While Como agua para chocolate (1992, Alfonso Arau) might seem just another period piece about love and customs, it is not so. Based on a novel of Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate: A novel in monthly installments with recipes, romances and home remedies (1992), it mixes the traditional Western love story with a healthy dose of magical realism.
It analyzes - as good period pieces should - the pressures that social customs place(d) on people. And seeing in detail how women were coping with the fact that submission and passivity were expected from them and the very reality of being a person. With feelings, emotions, desires, and dreams.
As legions of women have done throughout the history, the heroine here finds solace in cooking and breaking free time-by-time (baby steps, you know). Her cooking, though, goes beyond that of your and our grandmothers... because Tita's cooking is magic: the food she prepares transmits her feelings, therefore she can make the whole wedding-crowd cry and people twirl of pleasure at the dinner table.