One might have thought that the whole point of her inspired culinary structure was that it would allow for some witty tension between the women and the domestic setting to which they are confined.
But Esquivel seems content just to milk the pots and pans for mouthwatering smells and tastes.
In February she makes a wedding cake for her sister - 170 eggs preserved in crumbled sheep fodder and generously watered with her own unstoppable tears. it went running pitifully around the kitchen, its head hanging to one side').
In March, as if in revenge, she strangles the first bird for her Quail in Rose Petal Sauce ('she used too little force . And by now we realise that this is, for want of a better word, a chopping and plucking novel. Tita falls in love with a man called Pedro - their eyes meet, and she feels like dough plunged into boiling oil.
But Tita's mother, Elena, declares that her youngest daughter is not available for marriage, so Pedro marries Tita's sister instead.
It is a cruel blow, alleviated somewhat by Pedro's insistence that he has only agreed to the marriage as a way of staying close to Tita.
The mixture is brought to the boil, cooled, whipped, boiled again, cooled, beaten, fired up one more time, and decanted into a pot.
The novel opens with water: Tita is born during an onion-chopping spree, and is destined to flood the house with her tears.
And it ends with flames: Tita and Pedro achieve a pyrotechnic consummation which sets fire to the ranch, and roasts the pair of lovers as easily as if they were Quail in Rose Petal Sauce.
Nor do we doubt the fundamental corruption of Mexican society, the supervillain Lupita must confront.
That's because the author is always there to spell it out.