Food is the dominant symbol in the novel, especially as expressed in the title. "Like water for(hot) chocolate" is a Mexican expression that literally means water at the boiling point and figuratively means intense emotions on the verge of exploding into expression. Throughout the novel, Tita's passion for Pedro is "like water for chocolate" but is constantly repressed by her dictatorial mother. An incident that symbolizes Mama Elena's oppression occurs when Tita is preparing two hundred roosters for the wedding feast. As she castrates live roosters to insure that they will be fat and tender enough for the guests, the violent and gruesome process makes her swoon and shake with anger. She admits "when they had chosen something to be neutered, they'd made a mistake, they should have chosen her. At least then there would be some justification for not allowing her to marry and giving Rosaura her place beside the man she loved."Food becomes a symbol of Tita's love for Pedro as she uses it to communicate her feelings. Even though Tita remains confined to the kitchen, her creative preparation of the family's meals continues to serve as a vehicle for her love for Pedro and his children, and thus as an expression of her rebellion against her mother's efforts to separate them. StyleMagical realism is a fictional style, popularized by Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, that appears most often in Latin American literature. Authors who use this technique mingle the fantastic or bizarre with the realistic. Magical realism often involves time shifts, dreams, myths, fairy tales, surrealistic descriptions, the element of surprise and shock, and the inexplicable. Examples of magical realism in Like Water for Chocolate occur when Tita's recipes have strange effects on those who eat them, when spirits appear to her, and when she cries actual rivers of tears. The fantastic element in Tita's cooking is that it produces such strong emotions in her family. The art of cooking, however, does reflect the patience and talent of the cook-qualities that are appreciated by those who enjoy the results. The spirits who appear to Tita symbolize the long-lasting effects of those who impact our lives and our own feelings of responsibility and guilt.