a consultar about cecina

Even though I’ve now marched past León on my virtual trek I’m slowly plodding through the restaurant menus I found there. One menu, for the restaurant attached to Royal Collegiate of Saint Isidoro Hotel, has an English version as well as the Spanish. This is relatively rare and provides a unique opportunity to compare online machine translation of Spanish to the same material written in English. Of course, and as I found, the English text on a webpage may be different than the Spanish; after all it is aimed at a different audience and probably is not just a translation from the Spanish. Nonetheless a careful analysis may provide some interesting clues.

So I’ll start with a menu phrase, a consultar, which appears in three places (Spanish in first column, Google Translate in second, English from the website in third):

Pescado del Día (a consultar) Fish of the Day (to consult) Fish of the Day
Postre del día (a consultar) Dessert of the day (to consult) Dessert of the day
Domingo: Arroz / Fideuá (A consultar) Sunday: Rice / Fideuá (On request) Sunday: Rice / Fideuá (To consult)

Now consultar is a typical Spanish verb which has various meanings (the sense of the literal translation (in black) is marked in green:

  1. to consult (to seek advice from) (to refer for information to)
  2. to discuss with (to talk about)
  3. to look up (to look for)

or (Google translations of Spanish definition in green)

  1. Pedir información, opinión o consejo sobre una determinada materia (Ask for information, opinion or advice on a certain subject)
  2. Buscar información en una fuente de documentación (Search information in a documentation source)

Note that Google translated this differently as either ‘to consult’ or ‘on request’. Now to my sense the ‘on request’ makes less sense, either compared to dictionary definitions or that  por encargo is more common on menus for ‘on request’. Unfortunately the author of the English part on the website doesn’t provide an English equivalent in two cases and ‘to consult’ (the most literal translation) in the third.

So we’re really left without a good English equivalent. I would submit ‘ask your server’ as the common phrase you’d see in USA for these items. IOW, the X del día is a common phrase (less so in Spain) and ‘of the day’ in the USA. In most cases it means what the chef was interested in making today or what ingredients might have been available. So the customer can’t know, from the menu, what the item is and thus has to ask (btw, I don’t think this is the same as the “specials” often rattled off by servers so that wouldn’t be my preferred translation.).

So if I’m right (and I am getting the context right, if not the translation) this presents another interesting flaw in my project. There is NO way to read the menu and determine what this item is – you will have to speak to the server or the chef to find out and, of course, that requires some amount of fluency in both speaking and hearing Spanish (perhaps another type of aided communication app on a smartphone might work but unlikely the server would know how to use it; I tried this in China and totally confused a cab driver). My sister dismissed the idea of my project in lieu of just learning to speak and hear Spanish conversationally and maybe focus a bit more of restaurant and food vocabulary. I think this is a fine idea, but: a) it takes a lot of work I’d prefer software to do, and, b) I’ve actually tried and for some reason, despite modest fluency in a couple of other languages than English I just cannot hear Spanish (the sounds and the speed really confuse me, I watch movies with subtitles and rarely “hear” words I even know and know, from the subtitles, were in the audible portion). And like the jokes some more Spanish fluent people made about my sister my pronunciation would be awful and at minimum irritate a native Spanish speaker or very likely totally confuse them. So I have to try to continue on my path of using software (not brainware) to navigate menus. Perhaps I’ll just have to skip the del día items or perhaps see them on another table and point.

So on to cecina.

This is a common item on menus I’ve encountered before but it tends to be more feature on menus in Castilla y León. In fact this geographical interest is so strong there is also the specific Cecina de León, an IGP (Indicación Geográfica Protegida, EU equivalent protected geographical indication).  This specific item even has its own website (https://www.cecinadeleon.org/) explaining how it must be produced.

It’s not actually a mystery of what this is (although for a long time it was unavailable in the USA; oh, and now it appears actual cecina from Spain is still not available in USA so this is an imitation made in the style of León) but now you can buy it online where it is described:

Tender sliced cured beef with a deep red color and rich smoky flavor is León’s answer to jamón. This is cecina, a premium cut of beef cured with sea salt and smoked over oakwood with no preservatives. Cecina is Spain’s culinary secret, just as worthy of culinary acclaim as Spain’s famous hams. And like jamón, over thousands of years the people of Spain have transformed the curing of beef from a necessity to an art, creating a delicate, flavorful meat unlike any other in the world.

In another article I was saw it described as ‘chipped beef’ which would possibly be close but certainly an insult to this seriously expensive dried meat.

So, what should the translation be? Or is this one of those terms, say like chorizo or lomo, that you just have to know what it is?

But Google thinks it has the answer. Most of the time (and often it doesn’t translate cecina at all) Google thinks it is ‘jerky’. While the official description about its elaboración (method/recipe of production) has various similarities to most recipes for making jerky the best descriptions I can find is that jerky is not that equivalent.

So what does the English version of the menu at this restaurant say? Here are a couple of references, again with Spanish in first column, Google Translate in second and website English translation in third:

Ofrecemos servicios de corte de jamón/cecina, quesos artesanos al corte, cervezas artesanas… We offer ham / cecina cutting services, cut artisan cheeses, craft beers … We offer professional ham / beef jerky cutting services, sliced local artisan cheeses, craft beers and more.

Note that in this case Google didn’t translation cecina at all but the website does refer to it as ‘beef jerky’ and the human translation otherwise seems very close to the original Spanish.

And another reference:

Lunes: Salmorejo con Cecina IGP. Monday:  Salmorejo with Cecina IGP. Monday: Salmorejo with Smooked Beef  IGP.

Note that ‘smooked’ is in the menu itself as is another typo ‘Thuesday’ which certainly makes it look likely this is the work of a person.

And then our final reference:

El menú del cabildo es una
salmorejo de tomates de mansilla con cecina IGP, puerros de sahagun, escalibada de pimientos del Bierzo…
The menu of the cabildo is a
salmorejo de tomates de mansilla with cecina IGP, leeks of sahagun, escalivada of peppers of the Bierzo …
The Cabildo menu is a proposal ‘Salmorejo’ or cold-tomato soup made with local ‘Mansilla’ tomatoes and beef-jerky, ‘Sahagun’ leeks, ‘Escalivada’ or roasted vegetables on flat rustic bread and made with local ‘Bierzo’ peppers…

So here we see beef jerky again. So either the author believes calling it jerky will best describe it to an English speaking person or they had to use some dictionary lookup, which, btw, lists: ‘smoked’, ‘cured’ and ‘salted’ meat (each as a separate term when the elaboración explains ALL these steps are involved in creating cecina).

Now the imitation online stuff refers to cecina as “The “beef version” of jamón” and the picture shows a solid piece of meat whereas the elaboración  is quite clear the meat must be thinly sliced before any other processing so a solid ham-like chunk certainly doesn’t match the IGP definition.

And, finally, our sometimes reliable English version of Wikipedia adds this information in its description:

is made by curing beef, horse or (less frequently) goat, rabbit, or hare

Emphasis on ‘horse’! Since I’ve also found this item on a different León menu: Cecina de Burro. Now burro might be a brand or a geographical reference but it might also be, in fact its literal translation, ‘donkey’.  Pure beasts, work in the hot sun and when they’re worn out they end up on the table – no thanks.

So finally I might end up calling cecina “thin slice of mystery meat cured in salt, then dried (by heat or sun) and (usually, but not always) smoked”. So I think a consultar ties in nicely with cecina and strongly recommends spoken fluency to find out what you’re eating (or at least know the phrase ¿Qué animal es este de.

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Quick progress note: Passed León

I haven’t found time to do any posts (nor much menu research) but I have managed to keep plodding away on virtual trek and thus have “zipped” (a highly relative term) past León without commenting on a single restaurant. So 298.8 miles on foot and 6832.2 on bike (unfortunately exercise equipment not the more fun real thing).

My initial research to develop a list of restaurants with online menus was disappointing. My simplistic notion was that León was a large and sophisticated city and thus more likely to have upscale restaurants than previous cities along the Camino. But the initial results proved that assumption wrong.

I’ve developed a new technique, at least for cities, to find online menus. Instead of using Google Maps (works for smaller towns with just a few restaurants) I now use one of the crowdsource rating sites (to avoid a plug I won’t mention which). While I’ve had enough experience with rankings in USA restaurants I can visit to be skeptical of rankings they generally correlate. However, better ranked restaurants are not necessarily more likely to have websites or especially online menus.

So combining all the factors my list of menus to investigate, for León, is no larger than my list from Palencia (source of my previous posts). This is surprising since León is about three times the population. That said, León has less population than the second largest city in my midwest flyover state (Lincoln, Nebraska) and significantly smaller than my home city (or Columbus Ohio where I recently dined and have yet to post). So perhaps it’s not too surprising León doesn’t have that many larger restaurants that have online menus.

Now a question might be, what good does it do a restaurant to bother with an online menu? I think that in the USA it’s quite important but apparently that belief isn’t (at least fully) shared in Spain. This suggests to me comensales (guests) are more likely local and don’t decide where to eat based on websites. For my purpose it’s disappointing because I don’t get more diverse source material. What I have already learned is that restaurant food terminology is highly variable, by region or location, in Spain and thus to obtain the best corpus to generate my translator needs content from a geographically broad selection. But, obviously restaurants don’t have (or not have) online menus for that purpose.

So I have just begun to look at the León restaurant menus I did find. I’ve started in ranking order and thus hit two expensive and more sophisticated restaurants right away. Both have a strong showing in what would be labeled either as molecular gastronomy or modernist cuisine. So, despite a huge number of photos of a large number of dishes both of the top three restaurants only have a degustacion (tasting) menu online thus providing only a limited amount of raw data for my analysis and corpus.

So I can relate a few interesting translation issues (again this means where the machine translation, usually Google, doesn’t make the best choices, at least in menu context, or the terms on the menu don’t actually have a translation).

Menú seminal Weekly menu

This is the first time I’ve seen this on any menu even though it’s basically the same as degustacion (tasting) but with a time of year context, as they explain:

Nuestra oferta se compone exclusivamente de este menú degustación, que define la sensibilidad por la cocina y el respeto hacia el producto.

El ritmo frenético del mercado, propicia que en este menú entren y salgan productos constantemente, lo que impide en ocasiones que este siempre actualizado.

Our offer consists exclusively of this tasting menu, which defines the sensitivity for cooking and respect for the product.

The frenetic pace of the market, encourages this menu to constantly enter and exit products, which sometimes prevents it from being updated.

Note: Generally I’ve found that Google actually translates full sentence prose more effectively than the one line items on menus. Perhaps this does indicate their claim of using context actually does help.

So here are two items from this menu (the only restaurant in León with a Michelin star) that required more research than simple translation:

ciervo asado con castañas, patata y trompetas de los Muertos roasted deer with chestnuts, potatoes and trumpets of the dead
queso de El Palacio con brevas El Palacio cheese (artisan sheep cheese) with figs

In the first item ‘trumpets of the dead’ is actually a good translation but unhelpful. It turns out this is a particular type of mushroom (Craterellus cornucopioides) whose name stems from the fact that the edible one resembles a lethal one so I suppose this is a bit like eating fugu in Japan (which I’ve done and it was another bland white fish with a tiny bit of tingle). OTOH, queso de El Palacio is just a particular cheese that is a local specialty of León.

From another menu of the top-ranked restaurant, with more traditional Spain offerings rather than the Spain influenced modernist cuisine had a few carta (a la carte menu) and thus more content. Here are a couple of examples:

PISTO CASERO

con huevo frito y pimentón

PISTO

with fried egg and paprika

Pisto is just the name of a dish and thus one of those items, like gazpacho or paella, that really doesn’t have any kind of translation and thus one must know what it is. It is a vegetable stew (or thick sauce) that resembles ratatouille.

And

CACHOPO

“como en Asturias”

CACHOPO

“as in Asturias”

is another example of a particular dish, cachopo, that you just have to know what it is (Two large veal fillets and includes ham and cheese. The dish is eaten fried and hot after being breaded in eggs and breadcrumbs) before you decide to order it or not. Like most dishes there are multiple recetas (recipes) so often Google searches for a term like this will result in finding a receta instead of a description but if you’re a foodie that may be more helpful anyway.

LENGUA CURADA con lascas de queso y aceite de pimentón CURED LANGUAGE with cheese flakes and paprika oil

lengua is one of those words where the most probable literal translation is wrong in this context. In fact the most “obvious” literal translation is correct, i.e. ‘tongue’ which then can mean ‘language’. For menus it is ‘tongue’.

CREMA DE NÉCORAS

con langostinos

CREAM OF NÉCORAS

with prawns

Here Google had no translation but Google searches quickly revealed ‘velvet crab, Necora puber‘. As an informal observation, especially in regards to seafood, I’ve noticed that the Spanish term often is directly derived from the scientific (Latin) name of the creature. So as a hint this might be a good place to start searching.

And this one was probably the worst (least helpful) translation:

ALBÓNDIGAS DE VENADO

al Prieto Picudo

DEVICE BEDS

to Prieto Picudo

I can’t even quite decide why the poor translation occurs as there is little literal connection. albóndigas is fairly common on menus (plus a cognate of its Italian counterpart) so one I immediately recognized as ‘meatballs’, although in some menus in Spain it may be an item closer to ‘meatloaf’. Nothing about it translates to either ‘device’ or ‘beds’. Likewise venado has a simple (and presumably correct in this context) literal translation of ‘deer’ or as also listed as a culinary sense, ‘venison’. So literal translation would be much more useful, in this case. But Prieto Picudo has no translation but is easily found via searches as a particular type of grape local to  Castile and León (DO Tierra de Leon).

And finally a term I’ve often seen that doesn’t appear in dictionaries but can be deduced if one knows about rules in Spanish for making diminutives from base words:

CHULETILLAS

de conejo

CHULETILLAS

rabbit

Google failed to translation chuletillas but this I’ve previously found as the diminutive of chuleta (rib) so one can conclude these are simply small ribs, which would obviously be true when found a rabbit, but often this term is also used for very young (unweaned) lambs (lechazo or cordero lechal) or pigs (cochinillo or lechón) where leche (milk) is the key part of these terms.

So while I’ve fallen behind in posts at least I can provide a bit of information about food terms from León.

Observations from menus from restaurants in city of Palencia

I’m falling behind in doing posts about interesting things I find on menus so I decided to do two different things.

First, normally I would not manually extract corresponding English (usually from Google translate, sometimes from searches or dictionary lookups) and Spanish words or phrases and then collate the results across multiple menus. This I’ll do thoroughly, someday, with a more comprehensive approach using custom software and a corpus (of these kinds of extractions), critically with the “certainty” (expressed as a probability) that the translation is correct. Only with this very careful approach can I use “big data” effect (i.e. small wrong details wash out with lots of instances of word pairs) to get most accurate translations, or, in some cases, confusing translations that take a lot of research to decide (such as exactly what cut is solomillo). But because I’m behind I decided to go do the manual extraction and collation and analysis for many menus I studied in Palencia.

Second, normally I’d make a post on individual menus about what items are interesting, either the strange machine translations (or lack thereof) or items that required more than translation (such as recognizing a term is really a classic dish (recipe) or an ingredient from specific location or type of preparation). And such posts, of both necessity (lack of time to create) and less raw information are shorter than this consolidated post will be.

So instead I’ll really blast you, Dear Reader, with a vast amount of observations from all these menus at once. Since this is a lot of work my actual information may be in less than complete sentences and/or with explanation.

So here we go.

First, I made a list of some words/terms that can be very confusing (at least to me) since there is only minor spelling difference between words that are quite different, e.g. o. pata (leg) pato (duck) pavo (turkey). So here are some more:

  1. azafrán (saffron) azúcar (sugar)
  2. calidad (quality) caliente (hot)
  3. fresa (strawberry) and fresca (fresh, could be fresco)
  4. fríos (cold) and fritos (fried); both are adjectives so o might be a and s might not be included.
  5. frita (fried, masculine frito is less confusing) and fruta (fruits)
  6. mollejas (gizzards, sweetbreads) and mollete (a soft round white flatbread)
  7. oreja (ear) orejones (dried apricot) oveja (sheep)
  8. picada (minced) and picante (spicy)
  9. piña (pineapple) and piñones (pine nuts)
  10. roja (red) and rosa (pink)
  11. vieiras (scallops) and Viernes (Friday); zamburiñas frequently refer to scallops nominally of the “variegated” type (Chlamys varia) which stumps Google
  12. añejo (aged) and añojo (yearling, e.g. veal)
  13. cocina is usually kitchen (can also mean cuisine) whereas cocida usually means cooked (sometimes boiled); also cocinada is used as cooked.
  14. especiada (spice) especialidad (specialty) espinaca (spinach) espárrago (asparagus) espagueti (spaghetti)

These are more different in spelling but still easy to confuse or misunderstand:

  1. confitado can mean confit (the process, so confited if that were a word), but also candied as a modifier of some other ingredient and then confitura is jam which really isn’t same thing as confit
  2. guisantes (peas) and guisadas (stewed) and guisos/guistoes (stews)
  3. lima (lime) and limón (lemon, but sometimes also lime)
  4. melocotón (peach) and melon (melon) membrillo (quince or quince jelly)
  5. plátano (banana) and plato (dishes)
  6. postre (dessert) and potro (horse)
  7. tarta (cake, sometimes pie) and taza (cup, usually for hot drink, copa for cold drink)
  8. ternera (usually veal, but often can be beef) terrina (terrine, a cooking dish)
  9. tiempo (time) ande tierno (tender)
  10. agridulce (sweet and sour) and aguacate (avocado)
  11. alcachofa (artichoke) and alcaparras (capers)
  12. lomo (generically loin portion of any animal) or lomo (a special cured pork product)
  13. bacon and beicon both are used for ‘bacon’ but lacón is something entirely different (cured ham shoulder)

And here are a bunch of observations that I find interesting in food terminology in Spain’s menus.

  1. bellota rarely means literal ‘acorn’ and usually refers to special pigs fed on acorns and thus rather expensive type of ham
  2. tabla (a serving board/plank/platter) is not the obvious cognate ‘table’ which is actually mesa
  3. bollería can refer to the place (‘bakery’, then on a menu implying something from a bakery) or directly translated as ‘pastries’
  4. bola literally translates as ‘ball’, which makes sense as a term for a ‘scoop’ of ice cream
  5. bodega, in Spain, is not a store so it is a ‘winery’ (or place with wine)
  6. caldo is not the obvious cognate ‘cold’ (which unobviously is frio) but is a ‘broth’ or ‘stock’
  7. cogollos is frequently translated as ‘hearts’ (which is more likely corazón if from an animal) but it may be the ‘center’ (of a leafy vegetable, hence ‘heart’) or ‘buds’ or ‘shoots’ (of a vegetable)
  8. yema most often would refer to the ‘yolk’ of an egg, but it may also mean ‘buds’ or ‘shoots’ (as does cogollo as previously mentioned)
  9. garbardine is not a fabric but means literally ‘overcoat’, i.e. some sort of batter coating
  10. anchovies can be referred to as anchoas or boquerones where usually anchoa is the preserved version and boquerones is the “fresh” one, though both words equally apply as the name of the fish itself
  11. dorado is usually ‘gilt-head bream’ not the adjective golden. It’s not clear if, in Spain, it really is the same fish as mahi-mahi (dolphinfish) which may be the meaning of dorado outside of Spain
  12. empanado usually means breaded (form preceding masculine noun, otherwise empanada) in Spain; whereas empanada is a particular filled pastry elsewhere (and sometimes in Spain as well). It is derived from empanar which can be either ‘to coat in breadcrumbs or pastry’ which adds to the confusion
  13. galleta is often translated as ‘biscuit’ which is confusing to Americans (not Brits) since UK biscuit really is US cookie and galleta is cookie in Spain (not something like the southern US biscuit)
  14. guindilla (usually a specific pepper but used generically as hot pepper) or pimienta (or pimiento) may be any pepper or a specific type of pepper
  15. jijas is a particular mix of meat and spices to be used in making sausage, but it also may be itself cooked and then served, usually as a tapa
  16. jugo and zumo both can be translated as ‘juice’ but zumo is almost always the beverage and jugo is the juice derived from something else via cooking
  17. manillas has numerous translations (handles/hands, feet; trotters) but manos usually means hands but either on menus this usually means ‘pig feet’ (oh yum, almost as good as chicken feet I had in China)
  18. just módena often appears on menus, but it refers to balsamic vinegar which is famously from Modena in Italy and thus this name
  19. paletas translates as ‘shoulder’ or ‘shoulder blade’ (and other things) as does paletilla which probably means paletilla is the diminutive and thus from a smaller animal (say piglet verse mature pig)
  20. pata de mulo is not the unappetizing leg of a mule but instead a particular cheese
  21. perrito is the diminutive of perro (thus small dog or puppy) but appears on some menus (sometimes followed by caliente) as the term for hot dog, I guess a literal reverse translation; OTOH puerro is a leek
  22. pez refers to the animal (fish) vs pescado as the recipe ingredient (fish) and often a section of a carta
  23. boletus (a genus of mushroom-producing fungi) is often on menus rather than setas or champiñones or hongos (less common in Spain than elsewhere); generally setas are more “wild” (like porcini or Chanterelles) and champiñones are more cultivated (like button or cremini); hard to say what you’ll get and you might not like some fungi under a particular name
  24. ternera, usually translated as ‘veal’, may also be any cut from a cow, albeit typically from younger cattle
  25. vegetal can refer to vegetables sides or to the vegetarian dishes
  26. ventresca, nominally the belly portion of a fish and bonito (a specific type of fish) often can be referring to tuna (atún)
  27. de corral (literally of the ‘yard’ or ‘farmyard’) is the Spanish version of the trendy term ‘free range’, usually in reference to chickens
  28. calamares, sepia, chipirones, chopitos, puntillitas, quisquillas all refer to preparations of a squid-like animal with most the difference being size and source of the animal, or sometimes the method of preparation. rabas which is literally tails and most often since as rabo (sometimes with de buey) is ‘oxtail’ can also refer as “rings” of the squid body
  29. chuleta and chuletillas are both (usually) chops (aka ribs) with bone attached. The main difference is chuletillas are (typically) smaller (as implied by being a diminutive of chuleta) and usually in reference to unweaned animals (mostly lamb (lechazo) but might be suckling pig or veal)
  30. sausages go by a variety of names: embutido, salchicha, salchichón; sometimes chorizo is used generically to mean any sausage and worse sometimes morcilla is also used generically as sausage (or with misleading translated as pudding)
  31. the verb guisar (to stew) leads to several different terms for stews or stewed (as a modifier); guisad{a|o} is usually ‘stewed’ whereas guisos or guisotes are ‘stews’, but then estofado (from verb estofar which is also ‘to stew’ ) is also stew/stewed; menestra is sometimes used generically as stew, but it usually implies a vegetable stew and often a particular recipe.
  32. a la brasa (‘grilled’, usually directly over coals), a la parrilla (‘grilled’, usually on a grate over fire), a la plancha (‘grilled’, but on iron plate not directly over fire), ahumado (‘smoked’, not necessarily with cooking at same time), al carbon (cooked over charcoal); parrillada de X often appears and seems to be a serving of ‘grilled’ X (mostly likely vegetables rather than meat)
  33. Have fun figuring out bocadillos, bocaditos, bocados, bocatas and chapatas which are all some variation of “snacks”, usually in the form of sandwiches (usually small) with rolls or loaf bread rather than sliced bread. Just to make things more fun, pepito is a small meat sandwich (whereas pepita is a seed, or in Mexico a pumpkin seed)
  34. And don’t even get me started on the confusion between Spain and Mexico on: torta, tortitas, tostada, tostas and  especially tortilla and as previously mentioned empanada.

So I hope this post (plus the now updated glossary (merged these Palencia derived terms with the previous set) shows how much can be learned (and left as questions) by close examination of a bunch of menus. It may be a pain to do the tedious mechanical work but it all provides a lot of interesting exercises in trying to learn Spanish, specifically in food and Spain context.

 

No Cabecilla Asada for me, thank you

On my virtual trek of the Camino de Santiago I’ve almost made it to Burgos. So I’ve started digging through menus there. In order to find anything useful I need restaurants that have websites with text menus. There are 379 possible (according to Trip Adviser) and I’ve dug through 28 of them so far.

I encountered an item, Cabecilla Asada, that mystified me. Now that I’m writing the post I actually can’t find that item again but I recorded in my notes that cabecilla (asada is easy, i.e. roasted or grilled) translate, via Google Translate, to nipples, knives, nuggets and heads, depending on the context.

So here are a few of the translations:

Spanishdict.com says “cloth padding on one’s head”, Oxford says (with Google Translate of its definition):

Persona que está al frente de un grupo o movimiento, especialmente si es de protesta u oposición contra algo. leader: Person who is in front of a group or movement, especially if it is a protest or opposition against something.

and DLE has various definitions that match. But this isn’t much help. Somehow in doing searches I encountered cabecillas de lechal al horno which finally got me on the right track. lechal (various forms) I’ve encountered before – this is a unweaned young animal usually referring to a pig or lamb. But the search results also turned up a different variant: Cabezas de Cordero Asadas al Horno .

And cabezas is the key here. This is more simply ‘head’. But ‘head of suckling lamb”, you’re kidding, right?

But no once I’d worked the problem this far I found two recetas and photos: here and here. Yep, it’s a lamb’s head split in half and grilled (don’t believe me, follow the links to photos).

I suppose this is some kind of delicacy and maybe I’d eat it if seeing it (the brains in the skull) weren’t obvious what it was, but frankly I think I’ll pass on this. It may be wonderful but I’m just not that fond of unusual animal parts.

And the point of this is that it does help to know even fairly obscure terms used on menus. Without the ability for full conversation, who knows, I might order this. And then be unpleasantly shocked. Others may love this but I’m glad I’ll now have cabecilla in my corpus to warn me away.

Added later:

When I was composing this post I couldn’t find the online menu where I’d gotten a mention of Cabecilla Asada, but now I found it again (here).  This item actually appears twice, in the trailer of several of the pages of this restaurant and on the Especialidades linked page. In one case (for exact same Spanish) Google Translate said (for cabecilla) ‘heads’ and in the trailer mention it says ‘nipples’. And I found the other page (here) where a very similar item, cabecillas de lechal asadas al horno, is mentioned and it translates as ‘knives’. Also interesting in the original Spanish (and translation) is the redundancy of asadas and al horno (either would do).

 

Challenging menu to decode

While I’m continuing to work on the GallinaBlanca diccionario (almost done) I’m getting close to the next town on the Camino so I decided to try to work on another menu from a Logroño restaurant. It’s an interesting website as there are actually three different restaurants, with some common connection:  KABANOVA, PASIÓN POR TI, and LETRAS DE LAUREL. In addition to menus (unfortunately in PDF’s so Google Translate doesn’t work) there are numerous photos of their Especialidades (Specialties), some of which are fairly mystifying exactly what the item is.

I’ve decoded most of the three menus from Kabanova – MENÚ GASTRONÓMICO (Gourmet Menu, an 11 dish tasting menu), MENÚ PASIÓN (???, Pasión is literally passion, but really the name of the common grupo that runs these), and NUESTRO MENÚ DEL MEDIODÍA (Our midday Menu). It’s this midday menu that I’ll discuss in this post. I’ve mentioned menu del Dia before; it’s an economical way to order several courses from a limited menu. While it most often is referred to as  it is often most likely to only be offered at lunchtime (really around 14:30) and on weekdays only, so calling it mediodía actually makes a lot of sense.

Menú para 1 persona DE LUNES A VIERNES Menu for 1 person from Monday to Friday

The menu basically has these five parts:

APERITIVO de la casa. Aperitif of the House
PRIMEROS FIRSTS
SEGUNDOS SECONDS
POSTRES incluye un postre casero DESSERTS include a homemade desert
Incluye 1/3 botella Tinto Reciente DOC Rioja, agua mineral y ración de pan Includes 1/3 fresh bottle of wine DOC Rioja, mineral water and bread ration

Many restaurants will have Entrantes (instead of the Apertivo) on their menu del Dia, but judging from the pictures and other information this establishment is putting its bar forward rather than some small plate.

The first item under PRIMEROS had some fun translation to do:

Menestra fresca de verduritas de Calahorra con su velouté, crispy de alcachofa y polvo de jamón Fresh stew of Calahorra vegetables with its velouté, crispy artichoke and ham powder

I’ve mentioned that literal translation won’t work to decode many items on menus in Spain so we see a few examples of that here: 1) Calahorra doesn’t have an English translation because it’s actually the name of the second largest city in La Rioja which has as its major activity the growing and distribution of prized vegetables so using this term is emphasizing the quality and freshness of the verduritas (vegetables) used; note that  is a diminutive one of the three standard dictionary term verdura; 2) velouté doesn’t translate to English because it’s actually a French cooking term (one of the five “mother” sauces); 3) crispy is interesting since it’s already an English word and not Spanish, I guess they thought this sounded appealing, and, 4) polvo de jamón (ham powder) actually does seem to be what its literal translation implies. I found a number of receta on the Net for this and it’s just ground-up ham after drying in an oven that is used like a seasoning from a shaker. Menestra fresca itself has numerous recipes but basically it’s a stew of multiple vegetables (you can find lots of images of it on the Net).

Another item is interesting:

Ensalada de la Ribera con rulo de queso cabra. Riverside salad with goat cheese curler

Yes, de la Ribera translates to riverside which doesn’t tell you anything.  However, this link gives you a good picture and explanation of this common salad in Basque areas. The lettuce, which looks like romaine, is not and actually is a specialty in this part of Spain, often called COGOLLOS DE TUDELA (buds (really cores) of Tudela (which is a municipality of Navarre). It has is connected to de la Ribera because it is grown surroundings of the Ebro river banks.

This is a curious item:

Nuestro plato de cuchara del día Our dish of spoon of the day

A dish of spoon, sounds odd. Actually I’ve encountered this labeling before and it basically means a dish that would be eaten with a spoon, like a soup but possibly something else than sopa (soup) and so therefore labeled more generally than sopa. IOW, you have no idea, from the menu, what this will be. Since this would be one of the three choices under PRIMEROS you’d really have to discuss this item with your server or just opt for one of the other two choices or take your chances.

So, IOW, to understand and decide which of the three PRIMEROS you’d order requires knowing a lot more about food in Spain than your literal translation dictionary is going to tell you. And again, for me, the challenge is how any app for a smartphone could explain all this (or how the search would work because the exact wording would vary from menu to menu even for the same items).

I’ll wrap up with just a couple more interesting items (and this menu is this restaurant’s shortest one so lots to decode here, as you might not want just the limited choices of menu del Dia.

Bacalao confitado en aceite Arbequina sobre cama de pisto. Cod confit in Arbequina oil on ratatouille bed

Arbequina is another word that has no translation to English. That’s because it is a particular cultivar of olive, that is, you just have to know what it is.

Carrillera de ibérico 36H con manzana, zurracapote y su crujiente. Iberian cheek 36H with apple, mulled and crispy

mulled is an interesting translation of zurracapote which is actually a wine drink (similar to the more familiar Sangria). And, no clue what the 36H means?

Secreto ibérico a la brasa con salsa Teriyaki y piña caramelizada Grilled Iberian secret with Teriyaki sauce and caramelized pineapple

‘secret’ is the literal translation of secreto but what is it – sounds close to what might be called “mystery meat” here. But in fact it is a very expensive ($51/lb) cut (usually from pig and while different at different butchers usually is from the shoulder) that is similar to skirt steak. And I’ve already mentioned you would know that ibérico (Iberian) is the very prized “black” pig. Most likely, given everything else about this restaurant it probably is the de bellota type (essentially free-range and the most expensive pork) but  ibérico alone doesn’t imply that, so again you might want to ask.

There is a lot more to the menu for this restaurant and even more for other two associated restaurants so I recommend this site (scroll down enough to see the images) as one to consider.  Maybe you can figure out what Vieira gallega con sus rabas de bogavante is or GinTonic riojano is or especially oído cocina is (all have pictures in the  Especialidades. And I’m still trying to decide what I think is a lingote de cordero (either ingot or slug of lamb) – is this a cut of the lamb or a quantity indication or a preparation? I couldn’t find that and the photo doesn’t make it clear either.

BTW: This website also has a blog and this post really boosts Logroño as a foodie stop, especially (as I’ve seen mentioned elsewhere) “both in the mythical Laurel Street”. And, interestingly, while backtracking to include this in my post I discovered another blog post which tries to explain oído cocina.

Brief detour into lomo

I’ve been steadily accumulating information and attempting to determine how cuts of meat are named in Spain so those of us meat-eaters from midwest U.S.A. would know what to expect based on a menu. For instance, bistec is often mentioned as ‘steak’, but what kind of steak? How good a steak? Most sources I’ve found indicate bistec is probably a leg cut from an old diary cow – yum! Right! Decades ago when I bicycled in Germany most of the ‘steak’ was from this same source and thus, at best, forgettable, and at worst tough stringy nearly inedible meat.

So cuts matter. What cow it comes from matters. How the cow is fed and finished matters. Especially in looking also at the menu prices whether it is reasonable for what you’re getting. I’ll come back, in a future post, in the weird trend (now spread outside Spain) of eating beef from very old cattle, certainly not something you’d find in U.S.

But then there is lomo.  I saw frequent notice of this, especially in simple menus under the bocadillo section (sandwiches made with roll or French bread, i.e. something roughly like a sub). lomo literally translates to loin which could mean about anything. However one menu had a picture and it was easy to recognize a frequent item here in pig country, a breaded and fried slice of pork loin. So, answer found.

But not quite. I kept seeing other references to lomo that made it sound like a specific type of meat prepared in a specific way (i.e. cured). And sure enough that is probably the more common meaning when just the single word lomo appears on a menu. (lomo de cerdo is, OTOH, definitely the piece of meat we’d just call pork loin, then prepared in a variety of cooking methods).

The more specific item is lomo embuchado, even if mentioned just as lomo or, rarely, as embuchado (as the GallinaBlanca dictionary does). This is, apparently, the pork loin, trimmed of most fat, marinated in a variety of herbs and spices, then stuff into “skin” (presumably sausage casing), smoked and then dry-aged for about four months. Then it is sliced thin and used for tapas or sandwich-type preparations. It can be dry so often it’s drizzled in olive oil.

Another variant ups the bar (and price) a lot: lomo embuchado iberico de bellota. This is the same variant as more often seen with pricey jamón (ham) that is famous in Spain and actually now available (at insane prices, e.g. $1000 for a single ham) in the U.S. The iberico refers to a particular breed of pig and the de bellota refers to that pig eating acorns. Now from various sources it appears the pig is not so much literally fed acorns; instead it is a free-range pig eating, as pigs do, almost everything it can find which includes a lot of acorns in the pastures who it roams. So this lomo variant is unlikely to be in your bocadillo and more likely as an entrante at a fancy restaurant.

So chances are, if you just see just lomo, especially in a context where a bit of sliced cured meat would make sense it will be lomo embuchado. And if you see lomo with other terms it’s probably a preparation of the fresh loin and if it has de X loin of animal X.

It’s that tx- thing again

Yesterday while in a waiting room I was reading a UK article (found in search about names of cuts of meat in Spain) about “old” beef. I thought I recalled the term they used and, yes, I’d attempted to figure out what TXULETÓN DE BUEY was on a menu. My only hit on searches led me to the idea this might be a brand name from a famous meat supplier TXULETA.  I’d previously tracked down Alcachofas de Tudela  (Tudela artichokes) and learned Tudela is just the second largest town in Navarra and near growing areas of artichokes and other vegetables. For instance, a common dish is Cogollos de Tudela which is that same sense of Tudela (as a place) but cogollos was a bit curious given literal definition as shoots or sprouts or buds. But then I noticed in the sense of a leafy vegetable it means ‘heart’. If you Google search for Cogollos de Tudela and look at images it is easy to see what this means – the inner leaves of a head lettuce that looks a lot like romaine (apparently it’s different but well-known in Spain and merely referred to as Tudela). Note: As a menu item it is often served with anchovies and dressed with olive oil.

So the point of all this is one challenge deciphering menus in Spain will be using terms that aren’t going to be in any dictionary (or smartphone app) and aren’t going to have any obvious meaning even if you learn Tudela is a city in Spain and therefore in some sense a Spanish word (proper noun) but unlikely to have any translation. These are just names or perhaps brand names (GallinaBlanca doesn’t mean white hen in a menu item but some product from that company)  that would be known in Spain, and, possibly something you can find with a search for the whole phrase, but basically a bit tricky to figure out. Again, given you had conversational skill in Spanish you could just ask your server but if you don’t have Spanish fluency you need a quick answer (which eventually my app will supply).

So back to TXULETÓN DE BUEY.  buey literally translates as ox but really it has the same basic definition as steer in the U.S., in other word ‘beef’ even though ‘de vaca‘ is less ambiguous term for ‘beef’.  BTW: ‘de res‘ is also found in dictionaries as ‘beef’ but that almost certainly for Mexico not Spain. So far so good. I should have noticed, in other menus, seeing CHULETÓN, including with DE BUEY qualifier. Notice the pattern?

So, duh. This is Navarra, i.e. heavily Basque influenced and euskara which often uses tx- at beginning of words AND, as I more recently learned, is pronounced ch! IOW, TXULETÓN is exactly the same as CHULETÓN, which I’ll get to in my cuts of meat part 2 post, but from this post it’s just a large steak (roughly equivalent to T-bone) often for two people.

So that answers that question but what about the clue I thought I saw that this was just a brand name from TXULETA meat company? In working on my part 2 post I was trying to figure out the difference between chuletón and chuleta (literally chop, cutlet) and bam, the light went on, the Spanish meat company is merely Chop meat company.

So, at least in the northern parts of Spain where multiple non-Spanish languages may be in common use and thus on menus deciphering the menu may be a challenging task. And then, as well, the same Spanish word in Spain doesn’t mean the same as it might in Mexico or Argentina so good luck with that part as well.

To get a really good vocabulary (to power a translation app) for Spain is going to have to deal with all this complexity. Thus far I’ve never seen any source that does that, although some cookbooks at least explain some of this. If you’re walking the Camino you’ll have time to absorb all this but if you’re blasting around in a car, crossing Spain in a couple of days, say from Barcelona to Santiago, you’d have some real fun stopping at restaurants where the terminology (or meaning of terms) changes in short distances.

Animals (or meat/carne) and their parts/cuts – part 1

I’ve been wanting to do this post for some time. As I plowed through menus I encountered many names really to meat and the parts or cuts of meat and, well, it was confusing. Big surprise. This is confusing in English as well. I do a lot of grilling and still New York Strip vs strip steak vs sirloin is not clear; T-bone and porterhouse are a fairly subtle difference (though not in price); ribs – sure anyone who is really clear on St. Louis ribs vs spareribs, step forward.

I don’t (yet) have enough data, or enough online sources (since they contradict each other) nor any direct experience in Spain to really nail this down, so simply, I’m doing some guessing. AND, that is a lot to explain, so I’ll start this first part just with some simpler parts, the various names of meats (fortunately carne almost always means “meat” (but not fish or poultry)). pescado (fish) and then mariscos (seafood (or shellfish)) have a ton of issues as well but “cuts” does matter for reading menu items for these as well.

So let’s just start with the typical animals.

buey vs ternera vs de vaca ox vs veal vs cow
cerdo pork (pig as well)
cordero lamb (< 1yr)
cordero lechal or de leche unweaned lamb, 20-30 days old, 5-6.5kg
cochinillo suckling pig

The worst confusion (on menus) is the multiple terms for beef:  de vaca (of cow) is unambiguous and is almost certainly ‘beef’.  ternera is more frequently used that just implying ‘veal’ so exactly what is it – probably best just to say a young cow, not necessarily as young as the animal conventionally known as veal but close. buey which is commonly used literally translates as ox. Now I’ve never eaten anything I’d call ox, but if you define ‘ox’ as a castrated bull, otherwise known as a steer, then that’s a close match for buey, although it may just imply an older cow. I’ll get back to you on txuletón which is fairly unique to Navarra but as best I can figure out a rather interesting animal, a very old cow.

Now cordero is already lamb but apparently many menus go a step further and go for a very young (unweaned) lamb which is also rather small and thus not very economical to produce much of this meat – this is the lechal or de leche qualifier. If you know only a little Spain food terminology you’ll recognize leche from cafe de leche, that is ‘milk’. IOW, these very young lambs (20-30 days old, 5-6.5 kg) are still consuming milk from their mother.  I have yet to see carne de ‘sheep’ (oveja) or mutton (carne ovina) on any menus so it seems, much like U.S. the only meat from this animal comes from poor little defenseless (but, unfortunately, delicious) lambs.

cerdo seems to refer to both pig and pork; puerco is used outside Spain (according to sources, but perhaps it might appear on menus yet to be uncovered).  In part 2 we’ll cover the mystery of lomo which usually is from the pig. And cochinillo (the porcine equvalent of lechal, i.e. suckling pig) has appeared on some menus I’ve found.

Now I’d hoped to do a complete post attempting to explain different cuts (primarily of beef), such as chuleta, chuletón, filete, solomillo, lomo and entrecot (or entrecotte, I’ve seen both) but I still don’t have this clear so I’ll catch that in part 2. But I’ll wrap this up with an easy one and an interesting one:

hamburguesa hamburger

You could probably figure out that item (or category) on a menu yourself, but this one was a bit more fun to track down:

manitas trotters, lit: handyman

Given the literal translation of manitas (handyman) I was left clueless what this might mean on a menu. Then I got a whiff, a hint, a vague reference (don’t even remember the source) of this as ‘trotters’. Now, as I’ve already mentioned I’m no Andrew Zimmern (sorry for misspelling his name before) so ‘trotters’ didn’t help much until I found this reference:

A Pig’s trotter, also known as a pettitoe, is a culinary term used to refer to the feet of pigs.

Oh yeah, seen this on cooking shows, no thanks, never tried one even if they’re delicious. I’ve got a bunch more terms like this, difficult to translate literally and, at least for me, require some guessing. But this is my point. If you like trotters, fine, but you probably don’t want to order them if you don’t. In menus from a relatively small number of restaurants (and all in Navarra) I’ve already encountered some terms that are difficult to translate. So your little paper tour guide or your wonderful voice activated search on your smartphone are probably not going to to cut it for stuff like this.

For that, you’ll need my guide, when I finally get it done.

Stay tuned for part 2 when I try to sort out more animal parts.

 

Homework for you, Dear Reader: cogote. Yes, it will be on the quiz.

 

 

 

Bogging down

I was chugging alone making good progress on mining corpus data from restaurant menus and then I began to run off in a diversion. As I work and find confusing issues in translations I make notes to myself to return and investigate these and attempt to come up with definitive answer.  But what is going to be “definitive” for me when I don’t actually know the language, especially as used in Spain?

Well, I do searches, read comments or analysis or claims other people make, weigh these against each other, determine if the source seems reliable (easier to do in politics where sources are so biased, on a neutral topic like this they may just be wrong without malice). So, probably a couple of examples are needed to make sense of what I’m saying.

Quickly one finds a number of different terms for cuts of meat, primarily beef. Now this isn’t so obvious in English (U.S.) either, e.g. what’s the difference between a New York strip and a strip steak and a sirloin and prime rib? The words themselves are not entirely clear and even finding a butcher’s chart doesn’t totally help. Or what about St. Louis ribs vs baby-backs – I imagine a Spanish speaking person has fun trying to figure out what those are. So I’ve found, at least, between solomillo, entrecot[e], costillas, lomo, chuletón, filete, bistec on menus – what do these mean? lomo not only has the meaning, as cut of meat, of ‘loin’ but also probably more frequently refers to pork than beef, something easy to understand if you visit local cafes in Iowa. The biggest confusion I find (since both seem to come from same place in the animal) is entrecot vs chuletón, where the difference seems to be primarily thickness, but also potentially a quality issue. But my point here is that I haven’t been able to come to a definitive answer by finding sources, especially as I’m dependent on Google Translate to make Spanish language articles readable and so get amusing things like ‘what is the difference between squid and squid’ given I asked for the difference between two words that can each be translated to squid.

So that’s a distraction and a discouragement, not to be able to clearly work this out. A diner in the U.S. would certainly care whether the beef they were getting was sirloin or round or chuck so I would expect the same would apply to Spain. In the few menus that have prices I can fairly safely deduce the “steaks” they’re providing aren’t particularly good, either the cut or the quality. So how does one decide?

Meanwhile I got caught up in a digression about chile peppers. Guindilla pepper appears on many menus, especially as they are common in Basque influenced parts of Spain (where I’m virtually traveling at the moment). These are a specific (not very hot) type of pepper where guindilla also sometimes is a generic reference to peppers as a group (just as pimienta often is even though sometimes it’s a specific type of pepper).

And I found a “dictionary” (truly a dictionary, not a translation dictionary, for Spanish words then with definitions of the word itself entirely in Spanish) and I encountered adobo and abobar. adobar is a verb meaning (Google translation of the dictionary item) ‘To season with spices, juices, herbs, etc., the fish or the meat in crude to give them better flavor or to facilitate their conservation.’ which I suppose is a good definition given the translation of adobar is to pickle or to preserve or to marinate. So adobo (which can be a dish (in Philippines), a sauce, or a marinade) is (fairly clearly from multiple sources) derived word from the verb. But what does it really mean, especially relative to Spain. Here in U.S., where Mexican cuisine heavily influences broadly on cuisine, adobo is something chiptotle peppers are most often packed in but then also something one uses as an additive (more like an ingredient (like Worcester) than a sauce). But does this apply to Spain? Or, more broadly, is the dictionary I found a generic one for Spanish and not necessarily focused on Spain.

This is an issue I’ve encountered in earlier versions of this project and if you don’t think it’s a big issue find out what tortilla is in Spain (compared to what you know it to mean in U.S.) – seriously different.

So since one definition of adobo is that it must be created with chiptotle peppers do these even get used in Spanish cuisine. For those of you who don’t do much cooking peppers are huge mystery here since peppers can have multiple names (do you know ancho and pablano are really the same which pablano being the green/fresh version and ancho is dried version). Well chiptotle is not a type of pepper but instead a preparation, i.e. a smoked and dried jalapeno. So does any of this apply to Spain?

And my answer is, well, I don’t know, after doing multiple searches and reading multiple articles. I get confusing results. It’s not clear that this is a puzzle I can solve and it may require a native Spaniard with strong culinary experience (hey, José Andrés , are you available for a little consulting gig?).

So in trying to resolve these ambiguities I’ve just created more issues and am a bit discouraged whether I can ever solve things like this. But even then, does it matter: for those of us used to peppers used in cooking in U.S., would a clear description of piquillo, padron or guindilla, in words really help anyone trying to decide on something from the menu if you don’t actually know what these peppers taste like and how they complement the dish? Even if I could clearly and unambiguously (say with the Latin species names and good photos plus some culinary definition) “define” these it may not help much in you, Dear Reader, imagining what they taste like and whether you’d like to eat them.

So is this project hopeless (other than getting a rather simple translation glossary, probably knowing anchoas (even though these may be very different in Spain than on the pizza in U.S.) or callos will still be helpful.

Why we need better than literal translation (or more than phones)

If you were in Spain and using a simple dictionary (or your phone, at least with Google Assistant, maybe Siri is smarter (I can’t test it)) you might end up ordering something you really don’t want. Some of you may have followed Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Food, but I almost couldn’t watch that. Some food, which may be terrific, that people eat in other parts of the world grosses me out. That’s why I’d like to know the most accurate (and possibly detailed) translation for menu item.

So I just encountered this one, manitas de cerdo, in the category of cazuelicas (which in itself is a small mystery; hint it’s derived from cazuela) on a menu for restaurant in Puente la Riena (Navarra, right on the Camino). A quick look in the dictionary (or possibly a word you will have learned from my list since it is frequently used) shows cerdo to be pig which we may safely assume means pork even though puerco (a bit easier to guess as a cognate) is also commonly used. Fine. cazuelicas (I’m going to do a longer post on these) are small dishes which then contain the food, basically a small casserole or stew. Fine, sounds, OK, some casserole with pork.

But what about manitas? With just a dictionary (or phone, or in my case Google translate) this comes up as ‘handyman’ (or just ‘handy’ or ‘good with one’s hands’). Huh, what kind of pork preparation is somehow connected to being a handyman?

Well, with a bit more research (if you had the time to do it in a restaurant instead of quickly using my list and its app, when I get it done) you’d find this is pork trotters, as in the feet (even the hooves) of pigs. Oh yum! Andrew Zimmern might like this, an adventurous diner might relish this dining novelty in Spain, even folks from nearby Iowa which is pig raising capital of U.S. would find it familiar, but I’ll pass.

The web version of the menu I’m looking at doesn’t have any pictures so I can’t even use that to exclude choices I don’t want. This worked for me in both Japan and China, as pictures (or plastic food in Japan) was a great clue, but they’re not available in this restaurant in Spain.

Now, of course, if you’re fluent in Spanish (and didn’t have an accent that would make it impossible to be understood in this part of Spain (as some Spanish speakers from Western Hemisphere discover)) you could query the waiter about what this dish is. You wish! And if you got an answer, could you understand it if you have limited conversational Spanish? (For fun with that try understanding the scene (without subtitles) in The Way where Martin Sheen gets explanation of there being no tapas in Navarra, only pintxos which he confuses with pinchos). If you can’t discuss (or know from previous unpleasant experience) you’ll be dependent on reading the menu. Then either being too conservative (like ordering “safe” chistorra instead since I’ve already explained that one in a previous post and you know it’s edible) and then missing some interesting food you would like; or risk getting something that may be inedible for you.

But, just in case you need more persuading, from this same menu of cazuelicas we have callos (no easy guess at this) which translates (via Google) to ‘calluses’ (or ‘lime’ (as in the building material, not the fruit) according to spanishdict.com). Great not much help, neither sounds like anything I’d want to eat. But here’s the deal – like cazuelicas or salmorejo this is just the name of a generic dish (like goulash or succotash or jambalaya, or even paella from Spain you probably know as just paella in English) that has no direct translation to English (although one online dictionary gave a clue, ‘guts’), only a description. According to Wikipedia this is

Callos is a stew common across Spain, and is considered traditional to Madrid. It contains beef tripe and chickpeas , blood sausage and bell peppers. Chorizo sausage may also be used.

Now all I need to know is what the word for tripe is (some say callos, some say tripa, take your pick given callos is now going to be a circular reference (is there callos in my callos); AND how to ask the waiter if this restaurant’s version of callos used tripe (bad but fortunately easy to ask, ¿includio tripa)) or chorizo (good). [And what Nord Americano who has eaten at “Mexican” restaurants in the U.S. doesn’t know what chorizo is BUT is it the same thing in Spain? If you think so, what do you think tortilla is in Spain? I pick huevo, neither wheat or corn, por favor.]

Just in case you want to make callos for yourself (since you’re not in Puente la Reina, Navarra, where this restaurant serves it), here’s a clear online recipe (at least for the Madrid version, perhaps Navarra is different).

[added after initial post: I’m not sure I should add this (versus do a new post) since it’s my usual style of expanding posts until they’re way too long for web attention spans but I’m going to, this time, anyway]

After handling the cazuelicas part of the menu (and writing the post above) I moved on to a much safer category: HAMBURGUESAS Y SANDWICH (I suspect you don’t need the translation for this, but they might have used emparedado (instead of sandwich) just to make this a little more fun).

After just mentioning using pictures on menus to help pick a dish this webpage does that job. But there is still some fun here even on this easier set of choices (don’t do Google translate, just follow along). sencilla does translate (literally) to ‘simple’ (as Google did) and picture A (vs B, the completa burger) is pretty obvious, BUT, what’s that? Is that a beef burger or a chicken filet or even breaded pork tenderloin in A? Maybe you’d think that’s what sencilla would imply (doesn’t appear too) type of burger in the bun, not just absent the toppings. So pictures can be misleading too.  Then we have the fun part of item C, Menú Hamburguesa.  Aren’t we looking at the menú  (no, this is the carta, as in equivalent to a la carte) so menú  in this case (and others) implies either the works (or we might use ‘meal’ (as at McDonalds) or ‘basket’ (at Dairy Queen)). But what about that picture C (vs B) – looks like a lot more goodies piled on the burger than the completa (the bonus, I guess, for ordering the meal).

But a couple more tidbits to notice from this simple menu. What about that ‘reed’ (the literal of caña Google provided). Just the word, refresco, given even with the simplest knowledge of Spanish that o is or and thus a choice sounds better even without its literal translation of ‘soft drink’ (seems the most common translation).  A bit deeper in the list of meanings for caña we get something a bit more appealing:  ‘small glass of beer’, a definition that is usually used in Spain (as noted by spanishdict.com) and might not get you a small draft beer in Columbia. And finally, (without the picture or my handy-dandy guide) you might not find sandwich york y queso  too appealing unless you happen to know that york is just a typical type of ham (aka, cocido (cooked, but also translates to boiled and fired, which could refer to a ham preparation), simple and presumably cheap versus the many other types of ham in Spain which seems to adore ham (jamón)). [A nice article about Spanish ham here]

So even in a fairly tiny and simple menu, with pictures, you might still have some ambiguity on what to order. Me, I’d go with Picture C just because it looks the best.