Born in Mexico, novelist and former kindergarten teacher Laura Esquivel (1951- ) said her grandmother had a chapel in her home, between the kitchen and dining room.
"When I cook certain dishes, I smell my grandmother's kitchen, my grandmother's smells. I thought: what a wonderful way to tell a story."
The story became her international best-selling novel, Like Water For Chocolate (Como agua par chocolate,1989) which chronicles the life of Tita De la Garza who lives in northern Mexico during the early 1900s, a time of revolution. Because she is the youngest daughter, she is required by her family's tradition to remain single and care for her mother.
When Tita is forbidden from marrying Pedro, her childhood sweetheart, she retreats to the kitchen to prepare magical dishes that stir strong emotions in all who eat and enjoy.
"The joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food," Esquivel explained about her first novel. For Tita, the kitchen became her haven to create and an outlet for her passions.
Translated into 29 languages, Esquivel's screenplay was made into a successful (and passionate) 1993 film which won 18 international awards and at that time was the highest-grossing foreign film ever released in the United States.
"What others call 'magic realism' is an everyday thing to me," she said.
Make some magic in the kitchen.