How are the problems of romantic relationships symbolically highlighted in relation to food in Like Water for Chocolate?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is clearly an obvious link between love and food. What is interesting about this novel is the way in which both Tita and her sister, Gertrudis, express their passionate selves through the way in which they enjoy food. Both clearly relish and savour good food.

Gertrudis at one stage invites the revolutionary army to the De la Garza ranch to sample her sister's cream fritters and hot chocolate. Food is important too for the love that John Brown has for Tita. He has no jealousy about her relationship with Pedro, as he enacts the characteristics of the food that he is used to from his home, which is "bland and didn't appeal."

Food then is a vehicle for expressing the passionate conflict that Tita faces. She, unlike her sister, wants to be a dutiful daughter and to obey her mother, but finds that to do this she has to deny her passionate side. Gertrudis by contrast feels no such compunction to obey her mother and runs off with Juan and works in a brothel. Food gives both sisters the chance to express their sensual and passionate natures, but only Gertrudis initially feels able to put her feelings into action.

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