1. “Let’s get to it, it’s mole de olla.”
(A darle, que es mole de olla)
This phrase is an invitation to get down to work immediately and without excuse; it implies that the work at hand is complicated and will require some time and compromise. Mole de olla isn’t probably the most back-breaking of moles, but it deserves respect, after all…
2. “They’re not enchiladas!”
(¡No son enchiladas!)
This phrase is used to compare the difficulty of your actual duties with the apparent ease behind enchiladas preparation. Enchiladas are a typical dish prepared by submerging tortillas in any kind of salsa and stuffing them with chicken or cheese. “Enchilame otra,” another quirky phrase that would translate as “spice this one up for me,” is derived from the same assumption; it means something like “if it’s so easy, go ahead and do it yourself.”
3. “Only pots know the boiling of their broths.”
(Sólo las ollas saben los hervores de sus caldos)
This is one of those grandma phrases that sound a lot more dramatic than what they actually are. If someone throws this phrase at you, that person’s probably implying you’re being too nosy. Better concentrate on your own business, after all…
4. “Broad beans are cooked everywhere.”
(En todos lados se cuecen habas)
Meaning we all have our share of skeletons in the closet. Shit happens to all of us.
5. “They’re making your tamales out of goat!”
(¡Te están haciendo de chivo los tamales!)
This phrase implies you’re being cheated on! Better do something about it or…
6. “You’re gonna be giving birth to chayotes.”
(Vas a estar pariendo chayotes)
Chayote is a savoury fruit of considerable size that grows from a climbing plant and is covered in thorns… larger than life thorns. Were you able to imagine it?
7. “There goes a nut.”
(Va de nuez)
A play on words that actually means “there it goes again.” Let’s see if this time it “sticks like bubblegum” (es chicle y pega).
8. “You’re the rice in every single mole.”
(Eres el arroz de todos los moles)
Similar to “you appear even in soup” (te apareces hasta en la sopa), this phrase doesn’t have a bad connotation per se, it just implies that people expect to see you, even if you were not invited. Rice is not essential for mole degustation… but it always makes it to the table.
9. “You’re putting too much cream to your tacos.”
(Le echas mucha crema a tus tacos)
Meaning you’re kind of a stuck-up.
10. “Chili, mole, and lard.”
(De chile, de mole y de manteca)
This phrase has both a good and a bad connotation: You’re either praising the variety of options available, or you’re criticising something for its lack of specificity. Some people like to change one of the three ingredients of this phrase to better suit their personal taste.
11. “They’re giving you atole by the finger.”
(Te están dando atole con el dedo)
Meaning someone’s making a fool of you. When people actually care for you, they offer you the whole atole cup… refill included.
12. “So much noise and so few nuts.”
(Mucho ruido y pocas nueces)
This implies you can surely talk the talk but you rarely walk the walk. There is another phrase that has a similar meaning, but with more tortilla in it, the infamous: “I’ll eat that tongue taco” (de lengua me como un taco). And yes, tongue tacos are actually a big thing in Mexico.
13. “What a milanesa you let yourself steaks, I thought you were a blood sausage already.”
(Que milanesas que te dejas bisteces, yo pensé que ya morongas)
Another play on words of the kind Mexicans either love or hate, it actually means something like “long time no see, where have you been lately?” You can learn this carnivorous greeting phrase to impress your Mexican buddies with your slang mastery.
14. “You’re too much rice for such a little chicken.”
(Tú eres mucho arroz para tan poco pollo)
One of those phrases your mom could easily throw at you while you cry on her lap after your recent breakup.
15. “The broth was pricier than the meatballs.”
(Salió más caro el caldo que las albóndigas)
Implying that the cure was worse than the disease.
Note: despite what this phrase actually implies, please spare no expenses on the broth. A good broth is everything!
16. “There’s always some black in the rice.”
(Nunca falta el negrito en el arroz)
This phrase teaches us about the impossibility to reach absolute happiness. It doesn’t matter if you’re having a plate of the most delicious rice around, the possibility to find a negrito (little stones, seeds, splinters and other miscellaneous objects found in rice) is always there… a possibility that could actually break your teeth.
17. “I left the beans in the fire.”
(Dejé los frijoles en la lumbre)
Meaning this rice is already cooked (este arroz ya se coció)… See you next time!