Once more

[Above] My good friend, Juan, having once.

"Is it called 'once' because it's supposed to be eaten at around 11am?" I asked Juan, regarding the suspiciously breakfast-like nature of the evening meal in Chile. Once (pronounced on-sé) means 'eleven' in Spanish.

"No. In Colonial times when the soldiers of the military were guarding for long shifts they used to take breaks to have aguardiente - a really strong alcoholic drink. But they couldn't simply say they're going for a break to drink alcohol, so they used a code." I asked him to spell 'aguardiente' and I wrote it down.

"How many letters is that?" Juan asked me.

Juan continued, "So the guards would say 'I'm going for once, but eventually this started being used to refer to the evening meal - between 5pm and 10pm."

[Aguardiente is the generic name for alcoholic drinks with 29 to 60 percent alcohol. It means "firewater" or, literally, "burning water."]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Related Posts

- Breakfast at once
- Mataderos - Welcome to the Slaughterhouse
- Completo... Completo with food poisoning.
- Every man and his [hot] dog