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Perú, its food and its language.



I recently found out that a Peruvian restaurant named "Central" has been crowned as the best in the world. It's incredible to see Peruvian cuisine gaining such recognition on the global stage. Moreover, other Peruvian restaurants have also made it onto the prestigious list of the world's top 50 restaurants. This achievement underscores the importance of food in our culture and language.


Peruvian culinary traditions have become embedded in our everyday speech, giving rise to a set of expressions known as "peruanismos." What's interesting is that many of these expressions have more than one meaning. Here are a few examples:


1. Yuca : This tuber, known for its numerous benefits and nutrients, is often boiled or fried as an accompaniment to various dishes. In Peru, the expression "¡Qué yuca!" or "¡Está muy yuca!" is used to convey that a situation is difficult or complicated. Additionally, yuca is also used to refer to someone's legs.


2. Camote (Sweet Potato): In the expression "¡Te agarré camote!" (I got you sweet potato!), camote refers to someone becoming attached to you.


3. Lenteja (Lentil): Lenteja is used to describe something or someone slow. It can refer to a situation or a person's lack of speed. Note that “lento” means slow.


4. Zanahoria (Carrot): Zanahoria refers to a person who is naive or innocent. The commonly used expression is "¡Qué zanahoria eres!" (You're such a carrot!), derived from the word "sano" meaning healthy.


5. Pollo (Chicken): The expression "¡Qué cabeza de pollo eres!" (You have a chicken head!) is used to describe people who have low tolerance for alcoholic beverages and get dizzy quickly.


6. Lechero (Milkman): Lechero is used to describe someone who is lucky or fortunate.


In addition to these food-related expressions, certain fruits have also found their way into our linguistic repertoire:


1. Piña (Pineapple): Piña is associated with bad luck, indicating that someone is unlucky.


2. Fresa (Strawberry): The expression "De Fresa" (Strawberry-like) is used to describe the location of a place. It can be understood as "head-on" or "straight ahead." With in proper Spanish is “de frente”.


3. Papaya: The expressions "Qué papayita" or "Qué papaya" are used to describe something that is simple or easy to do.


4. Palta (Avocado): Known as guacamole, this fruit often used in salads has taken on the meaning of "shame" or "scared," perhaps because one's face turns green when scared?


Furthermore, certain culinary terms have acquired additional meanings:


1. Causa: Apart from being a delicious dish made with yellow potatoes, "causa" is also used colloquially to mean "friend."


2. '¿Cuál es tu cau cau?': Cau cau is a popular dish made with tripe and potatoes. The phrase '¿Cuál es tu cau cau?' (What is your cau cau?) is used to ask "What is your problem?"


3. Turrón (Nougat): This traditional dessert, often enjoyed in October during the Señor de Los Milagros festivities, is also used to describe someone with bad breath or a strong smell of liquor.


Peruvian expressions related to food reflect the vibrant and creative nature of our culture. They add a flavorful touch to our language and showcase the significance of gastronomy in Peru. Let's celebrate these linguistic gems and continue to cherish and share the richness of Peruvian cuisine with the world.


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