Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jamón A Roll

I don't know much Spanish, to my shame. Living in California, where many of the towns and streets - not to mention the state itself - are named in Spanish, I should know more than I do. There are also many Spanish-speaking people in my town - it would be fun to be able to speak to them in their own language. I learned French as a child and have continued with that but Spanish would make more sense for my life now.

Many years ago, I worked at a dorm at Stanford University where the maintenance man was a Mexican gentleman named Juan. He was a nice guy and we had good talks about his life and his family in Mexico. He also taught me a few words of Spanish when we had time. I learned to say, "I'm learning to ride horses," (because I was) and "There's a mushroom growing in the hall carpet," (because there was), still the only two full sentences I know. He saved me from saying, "Tengo caliente," which in Mexican Spanish means "I'm turned on," when what I really meant was "Tengo calor," referring to the weather rather than to my sexual readiness.

I moved away after a couple of years in California and returned twenty-some years later no wiser about Spanish than I had been when I left. Rochester, NY isn't exactly diverse. It's not much of an excuse, however, since I've been back for nearly fifteen years and I still know just a few words of Spanish.

One of the reasons I'd like a bit more Spanish is the food truck. Next to the gas station where I fill up once every other month (I don't drive a lot now that I'm retired), at noon there is a food truck that serves Mexican food. When I am by myself, it often makes me lunch or dinner.

The guy inside has a big smile, and it gets wider when I try to pronounce Spanish words. Jamón, for example, is pronounced hah-mon, not jah-mon. I learned that just last week when I stopped for a sandwich. I knew the word meant ham, but didn't realize that it is pronounced very much like the English word, "ham." When I ordered Torta de Jamón, I thought I was getting a sort of quiche with ham but it turned out to be a ham sammie, albeit with Mexican flavors and made on a soft roll. It took quite some time for the smiling guy to produce my ham sandwich, richly striped by his grill and loaded with lettuce, tomato, avocado, onion and jalapeño peppers, not to mention the jamón. It was a meal for two of me or one hard-working person, complete with chips and salsa in the paper bag.

I'm learning Spanish one word at a time.

Jamón = ham.

Torta = Sandwich.

Gracias = "Thank you for teaching me two new words in Spanish and for a delicious ham sandwich."



Blogger Greg said...

In any language that is a good looking sandwich.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

Ja ja ja!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Avocado - aguacate
pepper- Pimienta
Bread - Pan
Buena Comida!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, it was ginormous - I could only finish half.

Cookiecrumb, I knew you'd get it.

Nancy, so funny that "avocado," which sounds so Spanish, is not the correct word for my favorite fruit. Thanks for the lesson!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011  
Blogger Pink Granite said...

Google Translate is your new friend!
Traductor Google es tu nuevo amigo!
- Lee

Wednesday, September 07, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Pink, I know, but I'd have to access that on my "smart" phone to have it help me at the food truck - and I usually forget to bring the phone with me!

Thursday, September 08, 2011  

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