Oh, how we laughed. It’d been a long time since any of us had browsed such an inscrutable menu. We worked out most of the items, though we did have a problem with ‘black poplars’ (the bilingual among you, start racking your brains …).
I won’t spoil your fun. Here is a sample of the dishes on offer at a local fish restaurant in Rincón de la Victoria. Read, ponder, and then check your answers.
- Tomatoes rotten
- Muffled prawns
- Iberian prey
- Stewed of sprouts
- Thin shells
- Kinds of anchovy to the lemon
- Black poplars
- Profiteroles (balls of chocolate you refill of scum) – I am NOT making this up.
Right. Stop laughing hysterically and read on.
- Tomate picado. Pues, claro. Picado means ‘chopped up’ but can also mean ‘gone off’, ‘over-ripe’, ‘rotten’. The entry should have simply read: tomato salad.
- Gambas rebozadas. An easyish one if you’re familiar with this popular dish: prawns dipped in a mixture of egg and flour and water or beer and deep-fried. In other words: battered prawns. Rebozar, in a cooking sense, means ‘to coat in batter’. However, the first definition in the RAE is: Cubrir casi todo el rostro con la capa o manto: cover almost all the face with a cloak. So, rebozado also means ‘cloaked’ – or ‘muffled?
- Presa Ibérica. A literal translation of the Spanish does indeed give us Iberian prey. But we wouldn’t say ‘prey’; we would say ‘game’. Or not. A quick look at the translation site www.proz.com tells me that ‘presa’ actually refers to a cut from the frontal shoulder of a pig. So the menu should have read something like this: Presa Ibérica (pork shoulder cuts).
- Coles. Brussel sprouts. Go figure.
- Conchas finas. Very LOL moment in the restaurant on twigging this one. Something of a delicacy here in Málaga, conchas finas are large mollusks that you jazz up with salt and pepper and lemon and slurp down in an oyster-like fashion. Concha means ‘shell’; fina, ‘thin’. How should they appear on the menu? Perhaps like this: Conchas finas (giant clams).
- Boquerones al limon. An obvious one, but I just loved the literal ‘to the lemon’, a clear companion to ‘to the iron’ (a la plancha) and ‘in a seaman-like fashion’ (a la marinera).
- Chopos en su tinta. Geddit??? This one is SURREAL. Chopos, of course, are small squids, so ‘squid in ink’ would have done it. But ‘black poplars’? Ah yes, ink is black and chopos are also a kind of tall skinny tree …
- Profiteroles are profiteroles are profiteroles. But, no, this restaurant thought we might not know and so added what has to be my favourite menu translation ever: ‘you refill of scum’? Well, I don’t think I’ll bother this time. I suppose it comes from ‘relleno’ – filled with (or ‘you refill’, whatever) and, and what? The only thing I can think of is ‘relleno de espuma’ – filled with foam – or, if the chef’s in a bad mood, scum.