Lost in Translation

It’s difficult to translate recipes. Recently, Jonathan and I were trying to make a recipe that I used to cook a lot while living in DC. It’s an Asian chicken dish that calls for the chicken to be dusted with cornstarch. When we went to the store to buy all the ingredients however, I realized I hadn’t Googled the Spanish translation for cornstarch. But being the resourceful people we are, we went around the flour isle trying to gauge the texture of all the different flour-ish type products (you know how cornstarch has a very particular texture…) After some time, we decided on a product that we thought was the right one. Well, I should also admit by the time we had finished gauging the texture of all the products in the isle, we were hungry and impatient, so that also affected the events that followed. In our hungry haste, we rushed and decided on one product: bicarbonato de sodio. In hindsight, it would have been better to take time to really think about what the label could have meant.

We went home and made the chicken. It turned out terrible. No, worse than terrible – it was inedible. Why? Because the flour-ish type product that I actually bought was baking soda! We had doused our chicken in like 1/4 cup of baking soda. I am so scarred by this experience, I don’t think I’ll ever try to make this dish ever again. The only silver lining is that we now have baking soda in the house in case we need to clean the floor or anything.


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