I’ll take my sombrero sautéed

I’ve continued to work through another online glosarioGlosario de Alimentos, and found an amusing and enlightening entry. On the second page I was doing my usual process: 1) take each term (they are links to a text definition in this source) in Spanish, and, 2) get the Google Translate in a second column, then, 3) click on the link and get the definition (not the English translation of the word, an actual text definition in Spanish), put that under the Spanish term, and, 4) do Google Translate on the definition and clip that and align it with the Spanish. So this is the first part of what I got:

agaricus arvensis

Sombrero: de 8 a 20 cm de diámetro, blanco-amarillento, un poco ocre con la edad, globoso o convexo de joven, después extendido. Borde delgado, enrollado y depués redondeado. Cutícula separable, bastante gruesa y en ocasiones agrietadas.

agaricus arvensis (spoiler, this should be in italics, as a non-English word also)

Hat: from 8 to 20 cm in diameter, white-yellowish, a little ocher with age, globose or convex when young, then extended. Slim edge, rolled and then rounded. Cuticle separable, quite thick and sometimes cracked.

Given that Google Translate didn’t translate the term it was off on a chase to see what I could learn from the definition (and supplementary investigation) to get a more useful translation.

Now one doesn’t need to know much Spanish to know sombrero is a hat. But this bit of the definition, in English or Spanish, doesn’t really give us much clue what agaricus arvensis is. Obviously Google Translate didn’t either (or did it? as this story will reveal). While ‘hat’ is an amusing word to see in the definition of a food ingredient my initial lookup in the Oxford dictionary showed only this translation (as a lesson in this kind of work another dictionary had the right answer (spoiler, won’t say that option, yet) – evidence one needs to look at multiple sources to get accurate translations).

Láminas: libres, apretadas, desiguales, blancuzcas, después rosa-grisácea o encarnadas, pasando a marrón oscuro o en su madurez. Leaves: free, tight, uneven, whitish, then rose-gray or incarnate (Google botched this, should be ‘red’), turning to dark brown or in its maturity.

Now one source translates láminas as ‘leaves’. Nothing in the definition is inconsistent with the translation so this didn’t help.  But as I was grinding through another source (for láminas ) I saw this translations of ‘sheet’ or ‘plate’, but not ‘leaves’. In the authoritative DLE I saw (Google translated):

8. f. Bot. Parte ensanchada de las hojas, pétalos y sépalos. 8. f. Bot. Part widened from the leaves, petals y sepals.

While I was beginning to make guesses (other clues in the complete definition) I thought this was somehow more than ‘leaves’.  Oxford said:

The word laminas is the present form of laminar in the second person singular.

but forcing a lookup on the singular got the same ‘plate’ or ‘sheet’ definition. This is another caution about using translations dictionaries, sometimes a plural noun looks like one of the conjugations of a verb. IOW, no real clue here.

Carne: firme, blanca y delgada por encima de las láminas. Meat: firm, white and thin above the sheets (Note Google picked ‘sheets’ this time instead of ‘leaves’, why?).

So meat and hat and leaves, what sort of food ingredient is this? However, the Spanish version of Wikipedia. I can’t remember what search got me to this location (had to work some to find it again), but this Spanish language Wikipedia article revealed the key clue:

Carne o trama, es un término utilizado en micología para indicar la parte interna del basidiocarpo de una seta o cuerpo fructífero. Meat or plot (DLE has ‘flowering, for trama, which is more likely), is a term used in mycology to indicate the internal part of the basidiocarp of a mushroom or fruitful body.

The overall description had begun to register to me this was the definition of a mushroom where sombrero was ‘cap’ and láminas was gills. But before I quite got confirmation of this there was one more interesting translation from the definition:

Pie: separable, robusto, engrosado en la base, fistuloso desde el comienzo y después hueco.Blanco con algo de vello en la juventud, amarilleando un poco en la base. Piece: separable, robust, thickened at the base, fistulous from the start and then hollow. White with some hair in youth, yellowing a little at the base.

Now pie was one of the first things I looked up (I’m not presenting this post in the same order as my investigation).  In this case the authoritative DLE suggests “stem from the plants” so I later found another source that said ‘foot’ (which initially made me think ‘root’, but I was getting there). Spanish Wiktionary has a definition of “stem or trunk of a plant” derived from the Latin pes. Later I was telling someone this story they reminded me of pied (French, which any walker of the Camino who started at St. Jean should know and even I remember from 8th grade French) and looking that up in French Wiktionary it too comes from the Latin pes.

So, slowly I’m getting there. Then I do the obvious and that is just search on agaricus arvensis , which is a lot more direct path than I went through before getting to this Wikipedia article where agaricus arvensis  is the Latin (aka scientific name, and thus NOT Spanish, thus Google Translate actually was correct!) of this “plant” (not really a plant since it is a fungus).

And so there we have it, there is an English translation (the common name) which is horse mushroom. Lots of work. Problem solved.

BUT, I did one further digression that is actually interesting. Previously I’ve searched for “parts of X in Spanish” and after trying a few of the results hit a really interesting webpage,  todas partes de seta or “all parts of a mushroom”. This page has a nice diagram, which because I respect copyright I will neither embed in my post (or even an image tag, so please check the link). This describes, in good detail these parts:

sombrero, pie, volva, himenio, velo,  laminillas,  basidios, esporas

Note the diminutive laminillas instead of láminas. And that carne, mentioned in the Spanish Wikipedia entry (link above) is not included, so I’ve added one more tidbit of knowledge to mushroom parts.

So there you have it, a lesson in micología (mycology) as well as learning what to call a horse mushroom in Spanish. But in doing some reverse lookups there is at least the suggestion that there is a Spanish word for horse mushroom, mókempa, but the evidence for this is a single source so who knows what part of the world might use this term or whether you’d ever see it on a menu in Spain. I’d bet it’s more likely you might see seta de caballo, unless tying a mushroom (literal word) to a horse (literal word) is an unattractive pairing for a menu (or that the Spanish term would be a literal translation of the English common name).

Fun, huh – lots to learn digging through all this. And more, undoubtedly, Dear Reader than you ever wanted to know.

2 thoughts on “I’ll take my sombrero sautéed

  1. Pingback: Interesting post from site I just found | dailydouq

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