kitchen, she is loved and nurtured by the cook Nacha. Gradually Tita learns to cook and suddenly discovers that she is able to impart emotion through her cooking. Natcha is someone that I would have treasured.

This is not the squeaky clean Mary Poppins ‘spoonful of sugar’ ebullient stuff. Tita finds that all her emotions are passed on through her food, from despair to hope and eventually love. When she is asked to share a recipe she always confides that the secret ingredient is ‘to cook with love’.

The scenes in the kitchen were as sensual as those in the bedroom and made me mull on Tita’s secret of great cooking. I reckon that she is right, intimacy and love is the secret ingredient to all great dishes. This catapults a dish from great to sublime.

If you are lucky to have someone that you love to cook for you are almost automatically taking the first step on that road. But you don’t need a special person to cook for, intimacy with the ingredients and the pleasure of combining them is an alternative step. Greed and the pleasure of eating great food is another.

Cherishing your journey is the next as no recipe, like any relationship, ever stays the same. Both have a life of their own and evolve constantly.

As Anne Mary says, interpretation always affects the end result.
”Give six people the same ingredients and recipe and you will taste six different meals.”

I reckon that the best recipes are always made with love.

  Leave a reply


  1. Food made with love always tastes better. I also think a meal made by someone who resents cooking it makes it taste bad.

  2. There was a hollywood version of this called Simply Irresistible the main part played by the girl who was in the Buffy series. I have to confess to only watching this version which seems the poor mans option, the macdonald of burgers!

    I shall look out for your film as it sounds a good afternoons viewing.

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Melanie

    Thanks very much for the links. I watched the Christmas programme last night on my laptop!

    Hi Allotment blogger

    We watched Wallace and Gromit too! What a shame to go down with flu at Christmas. Although there’s nothing like cuddling down with an inspirational seed catalogue.

    Hope that you’re feeling 100% soon.

  4. You welcome, I hope you enjoyed it, the new series starts Sunday 4th January, I cant wait to watch it.

  5. Allotment blogger

    We watched Wallace and Gromit and spent the rest of our Christmas combatting flu and reading seed catalogues. Very low key … but somehow, also satisfying.

  6. I love watching dvd’s at Christmas time, but I also like watching Christmas tv, Larkrise to Candleford Christmas Special which was on BBC1 last Sunday night was just wonderful. The new series starts next Sunday, I adore it, my idea of perfect country life. Larkrise to Candleford is my favourite book of all time, and I must say the tv adaptation is my favourite thing to have ever been on telly, I love it. If you love country life, don’t miss this.

    Love your blog by the way, we are just starting a veg patch in the back garden and a flower garden in the front, cant wait for the weather to improve so I can get out there and work in the gardens.

    Take care
    Love Melanie.

    Here is a link to the BBC Larkrise To Candleford, the site has previews on of upcoming episodes, recipes, history of the real Larkrise, it is a great site and well worth a look.

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