Friday, November 28, 2014

I Don't Know What To Say, The Monkey Won't Do

Our friend Miguel, from Sevilla, (click here if you don't know him) was in town this week and we had the pleasure of spending some time together. He arrived with gifts for Christmas, among which was a box filled with traditional pastries. The nuns at the convents bake these delicious pastries for Christmas every year.

You may have noticed that I said there "was" a box. Well, there still is a box; it's just no longer filled with pastries. It's a mystery what happened to them. San Geraldo only had one (really and truly).

MYSTERIOUSLY EMPTY NOW...

I have a problem with the Spanish word for nuns. It's easy to say, but I seem to have a mental block. I remember telling Miguel a while back about a "nona" in our neighborhood. Miguel's eyebrows went a little crooked. He had no idea what I was talking about. So, I clarified with "una hermana de la iglesia" (a sister of the church).

Miguel laughed and said, "Monja." (which sounds a bit like MOAN-ha)

So, here I am two years later telling Miguel how much I always love the Christmas goodies baked by the "monas."

And there again went Miguel's eyebrows.

I speak (somewhat) Castilian Spanish, which is the standard for much of the country.

— In Castilian Spanish, "mono" is monkey.

In Catalonia (northeastern Spain), Catalan Spanish is common and the co-official language of the region.

— In Catalan Spanish, "mona" is monkey.

No offense intended to the monjas. I'm so pleased Miguel finds me entertaining.

I then learned from Miguel all about "mona de pascua" (Easter cake), adorned with whole eggs. (Click here if you're interested in learning more about that tradition. Once there, click on the words "See the full transcript.")

FROM THE WEB: AN EXAMPLE OF MONA DE PASCUA.

Speaking of Eggs
Our visiting neighbors, Jean and Ray, bought a dozen eggs in the supermarket the other day. Jean wanted to cook up a traditional English breakfast to include bacon and fried eggs. She cracked the first egg over the bowl this morning. To her shock, it was hard-boiled.

So, Jean grabbed another egg. But it was also hard-boiled. It wasn't until she tried the sixth egg that she realized the entire carton was filled with hard-boiled eggs. (I would have been more surprised if that hadn't been the case.)

Anyway, it's something we noticed while living in Sevilla (but San Geraldo has since forgotten). You can buy cartons of pre-boiled eggs in the supermarket. Now that's my idea of cooking. (Too bad you still have to remove the shells.)


And back to the monkey...

20 comments:

  1. I think I may have an idea where the other dozen cookies went! I hope they were as good as they looked.

    I was just thinking of how lost I would be in a 'non-English-speaking' country! There would be a lot of 'eyebrow raising'!!
    What a good idea to have the eggs already boiled!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jim:
      Jerry later told me he ate FIVE... which could actually have been 7, knowing Jerry... But that still left another THREE dozen to me.

      Delete
  2. I think you should confess you ate them all by yourself, please do not blame the cats they do not like pastries. To make things simple for you Nona in Italian is Grandmother.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurent:
      Well, since San Geraldo DID admit to 5 and our two neighbors had one a piece, I don't have to confess to them ALL... Thanks for mentioning Grandma!

      Delete
  3. Your language story reminds me of a friend who was visiting some Discalced Carmelite nuns in Spain back in the 1970s. Instead of calling them "hermanas" -- sisters -- he kept addressing them as "hermosas" -- beauties. When he realized what he had been saying he apologized, but the prioress just laughed and said it was nice the hear because no one had ever called them beauties before.

    Actually, since they were cloistered nuns, it would have been more appropriate to address them all as "madres" -- mothers -- out of respect for their solemn vows.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Change of plan for Jean to a traditional English breakfast of a boiled egg and soldiers, or lady fingers. Hmm, wonder if that will send you to google or asking English friends.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew
      I'm familiar with all those terms, believe it or not. I think Jean tossed the eggs, not knowing when they were cooked.

      Delete
  5. wow this food look so delicious. The Easter cake is masterpiece I have never seen it before. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gosia:
      The boxed goods are wonderful. As for a cake adorned with hard-boiled eggs... I'm not so sure.

      Delete
  6. Perhaps those crafty nuns took them back to resell them?

    ReplyDelete
  7. This reminded me of the Easter bread my grandmother made. They also had hard boiled eggs sticking out of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      I can't imagine enjoying that bread. If I have to peal the shell from an egg while eating a cake... that's cooking!

      Delete
  8. Keep up the mispronunciations and the monkeys will stop baking pastries!

    Yes, I will be going to hell for that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob:
      Warm up a seat for me. I'll see you there!

      Delete
  9. Love hard-boiled eggs and to have them already boiled ~~ double YAY!!

    I am so impressed with your ability to learn another language. I would certainly try but having a fine tuned ear to certain words would be lost. I just know it.

    Ron

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ron:
      Having those hard-boiled eggs already peeled would be even better!

      Delete
  10. I'm amazed you can buy pre-boiled eggs at the supermarket! And that big egg-ring bread looks pretty amazing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knatolee:
      I was also surprised by those hard-boiled eggs, but obviously not as surprised as Jean. I'm curious to try mona de pascua -- but someone will have to peel those eggs for me if they're going to be part of the experience.

      Delete

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