Como agua para chocolate Like Water for Chocolate [1992

Northern Mexico 1895-1930s

One of mexico’s “greatest hits”
Based on a novel written by Laura Esquivel in 1989.

As I mentioned in the blog, it’s an example of Magic Realism, which is…..

The novel is structured with recipes intercalated. I can’t guarantee the same results as you’ll see in the film!


A brief history of texas
Mid-1519 -Sailing from a base in Jamaica, Alonso Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish adventurer, was the first known European to explore and map the Texas coastline.

18 February 1685 -- Robert Cavelier, Sieur de LaSalle established Fort St. Louis at Matagorda Bay, and thus formed the basis for France's claim to Texas. Two years later, LaSalle was murdered by his own men. 22 April 1689 -- Mexican explorer Alonso de Leon reached Fort St. Louis, and found it abandoned, during an expedition planned to reestablish Spanish presence in Texas. 1716-1789 -- Throughout the 18th century, Spain established Catholic missions in Texas, and along with the missions, the towns of San Antonio, Goliad and Nacogdoches. 8 August 1812 -- About 130-men strong, the Gutierrez-Magee Expedition crossed the Sabine from Louisiana in a rebel movement against Spanish rule in Texas. 3 January 1823 -- Stephen F. Austin received a grant from the Mexican government and began colonization in the region of the Brazos River. Mid-1824 -- The Constitution of 1824 gave Mexico a republican form of government. It failed, however, to define the rights of the states within the republic, including Texas.

Oh, the irony…
6 April 1830-Relations between the Texans and Mexico reached a new low when Mexico forbid further emigration into Texas by settlers from the United States. So….Texas was settled by illegal immigrants…..from the US!

2 October 1835 -Texans repulsed a detachment of Mexican cavalry at the Battle of Gonzales. The revolution began.

2 March 1836 -The Texas Declaration of Independence was signed by members of the Convention of 1836. An ad interim government was formed for the newly created 21 April Republic of Texas. 1836 -Texans under Sam Houston routed the Mexican forces of Santa Anna at the Battle of San Jacinto. Thus, independence was won in one of

Border crossings
The film takes place in Ciudad Acuña, Piedras Negras [Mexico] and Eagle Pass, Texas. Many of the characters are bilingual, or at least capable in both languages.

class structure
Public education became mandatory through 6th grade in 1917. Prior to that, the Catholic church had controlled much of the education system, and attendance was neither mandatory nor universal.

Social classes were determined by both race and economics. But the more European one was, the higher the social status tended to be.

Domestic help was not limited to the upper class, and still isn’t. Many households from the lower middle class and up have servants—a cook, someone who cleans, washes clothes, helps out in general.

gender relations
Not much had changed since our last glimpse at women’s lives, in the 1600s! Women married and had kids, joined a religious order, or became a prostitute [or was considered one…] The family structure that we’ll see tonight—the youngest daughter doesn’t marry—is NOT a Mexican tradition. The strong, domineering women that we’ll see conforms to many Latin stereotypes of matriarchal societies.

Las adelitas y las revolucionarias
These were female soldiers during the Revolution who accompanied their spouses/partners, cooked, got ready the clothes, rifles and whatever else needed to be prepared, spied when possible , acted as nurses, messengers, and more.

Some rose to a position of command within the ranks of the Revolution. They’ve been romanticized over the last 100 years of Mexican history, folklore and popular culture. Reality was much harsher—the women were barely educated and didn’t have the right to vote in the new society they

Gertrudis’ father

s described as “the mulatto” [and serves as an explaination for sense of rhythm and dancing skills…] Mexico does not have a large Black community. He may have been from the Veracruz area, which does. He also may have been part of a group that migrated to Northern Mexico from Alabama in the late 1800s.

Stock characters
We’ve already seen some this semester—the 2 cops in El Barón del Terror [one serious, one not] Tonight we’ll see the priest with somewhat dubious behavior, the wise old indigenous woman, the nasty gossip [also present in the Barón, in the crowd at the burning at the stake scene]. Plus lots of men with large mustaches, big sombreros and bullets slung across their chests.

hennig brandt
Brandt first isolated phosphorus as an element in 1669. It was soon touted as an aphrodisiac, and as cure for many human illnesses [especially mental]. Later it was branded “the devil’s element” and was thought to have caused more curses than cures.

The phosphorus match was nicknamed “the lucifer”. Murders, suicides and accidental poisonings resulted from its use, and it was eventually outlawed.

roscÓn de reyes
A bread that is traditionally served on the eve of / day of 6 January, el día de los Reyes Magos [3 Kings or Wise Men] or the Epiphany. Inside of the roscón are baked a ceramic figure of a baby, and a bean. Whoever finds the baby is crowned king or queen, and is supposed to be guaranteed good luck. Whoever finds the bean pays for the roscón. Traditions differ between countries but the idea is the same.

music “Jesusita en Chihuahua” “Ojos de juventud”

what to watch for and think about
the truth—how did different characters interpret it or present it?

Men- Who needs them?

What happened in the gap years between 1910 and 1934? Next week: