Monday, February 23, 2009

comedor popular

community cafe (UK) or community cafe or kitchen (Canada). NOT a soup kitchen comedor infantil - kids cafe, or kids kitchen.

Comedores populares are usually nonprofit or government run, and are generally low cost, rather than free (though there are some that are free). The term soup kitchen implies free, though some may be low cost. Soup kitchens, in the US at least, are rarely if ever run by a government entity. Community cafe's are a whole fabulous movement in the UK.

Community kitchens seem to be more of a Canadian concept and movement. They seem a bit different in that it seems that everyone who eats pays a small amount, but also participates in some way (as opposed to maybe volunteering, maybe not).

In the States there really doesn't seem to be a great equivalent to the comedores. We had one community cafe in Seattle for a while, that used that name and aimed to provide great tasting food to low income folks (and not) at a sliding scale, but low cost. I loved to eat there, it was close to the courts where I interpreted, but last I knew it went under. My vote would be for using and increasing the use of the term and concept community cafe in the US.

I do NOT like the Spanish wikipedia entry for comedores, which claims that it IS equivalent to a soup kitchen and is always a charity project (whereas I would argue soup kitchens are charity, comedores populares are more likely to be solidarity). I also don't love the English wikipedia entry for soup kitchen, which says that they serve at free or low price. I think the general connotation for soup kitchen is free, not low price.

The photo here is from a comedor run by the anti-militarist women's movement the OFP, which makes explicity the links beetween food security and broader forms of physical security.

The city of Bogotá, under Lucho Garzon, the first leftist mayor in years, set up 800, yes 800, new comedores populares. And what do you know, this was all headed up by a human geographer! (Gustavo Montañez)

Thanks to my friend Claire for the UK insights, check out her great blog about her peacemaking work in Colombia.

Does this sense of the terms ring true with your experience? thoughts?

Thursday, February 12, 2009


potluck: comida comunitaria

This is actually my own invention, since gatherings of people where each person is expected to bring a dish of food to be shared among the group don't seem to be as common in Latin America and as far as I know there is not a set term for them. I'd love other suggestions.

from the wikipedia:
Folk etymology has derived the term "potluck" from the Native American custom of potlatch; the word "potluck", however, is actually of English origin. It is a portmanteau word formed from (cooking) pot and lucke. The earliest written citation is from 1592: "That that pure sanguine complexion of yours may never be famisht with pot lucke," Thomas Nashe.[3] As this shows, the original meaning was "food given away to guests", probably derived from "whatever food one is lucky enough to find in the pot", i.e. whatever food happens to be available, especially when offered to a guest. By extension, a more general meaning is "whatever is available in a particular circumstance or at a particular time." The most common usage was within inns, taverns, and staging posts in the United Kingdom from the 16th century onwards. A wealthy traveller might ask what the hosteller had to offer to eat, and be told 'chicken', or 'beef' etc., and choose it. The poorer traveller might have to do with 'pot luck', a stew of whatever was left over from the fare of the last few days or weeks. Having usually been boiled many times over, it was safe enough, and often tasty, though its nutritional value was often low. Accompanied by starchy foods like bread or potatoes, however, the traveller might go to bed well satisfied. This form of eating lasted into the 20th century.

Monday, February 2, 2009

study of court interpreting

I have yet to read this book, but it looks fantastic. She looks at things like how attention is shifted to the court interpreter in proceedings, how the interpreter affects testimony styles and length, the impact of interruptions, and how interpreters deal with passive voice for blame avoidance in Spanish.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


simple: sencillo

yes, you could use simple too, but since one of its most commonly used definitions is also tonto, as well as ordinary and common, I would avoid it as a fairly false cognate. besides, sencillo means unassuming, plain, modest - in ways that simple in Spanish doesn't always.

At the inauguration the star studded quartet played a version of Simple Gifts, one of my favorite songs. You can download it here.