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Flower Power

Like Water for Chocolate, a 1993 film based on the novel by Laura Esquivel, is movie of food and passion.

Like Water for Chocolate takes place in Mexico around 1900. The main character, Tita, is prevented by her domineering mother from marrying Pedro, the man she loves. When Pedro marries her sister in order to remain near Tita, Tita focuses her passion on the meals she creates for the family.

As Blake Swihart, a past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and managing partner at Foodservice Solutions marketing company puts it, “This movie not only has incredible food scenes, it's about the romance and passion behind cooking. That's what I love about it.”

Tita expresses herself through her cuisine, so it's not surprising to find special meanings in her menus. Swihart says that some of the ingredients Tita uses stick in his mind, and singles out a particularly memorable scene.

“Rose petals are used in a very subversive way by Tita, who's cooking the meal,” he says, “to get a message across.”

The dish that Tita prepares in this case is quail in rose petal sauce, using the roses from a bouquet presented to her by Pedro.

Swihart suggests that since the oils found in the petals of edible flowers have mild flavors, if Tita were using the roses in a recipe today, she would more likely use the petals uncooked. He suggests a salad of baby greens, extra virgin olive oil, aged sherry vinegar, kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and a drop of two of rose oil to enhance the flavor.

For the podcast with Blake Swihart and Gail Bellamy, visit and click on the podcast icon.