In Tortilla Soup food plays several roles. First, as Robin Balthrope writes in Reel Food, food represents ethnicity and culture. The opening scenes show the father character, Martin, grilling cactus and peppers, creating a colorful feast for his family. The chef in the film is the protector of tradition. Second, as in many other food films (and outside of the theater of course too), food shows love. Martin loves on his daughters; perhaps he does not always understand their life choices, yet he wants them close, where he can dote on them with tasty dishes. Finally, food in the film facilitates communication. Every time the family sits for their traditional Sunday dinner, someone says, “I have an announcement” and their world is turned upside-down.
Click here for the Tortilla Soup recipe + a bonus recipe for Mexican bread pudding from the movie via Screen to Table