We spend a good amount of time either in the kitchen, eating, or both! April 23rd is Spanish Language Day and today we want to introduce some words and phrases you may not know but are bound to use in the kitchen and at the dinner table. Latinx are all over the globe and the number of Spanish speaking countries hits the double digits – not to mention, Spanish is one of the top languages spoken around the world. Latin culture is made up of many subcultures and they differ in various ways, from how we say certain things to the food we cook.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Spanish language assigns a masculine or feminine attribution to most nouns and adjectives, which is why some words that are the same end in –a and/or –o. When the word ends in -a, it’s feminine and when the word ends in -o, it’s masculine. For example, Latina vs Latino. We do like to use the term Latinx when referring to everyone because it is more inclusive – read a little more about it here.
From food to utensils, phrases to questions, read on and grow closer to the Spanish language and our culture!
Common Things You’ll Hear or Say:
Lávate las manos, por favor
Wash your hands, please.
Before cooking and eating, we should always wash our hands. Remember to scrub them with soap for at least 20 seconds!
Poniendo la mesa
Setting the table
It’s only polite to help set the table when the host is cooking. It’s a great way to lend a helping hand and show appreciation.
Bendecir la mesa
Say grace / Bless the food
The majority of the Latinx community is religious and like to take a moment to bless their food before eating to give thanks and pray for those who are less fortunate. It’s a beautiful thing to take a moment to be grateful.
Spanish version of “Bon Appétit.”
This is the main way of telling those around you to enjoy their meal in Spanish. We always say it before digging in!
A buen tiempo
In good time / You’re just in time
This phrase directly translates to “in good time,” but it’s like saying “you’re just in time!” For example, if someone shows up a little late to a dinner but they made it at a decent time, you’d say “a buen tiempo!” to welcome them and let them know to join you because there’s plenty of food to go around.
Cheers! / Good health!
Whenever you raise a glass after a toast, you’d say “¡salud!” to wish them good health and fortune.
¡Qué rica comida! / ¡La comida está rica!
What delicious food! / The food is delicious!
The Latinx community throws it down in the kitchen, so you know we always need to call out how yummy it is!
Me puedes pasar… ?
Can you pass me the…?
Here are some examples:
- Me puedes pasar el sartén, por favor?
Can you pass me the pan, please?
- Me puedes pasar la sal, por favor?
Can you pass me the salt, please?
If you’d like to rephrase, you can also say:
- Alcánzame el sartén, por favor.
Reach the pan for me, please.
- Pasame la sal, por favor.
Pass me the salt, please.
Now that you know a few common phrases, let’s get into our vocab lesson!
Common Utensils & Cooking Tools
The list of items you’ll need is endless, but here are some of the basics:
|el vaso / la taza||cup|
|la copa||glassware ex: wine glass|
|el tenedor||the fork|
|la cuchara||the spoon|
|el cuchillo||the knife|
|la tabla para picar||chopping board|
|el cucharón||ladle / large cooking spoon|
|el sartén / la paila||pan|
|el pelador / la peladora||peeler|
|la taza medidora||measuring cup|
|los guantes de cocina||kitchen mitts/gloves|
Common Cooking Methods
We cook in multiple ways, from frying to baking, here are traditional techniques:
|frito / frita||fried|
|horneado / horneada||baked|
|asado / asada||broiled|
|hervido / hervida||boiled|
|a la parilla||grilled|
|salteado / salteada||sautéed|
|habichuelas rojas||red beans|
|los frijoles negros / habichuleas negras||black beans|
|carne de res||beef|
|carne de cerdo||pork|
|chuletas de cerdo||pork chops|
|picadera||Dominican sampler dish, served as an appetizer|
|mondongo||beef tripe soup|
|sancocho||hearty Dominican soup made up of root veggies, hen, and pork ribs|
|mofongo||mashed green plantain dish|
|pastelon de carne||mashed ripe plantains layered like a lasagna with beef and cheese|
|pollo al horno||baked chicken|
|pollo guisado||chicken stew|
|rabo guisado||oxtail stew|
|tostones||fried (green) plantains|
|arepitas de yuca||yuca fritters|
|maduros||fried sweet (yellow) plantains|
|flan||traditional Dominican dessert, a caramel custard|
|tres leches||three milk cake|
|bizcocho / pastel||cake|
|Salsa picante||hot sauce|
From how to say “recipe” to describing how something tastes, these are the final few words we’d like to translate for you:
|salado / salada||salty|
|amargo / amarga||bitter|
|agrio / agria||sour|
|frío / fría||cold|
|mesa del comedor||dinner table|
|comida / alimento||food|
|delicioso / deliciosa||delicious|
Last, but certainly not least, try out some of these suggestions to continue to learn Spanish:
- Watch Spanish cooking shows and videos with subtitles on YouTube.
- Download a language learning app on your phone! You’ll be surprised at how many words you’ll be able to recognize from this article.
- Shop at local Spanish speaking grocery stores and practice reading the labels.
- Eat at Spanish speaking restaurants, whether Dominican, Mexican, or any other – indulge and learn at the same time!
- Travel to Spanish speaking countries! We can add this to the list of reasons we plan trips.
- Read through our blogs posts – they’re written in English and translated to Spanish! Just click on the Dominican flag icon at the top right of the website.