In the article, Marcela Salgado reveals the childhood and steps taken in order for Laura Esquivel to write her book, Like Water for Chocolate, and get the novel to where it is today. Esquivel was born on September 30, 1950 in Mexico City and grew up in a home where cultural food was the center and culinary arts were very important to her family. Many of her works today depict key events and lessons from her childhood that she has used and translated into stories. For as long as she can remember she has been in the kitchen learning to cook with her large family. In the kitchen, she was able to learn stories about her family and what makes culture and tradition so special and important to them. She viewed her mother and grandmother as “wise women, entering the sacred place, became priestesses in alchemists playing with water, air, fire and earth” when they were spending time cooking. Stories that she learned from her mother and grandmother while in the kitchen played a large role in the creation of her novel. She used stories that had been passed down about her great aunts and uncles to help write, Like Water for Chocolate.
Equival uses her past and also her hopes for the future to create powerful novels about life events. She grew up in a home where joy and laughter was important but so was discipline. Her parents were dedicated to the fact that a child must be loved but understand disciplinary. She had time for fun but also had to make time for chores and housework. She says that her father taught her to “enjoy life to the fullest, and she inherited laughter, tenderness, and pleasure for the game.” Each day they would get around together as a family and produce their own classical story on the voice recorder.
Her father unfortunately got Parkinson’s disease and her parents divorced before he died in 1999. Esquivel began writing during her time as an elementary school teacher where she would write and plays and stories for the students. She later went on to be a founder of a children’s theater workshop named Taller de Teatro y Literatura.
During her playwriting she would periodically write for young children’s television shows. Later in life, she married Alfonso Arau who happened to be an actor. Together they had a daughter named Sandra in 1976. With her husband being a director and producer, they went on to collaborate and write a film production of, Chido One.
The script was very successful and was recognized at the Mexican Academy of Motion Pictures where she was nominated for best screenplay. Esquival is known for writing from the soul and believes people’s lives are what they make of it.