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.
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