Tuesday 1 July 2014

Word for the day

When I thought about what today’s word should be it seemed pretty obvious as, unfortunately, I have a cold. 

Here’s the phrase in Spanish….

estoy constipado (constipada) = I have a cold

There won’t always be a little anecdote attached to the Word of the Day but in this case there most definitely is!

During my year abroad I shared a flat in Spain with a friend from uni. Our landlady was lovely, gregarious, hilarious and, let’s say, larger-than-life character, who loved her food. One day she kindly invited us round for a meal. She had cooked an array of traditional Spanish dishes for us. I forget the starter - soup I think, but remember the main course vividly. It was 'cocido madrileño’. This is a traditional dish, which is like a type of stew. (Cocido means ‘cooked’ and madrileño is the adjective from Madrid). The dish consists of chickpeas, several types of meat, vegetables and potatoes, so you can imagine that it’s pretty filling. Here’s a photo of a typical cocido madrileño and a link to a recipe page.

Cocido recipe

The portions were huge and the meal was accompanied by wine, as I recall. My friend and I were feeling more and more full by the mouthful but wanted to be polite as our landlady had gone to so much trouble and so we ploughed on. By the end we could hardly move but were relieved to have eaten up. Then our hearts sank as our lovely landlady announced that she was off to fetch dessert! While she was in the kitchen we discussed tactics and decided that we would have to have some of the dessert but would only take a small helping. The next moment in came our landlady, proudly bearing a large, deep bowl of what looked like custard with whole biscuits floating on the top. Then we watched in horror as she set the bowl down not in the centre of the table but directly in front of me! She then returned with the same for my flatmate and a third for herself. These were individual portions! 
Somehow we got through it but the ordeal (and, trust me, by now it was most definitely an ordeal) did not end there. Afterwards there was dessert wine, chocolate and turrón (a typical Spanish sweet treat often compared to praline or nougat but actually unlike anything we have in Britain). It was delicious, but all too much.
We thanked our landlady for her hospitality and crawled back to our flat hoping that she hadn’t noticed that we were rather over-faced by it all.

We thought we’d got away with it until 2 days later when we bumped into her on the street. My friend and I both had a winter cold and had blocked sinuses, which I think was rather obvious when we started talking.

“Ahhh, pobrecitas,”(you poor things) she cried, “estáis constipadas.” 

We were horrified, thinking that she believed we were suffering from constipation after the feast at her place and so we vehemently denied it. However much she insisted that we were, indeed, “constipadas” (and she should know as she was actually a nurse) we insisted that we were not and that we were, actually, perfectly fine.

The poor lady must have thought we were idiots and that’s exactly how we felt when we eventually discovered the true meaning of “constipadas”!

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