Like Water for Chocolate

Nacha Character Analysis

Nacha is the elderly cook at the De la Garza ranch. She begins working there as a young woman, when Mama Elena is still a child. She becomes engaged, but the mother of Mama Elena sends her fiancée away for unknown reasons. Nacha never marries or has her own children. She feeds and raises Tita, and Tita comes to see her as her “real mother.” Nacha dies early in the novel, just after Rosaura and Pedro’s wedding. After her death, however, her spirit continues to mentor Tita, whispering recipes and remedies in her ear. Nacha is empathetic, wise, and quietly subversive.

Nacha Quotes in Like Water for Chocolate

The Like Water for Chocolate quotes below are all either spoken by Nacha or refer to Nacha. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Tradition vs. Revolution Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Anchor Books edition of Like Water for Chocolate published in 1995.
Chapter 1: January Quotes

Sometimes she would cry for no reason at all, like when Nacha chopped onions, but since they both knew the cause of those tears, they didn’t pay them much mind. They made them a source of entertainment, so that during her childhood Tita didn’t distinguish between tears of laughter and tears of sorrow. For her laughter was a form of crying. Likewise for Tita the joy of living was wrapped up in the delights of food.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tita de la Garza, Nacha
Related Symbols: Crying/ Tears
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

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Nacha Character Timeline in Like Water for Chocolate

The timeline below shows where the character Nacha appears in Like Water for Chocolate. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: January – “Christmas Rolls.”
Femininity and Women’s Roles Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Emotion and Repression Theme Icon
Food and Cooking Theme Icon
...nurse and busy managing her ranch after her husband died, Mama Elena (Tita’s mother) let Nacha, the childless cook, feed and care for Tita. The narrator explains that Tita loved cooking... (full context)
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...sisters aren’t allowed to play with her in the kitchen. While Tita loves cooking with Nacha, she cherishes special occasions when her mother and sisters join them in preparing the meals.... (full context)
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...daughter, Rosaura instead. Chencha, the maid, goes into the kitchen and angrily tells Tita and Nacha about Pedro’s proposal and Mama Elena’s offer. A little while later, Mama Elena comes to... (full context)
Chapter 2: February – “Chabela Wedding Cake.”
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The chapter begins with a recipe for the Chabela wedding cake, which Tita and Nacha are baking in preparation for Rosaura and Pedro’s wedding. Tita shakes with nausea, as each... (full context)
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After days of preparations, Nacha and Tita are exhausted. On the final night before the wedding, Nacha and Tita are... (full context)
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After finishing the cakes, Tita and Nacha add the marmalade filling they made the month before. Tita remembers the day she carried... (full context)
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...everywhere again and her tears return. She is crying into the fondant cake icing when Nacha sends her to bed. Nacha finishes the icing and at the end licks some of... (full context)
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...agree not to have relations until they both recover. When Tita returns home, she finds Nacha dead in her bed, clutching a photo of her old fiancé. Mama Elena blames Tita... (full context)
Chapter 3: March – “Quail in Rose Petal Sauce”
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After Nacha’s death, Tita takes over as official ranch cook. Without Nacha, she feels as if she... (full context)
Chapter 4: April - “Turkey Mole with Almonds and Sesame Seeds”
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...she must deliver it. With no education about delivering babies, Tita asks for help from Nacha’s spirit. Rosaura pushes the baby out, and Tita catches him. They hold Roberto and cry... (full context)
Chapter 6: June – “A Recipe for Making Matches”
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...tea. She went each day to sit with the old woman, who reminded her of Nacha. (full context)
Chapter 7: July – “Ox-Tail Soup”
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Chencha prepares Nacha’s recipe for ox-tail soup, and makes the dangerous journey across occupied territories to bring it... (full context)
Chapter 9: September – “Chocolate and Three Kings’ Day Bread”
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...the chocolate and bread during holiday seasons past. She mourns the simplicity of childhood, missing Nacha, Gertrudis, and her good relationship with Rosaura. Lately, she has been making a special diet... (full context)
Chapter 10: October – “Cream Fritters”
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...calls for Tita. Rosaura runs to her room. Tita stays with Pedro all night as Nacha’s voice tells her how to remedy his burns. (full context)
Chapter 11: November – “Beans with Chile Tezcucana Style”
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...of the chickens. Tita returns inside to stir the beans, which won’t cook. She remembers Nacha saying that tamales made with anger will refuse to cook, and to make them happy... (full context)
Chapter 12: December: “Chiles in Walnut Sauce.”
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...which Tita and Pedro each think the other has prepared. Neither sees the ghost of Nacha as she lights the last candle and fades away. Tita and Pedro make love more... (full context)