Esquivel builds a fairytale mood that expresses the variable and most often passionate emotions of the novel's main character, Tita de la Garza. One literary device she employs is what writer Chuck Palahniuk calls ritual repetition. Esquivel creates a ritual by starting off with a recipe at the beginning of each chapter. This structures the novel, anchors it squarely in the women's world of the kitchen, and allows Esquivel to set a tone for each chapter through the food being prepared, which takes on the emotions of the cook—who is almost always Tita.
Esquivel uses rich imagery, which is description using the five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell, especially food imagery, to establish mood.
Another literary device Esquivel employs is simile, a comparison that uses the words "like" or "as." When Tita and Pedro, for example, see Gertrudis and Juan passionately embrace, they are compared to people watching a movie:
Like silent spectators to a movie, Pedro and Tita began to cry watching the stars act out the love that was denied to them.
In a metaphor, which is a comparison not using "like" or "as," in the quote above, Gertrudis and Juan are likened to movie stars because of the melodramatic way they reunite.
Esquivel uses a food metaphor and alliteration in the following passage about Tita. Alliteration is when two or more words beginning with the same consonant are placed close to one another:
She [Tita] felt so lost and lonely. One last chile in walnut sauce left on the platter after a fancy dinner couldn't feel feel any worse than she did.
Tita is likened to a lone chile. "Lost," "lonely," "last," and "left" are alliterative words. Finally, Esquivel uses personification, attributing human feelings of loneliness to the last chile. All of these literary devices add to the vivid intensity of emotional mood the novel creates.