In "Heartburn" what is the role of food in building and maintaining relationships?
I think that Rachel ends up learning that there are some connections and divergent paths between food preparation and relationship building. There is a certain level of zeal, passion, and enthusiasm needed in both. At the same time, experience over a prolonged period allows one to better understand where trouble may arise in both. Yet, this might be where the convergence stops and divergence begins. Rachel is so driven by understanding how to prepare and cook food that she focuses on it more than any of the intense emotional foibles that go to explain why a marriage falls apart. She understands that there are no recipes for the perfect marriage. As a food critic, she spends so much time analyzing where food can be better, and where improvement is needed. She fails to apply the same high powered precision analysis to her own relationship with Mark. In the end, Rachel begins to understand that the premises of "perfection" might be impossible in both food preparation and love. One might have to settle for something that is good and solid, as opposed to perfect. For budding intellectuals of the 1970s and 1980s America who genuinely believed that their vast and superior logic and mental capacity could solve any potential problem of mind and heart, this was a startling revelation. Rachel ends up learning that through experience, the best of intentions on both love and food might still not result in a perfect product.