Today we have another contribution regarding food idioms from around the world: after Greece, Romania, France and Italy (twice!), we’re heading straight to Argentina. The author of this post is Claudia Selene Reali, a conference interpreter and translator (EN/ES/PT) from Buenos Aires, now living in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Thank you Claudia for your contribution, I learnt several things I didn’t know!
Spanish from Rio de La Plata is rich in flavor and rhythm. I’d like to share with you 4 idiomatic expressions that refer to the daily food intake of porteños and their lifestyle. In addition, they go from green to red light, from when things are easy to when you are in deep trouble. Note: Written with a bit of nostalgia.
Ser pan comido
Literal Translation: To be premasticated bread
Meaning: Something is easy
Baby birds are not the only ones happy to have their food pre-chewed, argentines too! And who doesn’t welcome an easy task before a difficult and cumbersome one? We use this idiomatic expression when referring to a test (“La prueba era pan comido”, “The test was easy peasy”), or a task (“¿Ensayo clínico de 35.000 palabras en una semana? ¡Pan comido!”, “A 35.000words clinical trial for next week? Piece of cake!” *Sarcasm).
Tómalo con soda
Literal translation: Take it with carbonated water
Meaning: Take it easy, calm down
Seltzer bottles were a staple in Buenos Aires workingclass eateries, used to water down wine or an aperitif in order to slow down the effect of alcohol, to take it easy and enjoy the meal. So next time you get worked up, remember to ask for a soda syphon at a traditional pizza place, and enjoy the relaxation club soda provides. Problems are not so terrible with a stomach full, after all.
Hagamos una vaquita
Literal translation: Let’s make a little cow
Meaning: Let’s collect some money
Argentine meat is well known all over the world for its tenderness and distinct flavor, and meat exports have always had a great economic impact in the country. Cowmaking equals money in Argentina, so when times get tough, when purchasing someone a present or fundraising for a school event argentines propose “hagamos una vaquita”.
Estar al horno (con papas)
Literal translation: to be in the oven (with chips)
Meaning: To be in trouble
When you mess something up, do something you are not supposed to do and get caught, you are “en el horno” (“in the oven”). If in addition you cannot remedy your mistake and/or have no excuse, then you add potatoes to metaphorical dish. Serve warm.