Lost in Translation

AKA Three Milk Cake

I am excited about this one. Not because I necessarily think I will knock it out of the park with my wit and humor but because it makes me smile and reflect fondly on the little quirks possessed by the people I care about. Speaking of quirks, I’ve got a lot of them so this post is in no way intended to poke fun. On the contrary, I am charmed by all of those little “off” characteristics about people that make them unique. Someone once called me odd (ahem, you know who you are). This resulted in my ego taking a momentary hit. They then corrected to say, “Not odd…quirky”. At which point, I bowed gracefully at the compliment.

Since this post will be heavy on vocabulary, let’s talk a minute about the word “odd”. The googs tells me synonyms for odd include: peculiar, funny, eccentric, unusual, unconventional, offbeat and outlandish. Yes…I picked the ones I liked but you get the gist.

All of those adjectives – what do they say to me? They say that, if I am lucky enough to be in the company of someone who could be described as “odd”, I am about to have a very good day with not one ounce of boredom.

Where I’d like to start is with my good friend C. We’ll call her C because, quite frankly, it’s my own decision to expose my emotional underbelly to the world. I’m the captain of this crazy ship and I’ll happily go down with it but I try not to assume everyone is ok sans life raft. C is a friend but also a colleague. She lives in a land far far away. Not that far but not Texas or Louisiana…or the United States. I think you’ll figure this out – I can tell you’re a smart one.

We were chatting about her dad’s birthday and she showed me a picture of his cake. It was beautiful, covered with strawberries and icing…so much so, that I couldn’t tell what kind of cake was hidden inside.

Photo Credit: The Famous “C”

See what I mean? Who wants dessert right now?

I asked if it was a cheesecake. “No,” she said. “It’s a 3 milk cake.”


I knew immediately what she meant (and I gather you might as well) but since she asked, “Is that the wording?” I said, “Technically, I think so but we call it what you probably do before you try to translate for me. It’s a tres leches cake?” “Yes hahahahahaha,” she said.

Of course we both laughed. In her earnestness (I looked that one up to be sure. Yes, it’s a word…just not a very good one) to always be clear and her thoughtfulness in translating things from Spanish to English that I might not know, she had translated the name of a cake which pretty much the whole world knows as Tres Leches. I thought it was adorable. It made me love her delightful personality even more.

Sometimes it’s an actual “lost in translation” situation. Sometimes you’re talking to someone who doesn’t speak your language fluently/natively and things just get jumbled and misunderstood. In more formal conversations, you let it slide right? As long as you get the general meaning, who are you to correct someone for trying to talk to you in your native tongue while you’re sitting there…all American…remembering about 1/20th of the Spanish (or whatever) that you took in high school and college? I can say this without flinching because I lived in three foreign countries for a total of seven years and I know just a handful of words in other languages. Embarrassing, I suppose, but it also makes me a very patient person with ANYONE who is trying to learn English. Good on them!

Other times we “lose our words” because we’re thinking faster than our mouths can process. Occasionally, we are misunderstood because we have picked up some vernacular along the way that’s just become ingrained in the way we talk. I’m Texan. I say things without thinking and just assume my audience will get the meaning and not interpret my drawl or “Texanisms” as slow or dim-witted. I have been wrong on this. Trust me. If I recall correctly, I did a whole post many years ago on another site about Texas phrases so I’ll standown on that for now – though I’m tempted.

I would, however, like to introduce you to the best syrup for all your breakfast needs. Ain’t ya momma! That’s right folks, you only THOUGHT it was Aunt Jemima. You have been duped. All this time it’s been Ain’t ya momma(s) syrup. Don’t you feel silly?

[Sidebar: I have included a photo of both versions of Aunt Jemima because I can’t imagine the humiliation of being sued for talking about syrup in my tiny blog. Also, I don’t think they’ve fully switched over to the new logo so we should be good but, better safe than sorry!]

This one is credited to my dear husband who, after being married just five short months might seek an anullment after this. I’m sorry babe…I really am…but I couldn’t resist.

He’s a Louisiana boy, born and raised. With that, comes a whole metric ton of benefits. He’s a fantastic cook, a true gentleman, tough as nails but with the best shoulders for crying that a girl could hope for, and he’s got this great accent that he only brings out every once in a while. I adore the little cajun/creole sayings he’ll thow out from time to time. I’d share them here but they’re mine I say….MINE! You can’t have them! <wink> But also, back off!

Anyhoo, it won’t surprise you to learn that the genesis of this story occurred at breakfast one day. We were discussing our various favorite syrup-required breakfast items. I prefer waffles and/or french toast over pancakes – he does as well. True love. The end. Except, that wasn’t how this conversation ended. We also discussed the finer points of getting the perfect amount of butter into the squares on a waffle and how much syrup should be used (we don’t agree here but you can’t have everything). At one point he said, “And ya gotta have your Ain’t Ya Mamma syrup!” You could almost hear the needle scratch across the record.

Everything stopped.

“Um, what did you say,” I asked with giddy anticipation. You know those moments where you hope against hope that what you heard was, in fact, what you heard. I CAN NOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH I WANTED THIS TO BE TRUE!

“Ain’t ya mama syrup,” he said. “Why, what kind of syrup do you like?”

Do what?

Come again, sugar?

That adorable man has been calling Aunt Jemima syrup Ain’t ya momma for who knows how long and I could not control my laughter. When I say my heart grew three sizes that morning (a-la the Grinch), I am not lying. It was and will be one of the most memorable moments of my life.

There are many more examples of this that are just as charming and hilarious but I want to reiterate that I am not making fun of him (or anyone) AT ALL. In fact, he’s asked me before to tell him if I hear him say a word that’s mispronounced or just wrong and I’m always checking in to make sure that’s ok because, to be honest, I wouldn’t want someone correcting me all the time. That said, am I collecting all of these for, you know, posterity? You bet! He’s good with it, I swear. Or I think? Babe? Hello?

I have a lot of things that I say that are just…wrong. I promise to start writing them down and will do a self-deprecating post very soon but, in the meantime, I’d love to hear your lost in translation stories, words, sayings etc.

And just to reinforce my weirdness…er…quirkiness, here is a random photo of me torturing my dog. Not for any logical reason other than it probably demonstrates how, in my case, quirkiness is not ALWAYS charming.

Hasta la pasta friends!

Tootle-loo kangaroo!

Smell ya later!

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