Compare The Edible Woman and Chocolat for the female protagonists' ways of cooking and what they achieve by it.
Vienne's purpose with cooking, and her goal of crafting the perfect food for people are to unite society, to blend in, and to be accepted. She also does it out of a natural feeling of nurturing and taking care of people- a need to love and feel loved. Vienne is a unifier, a leader, and an independent woman who is not scared of opening herself to the world and have the world take a taste of who she is. She is a reformist, and an example of feminism.
Mariam is also reformist, an independent woman, but her situation did not rendered her able to fulfill her true self. In her case, food and cooking were representatives of oppression, and of all the negative aspects of social expectations of women: marriage, pregnancy, the end of freedom. When Marian cooks, she does it to put her fears onto food: It is her own way to process her analysis, and to control the situation her way. While Vianne was a unifier, Marian was trying to detach herself from self and others.