Did you ever wonder what the title, Like Water for Chocolate, means? Me neither, until my daily writing prompt suggested that I write about “a meal” and waxed poetic about a great scene (or so they said) in Moby Dick where they ate chowder; how Cold Mountain was a virtual smorgasbord of country cooking; and how the author of Like Water for Chocolate wove recipes into her novel. Disappointed with the prompt, I decided to delay writing to look up Like Water for Chocolate, which I remembered enjoying, despite not knowing what the title meant. Spoiler, it’s a double entendre.
The title, Like Water for Chocolate, is a metaphor for sexual tension. When you make hot chocolate with water (which is how they do it in Mexico), the water has to come to a boil before you add the chocolate. Need I say more? If sex is too outré a subject for you, think of it as romance, an infinitely more interesting writing prompt than “a meal.”
The other night, in an attempt to avoid cooking, I put together an odd assortment of edible items. The main dish was a spinach quiche I’d picked up at an overpriced supermarket. While wandering that same store looking for inspiration, I also snagged two spring rolls full of lettuce, cucumber, and carrots, topped with sliced avocado. I wasn’t sure they would complement the quiche, but I knew I had to augment it if it was going to pass as dinner.
As the dinner hour neared, and I reviewed my plan, I decided the plates would still be lacking a certain je ne sais quoi, so back to the refrigerator I went. It harbored an elderly cauliflower waiting patiently to be noticed, so I dug out one of my few recipes and set to work. Basically, you deconstruct the cauliflower, cover with olive oil, and then mix in sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, pepper, and paprika. Into the oven it goes, at as close to 500° as you can get without setting off your smoke alarms, and half an hour later, voila, a vegetable side dish.
It was an unconventional meal, not all that unusual in my house as cooking is not something I enjoy, but it was a step up from chips and salsa, which I admit we have dined on once or twice. But no matter what I deliver to the table, my husband expresses gratitude for being fed, which I find romantic.
Since it’s almost Valentine’s Day, I’ll close with this thought. Instead of giving your valentine candy or flowers or taking them out for an expensive meal, cook for them. Nothing says romance like an assortment of edible components that someone else plates for you. Of, if you’re just not into cooking, you can give them a book with a meal in it, like Moby Dick, Cold Mountain, or Like Water for Chocolate.