Monday, March 1

Book Club: food

Book Club Mamas

Here we are on our titles for February. Although it was actually for the previous month but it looks like December and January both need to be a break for us. Busy months!

Our choices were, The Mistress of Spices, Chocolat, and, Like Water For Chocolate.

Please tell us which one/s you read and your thoughts (even if you've read them in the past). Be as academic or basic as you like. This club is for FUN first!
If you wrote your own blog post, let me know so I can link it here.

I read LWfC and Chocolat years ago. I enjoyed them both.

Chocolat has a dreamy quality to it and I enjoyed the mother-daughter element. I loved that the chocolate was used to open up people's, often secret, desires, or even just their more passionate selves.

I enjoyed the film as well. And it has nothing to do with Mr Depp's appearance as a rugged and free-spirit gypsy at all, nope.

LWfC has a special connection for me, being Spanish, and I totally relate to infusing food with intention, or even unintentional emotion. The magic-realism here was pushed up a high notch as the passion got out of control. I really loved the mayhem that was created by the emotionally charged food. Very Latino all that chaos!

I read The Mistress of Spices last month and also enjoyed it. I enjoyed reading an Indian perspective. I have lived amongst so many Indian communities and have cooked Indian foods for so long (taught by an ex-boyfriend's mother), that it is a second food-home for me. But I don't know the deeper mystical qualities of the spices used. So that was great fun to discover.

I also connected with the whole 'service or bust' theme, as that's something close to my heart within my culture.
The love story came as a surprise and I liked the way it was handled. And although I felt some sadness, I was satisfied with her final decision.

It was an easy and enjoyable read, and gets you hungry for connecting to the profound in the mundane.


  1. Well, as I mentioned to you on your blog I LOVED LOVED Mistress of Spices. Although I don't have much to say on the food/spice issue. Tilo, the main character, does 'spice magic' and I did enjoy all that, and what each spice represented (and it made my mouth water for Indian food...) And I also thought the author did a brilliant and moving job of portraying the immigrant experience in America. BUT, for me, I think the reason I connected so strongly to this book was the women seer/sorceress theme, and the decisions she has to make re: this vs. a 'normal' life. Also, the service theme, that Tilo has to choose between giving herself over to service to others and happiness for herself. I think both this themes are so central to women in general, and especially women pursuing their 'mystic' side in this life, whatever that might mean to this became a personal read for me, with lots of resonanance. I also loved the whimsy of it. The man character, Raven, was a bit light-weight, but I think that's actually an important part of the story and choice she has to make.
    Anyway, don't want to give too much away.
    I have also read Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate, but can't remember them well enough to say anything interesting here...

  2. please excuse all the typos in that last one:-)

  3. Thanks so much for chiming in Lisa.

    ionly skimmed your comments though because I HATE knwoing anything about a book beforehand. :) But the bits I read make me eager to get to it. I will do after MistsofA.

    Chocolat I really enjoyed. I enjoyed the simple magical tale, and the way that food was a conduit for intention. And especilly that the 'magic' was to unleash repressed passions. Loved that.
    I enjpyed the film as well.

    Like Water for Chocolate is a little more controversial and less mainstream, both in style and subject matter. Like all magical-realism novel it depends upon how much the reader is willing to suspend belief.

    It's also about passion, and unlike Chocolat whre the effects were intentional, I loved that here theyw eren't. That the unleashed passions via food, were simply the passions that were in the air. How we transmit energy from one area to another.

    And I love food, both eating and cooking it, so that's a bonus. :) But as the stuff of nourishment, both physical and mystical, as well as that women are usually the providers of food, I find such novels particularly interesting and appealing. Connects to a very earthy part of me.

  4. I've always loved Chocolat. Especially the mother-daughter relationship, of course. I loved the writing, so calm yet luscious, and the way I could use it to teach my dd about literary effect. It is so beautiful and clever. But also a little contrived if you are aware of that kind of thing. The story too was a bit contrived. I got the feeling that a very intelligent and gifted author was writing a story she wanted to tell in a certain way and had retained complete control over it, rather than the story taking on a life of its own - as the best ones do, wild and wicked creatures escaping their creator's pen to dance through our hearts. But a reader can't often have everything it seems! The movie was good too, it captured all the best elements of the book.

  5. Ah! How did I miss that Chocolat was on the list?? I have read the book, but seeing as I have a love affair with chocolate, and I LOVED the movie (first movie I ever purchased), I would have enjoyed an excuse to read the book. The other two sound interesting as well. Can we do another food theme sometime? I missed out!

  6. Lisa, you'll have to come up with the titles! But food is never a dull theme :D

  7. I love both LWfC and Chocolat - just wrote a big comment on them, and lost it, so I'm shortening it for the second time around. :( Darn computers!

    Have you read The Girl with No Shadow?? It's the sequel to Chocolat and is better (I thought) than its predecessor. It takes place about four or five years after Chocolat, when Vianne has moved to Montmartre and attempted to put her magical days behind her.

    Another magical woman comes along, and a "battle of witches" ensues. Anouk plays a larger part, which is great, and there's chocolate, and lots of magic. The climax is so amazing - such fierce imagery.

    I'm dying to try Mistress of Spices, as well!

  8. Since I hadn't read Chocolat, my viewing of the film had everything to do with Mr. Depp's appearance as a rugged & free-spirit gypsy! haha!


    I'm sorry, what were we talking about? He's so attractive, I think.

    The Mistress of Spices is also something I'd like to read...

    Thanks, Mon!

  9. chuckling @ Cam. I'll fight you for him...

    Greenspell - thanks so much, I hadn't heard of that one!

  10. Buenos días, te invito a participar de un postaje colectivo celebrando el Día de la Mujer.
    Visita mi blog para saber más.

    Gracias :)


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