Monday, 27 October 2014

Tales of Caceres: Lost in Translation

By: Mr Robot

When we first approached the Carlos V asador (roasterie, basically) in Plaza Mayor they had the generosity and forethought to offer us a menu in our own language. We rewarded them by running away.

Why do such a mean and heartless thing? Well, there are two reasons really. For one thing we fear a polyglot menu denotes a godawful tourist trap that really doesn't give a stuff if they never see you again. A step, perhaps, towards the lurid-pictures-of-a-fry-up-joint with explanations in more languages (marked with little national flags of course) than there are dishes. Delicious, in short, is a word unlikely to apply.

On a more positive note, there's the joy of being slightly adrift in Foreign. Within reason of course: in Burma we hadn't the faintest idea how to read the script, let alone translate it, so managed either by pointing, or relying on precisely this sort of kindness.

THAT please

But a little knowledge is an entertaining thing and our Spanish is good (bad) enough that we have a fair idea of what we're ordering, but often with a zing of uncertainty.

On our honeymoon in Seville my new wife, desirous of fillet of hake, accidentally ordered "throat of hake", aka gills. She was supremely dignified about it.

On a return visit to Seville I didn't know what "choco" meant on the albondigas. Consequently, instead of meatballs, I got cuttlefishballs. Quite.

Most exciting was a tapas menu in Segovia which prompted, "That's pigs ears isn't it? Or is it eyes? I can never remember. No I'm sure it's ears. Shall we try?" Turned out it was ears, though to be honest eyes may have been a mercy, and while I may never ever order it again, I've rarely anticipated a dish quite so keenly.

Anyway, we felt bad about spurning the Carlos V so went back, insisting on the Spanish menu. And, with the inevitability of Greek gods punishing hubris, utterly failed.

The starter of scrambled eggs, asparagus (again) and jamon was remarkably expensive but I thought, "to hell with it - it must be really amazingly amazing at that price" and ordered it anyway. I may possibly have been drinking.

Completely unrelated, random image

Mrs R chose a much cheaper starter of local sausage. These, I thought, followed by a sharing plate of various roast meats between us. All good.

My revueltos, when it came, was ENORMOUS. Since madame was still waiting on her sausage I begged her to help, which is just as well. The eggs, of course, were meant for two: something I'd totally failed to notice. Mim never had a starter.

My starter? All for me? Really?

The staff had concluded (reasonably enough) that she was having a small main course and (equally reasonably) that the sharing dish of meats - which I'd also failed to notice had the very same sausage as her "starter" - was entirely for the fat bastard sat opposite.

So while Madame made do with three forks of egg and a sausage, I essentially ate for four.

I did my best to fight through roughly eight eggs (plus asparagus, plus ham), a black pudding, a chorizo, a bratwurst-type thing, and four slabs of meat that - due to shame and vino - I will never properly identify. Oh, and a potato.

Surely there must be some mistake

Naturally I failed and did the only thing an Englishman can do in such circumstances: I tried to hide the meat under my cutlery, and left an enormous tip.

"But surely," I sense you thinking, "all this just shows you should get the English menu." Well really, where's the fun in that?

All images (c) PP Gettins

1 comment:

  1. I so agree! Perhaps I mentioned my "shell things" dish in Normandy? An amazing number of little cockle/limpet/odd bits, but so much fun. And I felt very brave. Love your posts--I always laugh.
    Kate in Oregon