February, 2019: Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

(Book # 106) Because our newest member, Karen, lives in a northern suburb, she hosted at Marcia’s home in Evanston. Her first words to me as I arrived at the meeting were : “Thank you for giving me a book with the recipes built in!” She and Marcia served three of the recipes for an amazing meal! Below is my thank-you email.

Like Chocolate for Everything
Chapter One: The Arrival
Christmas Rolls
Slice hard rolls, mix together filling ingredients, fill rolls and serve with guacamole, salsa and chips for a substantial yet perfect appetizer. (Did these really have sardines in them?)
Some of the guests consumed the Christmas Rolls even before filling a glass with wine. Though they had suffered their own personal injuries throughout the long day, Nacha and Chencha knew “there was no pain that wouldn’t disappear” if the guest ate a delicious Christmas Roll.

Chapter Two: Dinner
Cook and drain the meat. Fry the tortillas in oil. In dish destined for the oven, layer the tortillas, ground meat mixture, the mole, cheese and the cream. Repeat this process many times. Put the pan in the oven, bake until cheese melts, serve with Turkey Mole and a lovely salad.
The guests sat down to dinner at a candlelit table strewn with chocolates and roses. They devoured a beautiful salad with lettuce and grape tomatoes, their choice of avocado. onion and radishes presented like the colors of the Mexican flag and topped with a cilantro salad dressing. The Turkey Mole was exquisitely hot and chocolatey, and yet it was overshadowed by the exceptional Champandongo. Though the guests brutalized the pronunciation of the dish’s name, they savored the incredible blend of beef, pork, walnuts, mole, onion, tomatoes, cheese and spices. They talked of food, and tradition, and rebellion, of gas and lust and blighted dreams. “How good it was to have a long talk with Nacha. Just like old times, when Nacha was still alive.”

Chapter Three: Dessert, a gluten-free celebration
Flourless Chocolate Cake with fresh Whipped Cream (recipe to be provided as it was not in the book)
Gertrudis had returned with Geraldine, a friend from her time at the brothel, and as Geraldine’s birthday was just two days away, a splendid cake had been prepared despite the absence of any flour in the kitchen. Impressed by the amazing blend of chocolate, cinnamon and ancho chile, one guest noted that the flour just makes the cake taller and who needs that? If only we could have prevented Geraldine from eating the seven candles (6+1) from her cake one by one. “When the candles she chewed made contact with the torrid images in her mind, the candles began to burn. The room was transformed into an erupting volcano.” Wait, I’m not absolutely certain about that last part. I’d had a lot of wine by then. She may have just blown out the candles highlighting her newly acquired breath-holding skills and put the candles on the side of the plate. One or the other — it’s hard to remember which. What was memorable was the cake itself and all of us are waiting to receive the recipe.

Chapter Four: Adios
The guests readied themselves to leave the ranch but agreed they would next be together when the avocados were ready for harvest.

The End

Our next meeting is scheduled for when the swallows come back to Capistrano. If you don’t use that calendar system, it is also referred to as March 19. We will be at Mary’s home to discuss The Dud Avocado by Elaine Dundy after we’ve all laughed, screamed and guffawed.