Thursday, October 21, 2010

Like like like

So I attempted the button holes on the baby pinnafore last week. It didn't go terrifically well, but I think I can rectify the situation. I hope so anyway. I'm going to try to this weekend and will report back.

I mentioned last week that I was reading a book that I was really loving and now I have finished it I can reveal all. Like Water for Chocolate. Amazing. And I don't even know why I loved it as much as I did. I thought the translation was a bit clunky at times (I am assuming the clunkiness lies with the translation, but maybe the original Spanish text is actually the culprit), random changes in tense do not a smooth read make and some words made me think, 'Really? Was that the best choice?' but overall it was the first book in ages I kept wanting to read and got through relatively quickly (not that it's very long).

It centres on Tita, the youngest daughter of Mama Elena, who, in keeping with family tradition, is forbidden to marry so that she can remain in the family home and care for her mother until her mother's death (I don't understand why she couldn't marry someone on the condition that they live at the family house with her mother but whatever, no one argues with Mama Elena). Tita has been brought up in the kitchen by the family cook, learning all the traditional Mexican and family recipes. She is in love with Pedro who decides to marry her older sister in order to remain close to Tita (stupid idea). Around this time, Tita's cooking starts to have powerful effects on the people who eat it, as her emotions while cooking become part of the food.

The novel is broken into 12 chapters, one for each month, with a (fictional) recipe at the beginning of each. I'm sure I remember reading a post by Alicia at Posie Gets Cosy about how she once tried to make one of the recipes from the book when she was first seeing her now husband, to impress him, not realising the recipes were fictional, and it went very wrong, but for the life of me I can't find the post. The novel's style is magic realism as Tita's food doesn't just make people feel sad or happy or wistful, at one point her sister feels a raging fire within her and rushes to the shower to cool off and the sparks from her body set the wooden shower shack on fire...

It's basically the story of Tita's struggle to be her own person within the confines of her family, her relationship with her mother and sisters and with Pedro. At times I felt like I was reading a Mills and Boon novel, because it's set on a Mexican ranch, there are revolutionary soldiers and passionate sexy times involving a bit of bodice ripping. But I have been recommending it to everyone!

I'm going to try and watch the film this weekend. Potentially with a giant plate of roast yams next to me. Not exactly common food to accompany movie watching but I am in love with them at the moment, especially if they've been roasted with a little bit of chopped garlic sprinkled throughout. Yum. Actually very fitting for a book that features food as such a significant theme.

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