Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What the heck is "Una rama de apio" ???

So the more I listen and and the more they talk....the more I realized I absolutely stink at spanish......Crap!! Apprehension just doesn't come as quickly as I would like.

So I leave this morning with 3 folded bolsas (plaid plastic woven bags), 200 pesos in my pocket (22 bucks) and a list from Irma -housekeeper and daughter of Juana the cook- as to what I need to buy for Enchilada Verde and Sopa de Pollo -our next two comidas (Afternoon main meal). All in spanish of course and as I understand many of the things on the list, there are about four or five that I didn't. My first stop is to the amazingly cramped yet has everything...."Verduras y Frutas Tienda" (Vegetable and Fruit shop)which is no bigger than a garden shed. It's about a 15 minute walk through narrow cobble stone streets through our beautiful colonial town.(I love saying OUR!!!)

Irma showed me the ropes last week and today I was ready to venture out on my own to pick up all the necessary ingredients. So I arrive to this bustling little tienda on Calle Insurgentes, know the drill of dropping my bags on top of what ever box of veggies is unoccupied and start reaching over all the other mamas who are doing their daily comida shopping too.
  1. 10 chiles serranos- easy
  2. 1/2 kilo of tomatillos- easy
  3. 2 cebollas (onion) guessed right.....
  4. UNA RAMA DE APIO.....what the heck was that? Such a long name? I just stood there as a few senoras reached over me, gently prodding me out of the way while I contemplated this phrase.....hmmmmmmm. 
  5. Cilantro- I know that is the same word in english. 
The next veggies were: Calabaza, Zanahoria and Ejotes... hmmm not sure what those are either. As I lean over to an unsuspecting customer who couldn't have been more than 5' with gray-black hair pulled in a bun, brown, wrinkled face, carefully yet quickly hand inspecting her choice of guavas and dropping them into her plastic bag....I asked, "Perdon Senora, Por Favor. Que es Una Rama de Apio?" as I point to the phrase on my crumpled, torn shopping list. She nods and points to the back corner middle bin which is full of celery. "Gracias!" And as I try to squeeze my way behind bottoms and between the center counter, I politely reach the celery yet cannot grasp it.  The joven (youth) who works there grabs the celery and then he did something odd....He broke off just one stalk and handed it to me, smiled then put the rest of it back in the bin and continued with his work.

It finally occurred to me that UNA RAMA must mean "one stalk" or something like that. ("One branch" is the literal translation). I was delighted at the fact that I didn't have to buy the whole stinking thing!! How practical!! How clever and smart!!  This is SO FUN!!! That is the kind of stuff that just tickles me and why I love being in a foreign place.... Come to find out, you can buy as little or as much of anything you need. A sprig of cilantro, a dash of cinnamon, one fork- I left the tienda with a full bag of veggies and fruit...Content with my purchase of veggies and ripe fruits for 38 pesos ( $3 US dollars) I continued onto the pollo (chicken) tienda, the queso (cheese) store and stopped to buy 10 rustic forged hooks for the bedrooms.  Finally, I took a taxi home for my bags were heavy, laden with goodies and I was hungry! And by the way...the Enchiladas Verdes Juana cooked were out of this WORLD!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. We miss you all but it is so fun to read your updates. Hugs to Will from Teo and Miles! - The Quales