This delicious novel – it includes recipes for dishes like Quail in Rose Petal Sauce – is perfect to read in February (as close to Valentine’s Day as possible!) Published in English in 1992, Laura Esquivel’s book is romantic with a bizarre twist of magic realism. The heroine, Tita, is forbidden to marry the man she loves because she is the youngest daughter in the family (the book is set in Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century.) In order to stay near Tita, Pedro agrees to marry her older sister, Rosauro. The novel describes the mayhem that ensues, as Tita pours her frustrated passion into her cooking and her other sister, Gertrudis, elopes with a revolutionary soldier after eating the quail with rose-petal sauce.
Delightful, entertaining and a pleasure to read: a different kind of romance. The film was very popular and successful and an online book group called ‘Cook the Books’ went to the trouble of cooking and critiquing all of the novel’s recipes, from the turkey mole to the cream fritters and chocolate with ‘Three Kings’ Day Bread.’