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Contrary to traditional beliefs about a woman’s place in the kitchen, Tita’s presence in the kitchen does not represent passive submission—her culinary creations literally cause action.Although she does not dare to verbalize her disgust as she prepares for her sister, Rosaura, and her lover, Pedro, to wed, for fear of Mama Elena’s wrath, Tita is able to channel her ill will into the wedding cake.
As Tita proclaims, “I’m going to break with it several more times if I have to, as long as this cursed tradition doesn’t take me into account.
I had the same right to marry as you did, and you had no right to stand between two people who were deeply in love” (213).
Sadness and romantic love are not the only emotions she conveys through her cooking.
When Rosaura makes one of her rare appearances in the kitchen in order to confront Tita, Tita surprises her sister by welcoming her company and openly accusing Rosaura of stealing her boyfriend, Pedro.
By centering the plot on a recognizably female space, Esquivel “[makes] the feminist discourse sensitive to a demographically diverse feminist readership while continuing to modify patriarchal systems” (Schneider 2).
Therefore, by examining how the De la Garza women use the kitchen, as well as their relationships with food, it becomes clear that Esquivel’s kitchen-centered plot promotes a more accessible type of feminism in which cooking and use of the kitchen is not representative of passive femininity but a way to subvert female social norms.
The wedding cake, tainted by Tita’s tears, not only causes the guests to feel “a great wave of longing,” but also “an acute attack of pain and frustration” and violent vomiting akin to a volcanic eruption (Esquivel 39-40).
Unfortunately, the effects are also powerful enough to cause the death of Tita’s constant companion, Nancha.
Pedro accepts, thinking it will be a way to stay close to his one true love.
But Tita doesn't know his thinking and, crushed by what she sees as betrayal, she must make the wedding cake.