Newsletter Archive

Cuss Words

Palabras Malas

La semana pasada cometí un error en la traducción de la biografía de Chris. En su cuento el usa la expresión, ¡Ay, caramba! y yo lo traduje, Oh crap! Chris me informó que un caballero inglés no diría eso y lo que quería decir era, Oh, my goodness!, que sería ¡Ay, chihuahua!

Con esto en mente, llegamas a la dilema de traducciones, en particular palabras malas. Palabras malas tienen mucha flexibilidad en su traducción dependiendo de la emoción en que se usa.

La palabra pendejo es una palabra mala muy común. ¡Literalmente es un pubic hair!… pero se puede traducirla como, dumb shit or asshole. El palabra pinche es un adjectivo muy común. Literalmente es el ayudante de un cocinero en un barco. Puede traducir como damn o f**king. Pinche tráfico puede ser damn traffic o f**king traffic. Esto depende de la emoción que se transmite cuando se dice la palabra.

La palabras malas más comúnes vienen del verbo, chingar lo cual es el término antiguo Español para violar.

A veces los Mejicanos se refieren como, los hijos de la chingada. Hay variaciones sin fin para esta palabra.

Tengo un libro de 240 páginas con expresiones con el verbo chingar.

El peor insulto es Chinga tu madre, o rape your mother. Vete a la chingada puede decir go to hell.

Aveces se puede usarlo bromeando, no chingues, don´t annoy me. Un chingazo es un trancazo físico fuerte (a heavy physical blow), y una chingadera es algo de que no se puede pensar el nombre. Traigame esa chingadera .

Es una alabanza alta describir alguién como Chingón.

Entonces Chris, aunque un caballero Inglés no lo diría, yo pienso que eres muy chingón.

Cuss Words

Last week I committed an error in the translation of the biography of Chris. In his story he uses the expression, ¡Ay, caramba! and I translated it, Oh crap! Chris informed me that an English gentleman would not say that and what he wanted to say was, Oh, my goodness!, which would be, ¡Ay, chihuahua!

With this in mind, we come to the dilemma of translations, in particular of cuss words. Cuss words have a lot of flexibility in their translation, depending on the emotion in which one uses them.

The word pendejo is a very common cuss word. Literally it is a pubic hair, but one can translate it as, dumb shit or asshole. The word pinche is a very common adjective. Literally it is a cook’s helper on a boat, but it can translate as damn or f**king. Pinche tráfico can be damn traffic or f**king traffic. This depends on the emotion that one is transmitting when one says the word.

The most common cuss words come from the verb, chingar which is the old Spanish term for “to rape”.

Mexicans sometimes are referred to as “the children of the rape” or “los hijos de la chingada“. There are endless variations from this word.

I have a 240 page book with expressions with the verb chingar.

The worst insult is chinga tu madre, or rape your mother. Vete a la chingada can mean go to hell.

Sometimes it can be used jokingly, no chingues, don´t annoy me. A chingazo is a heavy physical blow, and a chingadera is a something you can’t think of the name of. “Bring that chingadera over there”.

It is high praise to describe someone as a chingón.

And so Chris, even though an English gentleman wouldn´t say it, I think you are pretty chingón.

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Commonly Confused Verbs

Wednesday, August 8 : Miercoles, 8 de Agosto

Buenos Dias ,

We have had several requests for some clarification on certain verbs, so I am going to take the time in this letter to explain three of them that are commonly confused.

Preguntar vs. Pedir

Preguntar means to ask a question or ask for information. Always use a person as the object for this verb, since you can only ask people for information. This verb always takes an indirect object pronoun because we “ask of someone”.

Necesito preguntarle a mi esposo. = I need to ask my husband.

Le pregunté a José. = I asked Jose.

Él me preguntó. = He asked me.

Pedir means to ask for something. It comes from petition. Always request something with this verb. This verb always takes a direct object pronoun because we “ask for something”.

Necesito pedir la cuenta. = I need to ask for the bill.

Pedí el postre. = I asked for the dessert.

Ya pedí. = I already ordered.

Preguntar = To ask someone.

Pedir = To request something.

Conocer vs. Saber

Conocer means to know or be acquainted with a person or a place. It can also translate as to meet someone.

Conozco a José. = I know Jose.

Conocí a José el año pasado. = I met Jose last year.

Mucho gusto en conocerle. = Much pleasure in meeting you. (The le here is a use of leismo.)

Saber means to know information. It can also translate as to find out something.

Yo no sé. = I don´t know.

Sé la dirección. = I know the address.

Supe anoche. = I found out last night.

Necesito saber la verdad. = I need to know the truth.

Conocer = to know or be acquanted with a person or place or to meet someone.

Saber = to know or find our information.

Salir vs. Dejar

Salir means to leave or go out.

Necesito salir mañana. = I need to leave tomorrow.

María sale con José. = Maria goes out with Jose.

José salió ayer. = Jose left yesterday.

Dejar means to leave something or someone behind or to quit something.

Necesito dejar me maleta aquí. = I need to leave my suitcase here.

Dejé mi niño en la escuela. = I left my child at the school.

Dejé mi departamento. = I vacated my apartment.

Dejé mi trabajo. = I quit my job.

Dejar de = to quit an activity. The “de” is always followed by an infinitive and the infinitive will translate as “ing.”

Dejé de fumar. = I quit smoking.

Salir = to leave or go out.

Dejar = to leave something or someone behind or quit doing something.

Salud y abrazos,

Warren

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Student Stories

Wednesday, August 16 : Miercoles, 16 de Agosto
Buenos Dias ,

Recientemente, yo mandé una carta sobe palabras malas con un poco de intepredación sobre el contenido pero he recibido nada más que comentarios buenos. Aquí es un comentario interesante de Sandra Stahlman.“Gracioso. Cuando yo estaba viajando a Guadalajara con el sobrino Mexicano de nuestro amigo en Puerto Vallarta, el le gritó “Chingado” a un motorista quién casi nos chocó. Me reí y dije, “¡Esteban, palabra terrible! Él se puso colorado y contestó, “¡Dios mío, estás aprendiendo todas las palabras incorrectas en Español!

Gracias por los cuentos maravillosos.”

Mi Historia de Águila Gris por Ward Flowers

Nací en un rancho en Texas. Aprendí a montar a caballo cuando tenía cinco años. Mi primer caballo era un yegua muy vieja. Ese caballo no podía correr y solamente andaba a paso lento por todas partes, aún cuando yo usaba un látigo. Cuándo tenía siete años mi padre me dio un nuevo caballo, un potro que se llamaba “Grey Eagle”, Águila Gris.

La primera vez que me subí en ese potro, yo no sabía que era un caballo muy diferente que la yegua.

Cómo siempre yo usaba mi látigo muy fuerte y al instante el caballo empezó a correr muy rápido. Yo estaba muy sorprendido y dejé caer las riendas.

El caballo corría y corría, y yo no podía hacer nada.

Por fin el caballo llegó a una cerca y se paró de repente. Yo volé a una gran altura y aterricé en un cactus.

En esa manera yo aprendí que era necesario tener mucho cuidado cuando yo montaba a Grey Eagle.

Recently, I sent out a letter on cusswords with some intepredation about the content but have received nothing but good comments. Here is an interesting coment from Sandra Stahlman.“Delightful. When I was traveling to Guadalajara with the Mexican nephew of our friend in Puerto Vallarta, he yelled “Chingado” at a passing motorist who almost wrecked into us. I laughed and said, ”¡Esteban, palabra terrible!” He turned red and replied, “Oh my God, you are learning all the wrong words in Spanish!”

Thanks for the wonderful stories.”

My Story of Grey Eagle by Ward Flowers.

I was born on a ranch in Texas. I learned to ride a horse when I was five years old. My first horse was a very old mare. That horse wasn´t able to run and only went around at a slow pace everywhere, even when I used a whip. When I was seven years old my father gave me a new horse, a colt that was called Grey Eagle.

The first time I got on that colt, I didn´t know that it was a very different horse than the mare.

As always I used the whip very strongly and at that instant the horse began to run very fast. I was very surprised and let go of the reins.

The horse ran and ran, and I wasn´t able to do anything.

Finally the horse arrived at a fence and stopped all of the sudden. I flew to a great height and landed on a cactus.

It was that way I learned that it was necessary to have a lot of care when I rode Grey Eagle.

Warm regards,
The Staff at Warren Hardy

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Mexican Pizza: Courtesy of Sazòn

Teresa Jones is founder and owner of Sazòn, an extraordinary Culinary School in San Miguel de Allende. Teresa has assembled an incredible team and attracts some of the most renowned chefs in the world, including Patricia Quintana, Toni Cherry, and Agustin Gaytan, who is currently of Ramekins Cooking School in Sonoma, California.

Relocated to Correo #22 in November 2003, Sazòn is also a remarkable store, purveyor to a chef’s every need, be they fledgling or world class. “Store” is not quite the right word to describe what Teresa has created. While perusing the products offered, ranging from complete kitchens by Wolf, Thermador and other top-of-the-line brands, cabinetry and counter tops, table settings, one of a kind pottery, every kitchen implement imaginable, and a full array of linens, you are enveloped in an ambiance that is inspirational. With original paintings by Juan Carlos Breceda of Mexico City, chandeliers, antique armoires filled with collections of glasswear that Teresa designs, assembles, and displays with such exquisite taste, it is fair to refer to Sazòn as a Galeria.

It is in this setting that cooking classes are presented. Teresa hopes you will visit her at Sazòn when you are in San Miguel de Allende studying Spanish with Warren Hardy. Maybe nibbling on Mexican Pizza will help you concentrate while studying Direct and Indirect Object Pronouns.

Mexican Pizza a la Sazòn
Courtesy of Chef Toni Cherry

1 sheet puff pastry
3 roasted, peeled and seeded bell peppers, preferably a combination of red, orange, and yellow (no green).
6 large chili poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
1 large white onion, diced
1 lb. Oaxacan or Manchego cheese, grated Cooking oil

Roll out the puff pastry and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate. Cut the chilies into strips. Saute the onions in oil until soft. Add the chilies and cook until slightly al dente. Cool.

Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and cover with 1/2 of the cheese. Spread the chili and onion mixture over the cheese and bake in a 500 F oven until the pastry is brown on the bottom, about 20 minutes. Remove the pizza and add the remaining cheese. Return to the oven until the cheese bubbles. Let the pizza rest at least 10 minutes before cutting.

San Miguel is all about fusion…. in food and people, and here we have a delicious meeting of Italy and Mexico. Buen Provecho!

Do you know what indispensable Mexican cooking herb translates from Nauatl into English as “sweat of skunk?” See next Thursday’s Comida Mexicana.

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Salsa Mexicana Cruda

Salsa mexicana cruda, or uncooked Mexican sauce, is a mixture of chopped tomatoes, finely chopped white onion, loosely chopped cilantro (not minced, as it is an aromatic and you wouldn’t want to “bruise” it), minced serrano chilies, salt to taste and a splash of water. It is ever present, in all parts of Mexico, and delicious with almost every Mexican dish from the first egg in the morning, with frijoles de la olla, appetizers, and right through meat dishes served at la comida. It is made in small batches, and served at room temperature (refrigeration steals its thunder) within a couple of hours of conception so it is still crunchy, freshly fragrant and piquant. A guide to the amount of each ingredient might be a generous cup of chopped tomatoes to a half cup each of onions and cilantro, with a couple of chili serranos per cup of tomatoes, and salt to taste. Put a plate of quartered limes nearby.

If you want to peel the tomatoes, just put them in boiling water for a minute or so while you chop the onion, then into an ice water bath and the skin will slip right off after you make the first cut. Don’t let the tomatoes sit in the hot water too long, or they will get mushy. If you want the salsa to be picanté, then mince the serrano chilies, membrane, seeds, and all. If you prefer a milder salsa, then take out the white membrane and seeds before chopping them, and maybe add one more chili. Remember to wear gloves or to hold the raw chili down with a plastic bag while handling them if you wear contact lenses and intend to either put them in or take them out in the next few hours. And as for you gentlemen chefs, well, just use plastic gloves. Buen provecho!

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Frijoles de la olla

Put 2 cups of sorted, rinsed, beans into an earthenware pot filled with purified water, bring to a boil, and then turn off the heat. Let the beans soak in the olla for an hour or two to reduce sugars which can cause gas, drain the beans, add fresh water and bring to a boil again. Turn the heat down to a good simmer and add the Big Five: a couple of whole serrano chilies), a branch of fresh, easy to grow, epazote, about 3 TBS of bacon fat or corn oil, a white onion(quartered), and 2 or 3 whole, peeled, garlic cloves. After a couple of hours or so of gentle cooking, lift one or two beans out of the pot and blow on them. If their skin wrinkles, or the beans are beginning to soften, it is time to add salt to taste. Remember, in high altitude regions, this may take three or so hours.

If salt is added too soon, as with most proteins, cooking time is slowed down, and the beans will be tough. Salt should be added during the last 45 minutes or so before the beans are done. If you add salt too late, the salt will not be absorbed, and the beans will seem tasteless if you are used to using salt in your cooking. Pull out the spent strands of epazote, the whole serrano chilies, and dispose of them. Ladle the beans into bowls, crumble queso fresco, a soft Mexican Ranchero type cheese, over them and and serve with a basket of hot corn tortillas and a molcajete full of uncooked Mexican tomato salsa to add as you wish. Savor Frijoles de la Olla as a side dish, or toss a light salad and enjoy them as a hearty meal. Sometimes after several courses at a traditional Mexican table, a small bowl of beans might be served last as a symbol that no one will leave the table hungry.

Are “refried” beans fried again and again? Find out in next Thursday’s Comida.

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Purchasing and preparing Frijoles for Cooking

Shopping at a Mexican mercado for beans can be a daunting experience for the uninitiated. You want to look for the freshest beans, and make sure they are not mixed; you don’t want to by the pale yellow Peruvian beans, perujanas, mixed with the pale pink flor de mayo, or flor de junio (flower of May or Flower of June), for example, as the cooking times may vary, leaving you with some overcooked, and some indigestible undercooked, beans.

When you spot a mountain of beans in the market, follow the example of the Mexican woman, who will swoop down into the pile and bring up a handful of beans, letting them trickle through her fingers. She is looking for telltale holes in the beans or a powdery substance that indicates a little bug or a family of weevils may have gotten to the beans before you did. When you find good fresh beans, make sure to pour over them before you use them, bean for bean, and pick out any little bits of rocks, stems or small dirt clods. This is a great thing to do while watching your favorite TV novella or listening to tapes and CDs in Spanish from The Warren Hardy Foundation Course. Be sure to rinse beans right before using them.

Remember, the older the bean, the longer they take to cook, so freshness is vital. Also don’t forget that while cooking beans in San Miguel Allende, everything takes longer to cook here because of the high altitude.

You now have an olla and you know how to choose quality beans in the marketplace. Are you ready to learn a couple of the secrets to making a delicious pot of beans and more? Read next Thursday’s Comida Mexicana to find out how.

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Purchasing and Curing an Earthenware Bean Pot (Olla)

If you really enjoy the flavor of beans in Mexico, and can’t figure out why they taste so delectable compared to the ones at home, the secret may be in the earthenware cooking pot, or olla. Depending on the region, some ollas are beautifully decorated on the outside with colors which may contain some lead. Since the outside of the pot will never come in contact with food, this is not a problem. Perhaps the most practical souvenir you will ever take home from a Mexican market place is an earthenware olla. The first thing you will want do is to “cure” it by filling it with water and 1/4 cup of salt. Let the salted water boil in the olla for one half-hour or so and then remove the pot from the heat. When cool, rinse the olla with fresh water, and it will be ready for use.

You can use the olla on the top of a gas burner or any regular electric stove. The tempered glass electric stovetops do not work with clay pots, so beware, as the olla will break. Of course the best of all beans are said to be made in an olla fueled over a mesquite fire.

Do you know why a Mexican shopper will hold up a handful of beans in the market and let them trickle through her fingers? Find out in next week’s Comida Mexicana: Purchasing

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Epazote, or Wormseed

In Mexico, Epazote is an indispensable herb, or weed, depending on your point of view. In English it is known as Wormseed, Mexican tea, West Indian goosefoot, Jerusalem parsley, hedge mustard, Jesuit’s tea, and sweet pigweed. In Spanish it is often called yerba de Santa Maria. It is native to Mexico and South America, and has naturalized as far north as Missouri, New England, and the Eastern United States. It is now cultivated in large quantities in Baltimore. In parts of California, Texas and Arizona, farmers rip it out, plough it under, and curse it. Mexican’s grow epazote in pots and lovingly cultivate it in their herb gardens. Most indigenous languages don’t have a word for “weed.” “We only have plants,” say the shamans.

In a Mexican covered-market where refrigeration is available, you must ask for it, and they will get a bunch of it for you out of the refrigerator. It is best used fresh as it looses its potency soon after being harvested. Upon first whiff of this powerful plant, it may seem counterintuitive to put a branch of it in your bean pot. In fact, the name comes from Náhuatl, epatl meaning “skunk” and tzoll, meaning “sweat,” or “dirt.” Skunk sweat in your beans? Hmmm.

The main ingredient of epazote is ascridole, known for its potency to combat intestinal worms and while it is not as commonly used in central Mexican cuisine as an ingredient in soups and beans as it is in the south, especially the Yucatan Peninsular, it is taken as a tea in most households in Mexico. You can buy small plants and they will naturalize in your garden, or plant epazote in a big maceta in a sunny spot. Then, next time you make frijoles de la olla, snip off 2 or 3 branches, about 8 inches long and let them teach you just how flavorful your beans can get. Be sure to pull them out and discard them before you serve the beans.

Want to know how to purchase, cure, and use an earthenware bean pot (olla) to make the best frijoles you will ever make? Find out in next weeks Comida Mexicana.

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Warren Hardy’s Perfect Margarita:

El Tres, Dos, Uno The Three, Two, One.

3 parts good tequila
2 parts lime juice
1 part Cointreau or “Controy,” an inexpensive Cointreau knock off made in Mexico that works just as good for Margaritas Salt

Run the edge of a cut lime around the rim of the glass, then dip the rim in a plate of salt.

Shake or stir, and pour into salt rimmed glasses filled with ice y disfrutarlos! Enjoy them!

Julia Child’s Perfect Margarita:
El Dos, Dos, Dos The Two, Two, Two

2 oz white tequila
2 oz Triple Sec or Cointreau
2 oz fresh lime juice
8 ice cubes
Salt
An electric blender

Dip the rim of the glass in tequilla, and then dip rim of glass into a plate of salt.
Pour mixture over ice in blender, set for puree, and pulse on and off for a few seconds.

Pour into center of glass so not to disturb the salt. Salud! To your health!

In the next Comida Mexicana we will fuse the best of Italy and Mexico in a delicious recipe created by Chef Toni Cherry. And it is vegetarian. Can you guess what it might be?

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Tequila: a Bit of History

The town of Tequila, in the state of Jalisco, gives us the name for the famous beverage used in the infamous cocktail, the Margarita. This town was founded by the indigenous Ticuila tribe in 1530 who produced pulque from the local agave plant. Pulque is one of the alcoholic beverages made by early indigenous peoples of the Americas, and like its more refined descendants, mezcal and tequila, it is made by distilling the fermented juice of the agave plant. However, unlike pulque, and mezcal, Mexican law dictates that tequila can only be made from the blue agave.

A few hundred years after the town was founded, Mexico decided that the town of Tequila was the best source of blue agave, and little by little the beverage from that area became to be known as tequila. The first recorded export of tequila to the US was in 1873, and during Prohibition in the US, between 1919 and 1933, tequila was smuggled into the US in enormous quantities. In 1976, the rights to the name tequila were deemed to be the intellectual property of the Mexican government and laws surrounding the production of tequila are very strict.

The Aztecs confined the drinking of pulque to religious ceremonies; social drinking was prohibited and drunkenness was punishable by death. Today, if you drink a few Margaritas in an evening, and you didn’t buy a smooth, 100% agave, reputable brand of tequila, the next morning you will only think you are dying.

In search of the Perfect Margarita, both Warren Hardy and Julia Childs came up with the winning recipes. Find out next week how to prepare a winning Margarita in Comida Mexicana.

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Chiles in Walnut Sauce

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in Mexico in September, with all the festivities surrounding Mexican Independence Day on September 16th, then you will probably be offered a very special dining treat: Chiles en Nogada. Typically August and September are the only months this culinary treat is available, as it is then that the new walnut crop comes in and used in the heavenly sauce that smothers Chiles en Nogada. If you are in San Miguel de Allende studying Spanish at The Warren Hardy School, you can find Chiles en Nogada year round at restaurants Mesón de San Jose on Mesones #38, and Bugambilia, at Hildago #42. You will be asked if you prefer them served hot (caliente) or at room temperature (tibio.)

This spectacular dish has patriotic associations, as can be seen by its colors which were inspired by the red, white, and green Mexican flag. Imagine stuffed green chiles peeking out from under a rich, creamy-white sauce featuring walnuts, thick cream, and cheese, and then see the whole plate sprinkled with glistening bright red pomegranate seeds, also in season during the Independence celebrations (festivales patrioticos).

This dish was first served to Mexico’s Emperor, Don Augustín de Iturbide, by the Augustine nuns of Puebla, who created it in his honor when he visited Puebla soon after the War of Independence. While there are as many variations to this national dish as there are recipes for a Thanksgiving turkey stuffing, and since it is a fairly complicated and complex recipe, we won’t include the recipe here. Almost every good cookbook featuring Mexican food will have its rendition of Chiles en Nogada, so suffice it to say that the stuffing for the chiles includes tender pork loin with the usual tomato, garlic, and onion background. However, the surprise is that the pork filling is also simmered with peaches, bananas, pears, raisins, and blanched almonds until the flavors marry and the mixture has thickened. If your experience with stuffed chiles (chiles rellenos) has been a poblano chile stuffed with a finger of Monterey Jack cheese, then you have a possible moment of enlightenment to look forward to with your first bite of Chiles en Nogada.

In next weeks Comida Mexicana, Lágrimas en el Caldo, or “Tears in the Soup,” we are going to find out how important it is for the chef to be in a good mood when he or she is cooking.

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