[#025] Estás al horno

Today I bring you a new expression that I have recently come across in an Argentine advertisement. The product that is being advertised is a “flan“, which is a dessert similar to a custard. And the expression used in this ad is “estar al horno está bueno“. Here’s the video:

This kind of dessert is very common in the River Plate area. You can have it with dulce de leche (remember?), with cream, or with both of them (and that’s called “flan mixto“). Yummy!

So this is the text from the video:

    ¿Vacaciones con tus suegros? ¡Descanso para tu billetera! Estar al horno está bueno. Te lo dice el flan casero Sancor, que ya estuvo ahí, para que vos disfrutes el verdadero sabor casero y mucho más.

And here is a quick translation:

    Going on holiday with your parents-in-law? Your wallet will get a break! “Being in the oven” is good. The home-made flan Sancor tells you so, as it has already been there, so that you can enjoy the real home-made flavour and much more.

Side note: Remember when we talked about the aspiration of the letter “s” on a previous entry? In these four sentences, there are seven instances of that kind of aspiration. Can you spot them?

Alright, but what does “being in the oven” mean then? Well, if we are talking about a cake, for instance, of course it can be literally inside an oven. But in a figurative sense, when someone “está en el horno” or “está al horno“, it means that they are in trouble or have to deal with a difficult situation.

In this particular case, it is assumed that spending your holiday with your partner’s parents can be tough. But the silver lining seems to be that they will be paying for certain things, so you won’t have to spend so much money in the end: your wallet will get a rest. That’s why being in trouble can be good, or “estar al horno ESTÁ BUENO“. And since this product has already been (literally) inside an oven, it can say first-hand that being there is good and, thanks to that, you’ll be savouring a delicious dessert.

These are two pics from the same ad campaign that show other situations where this phrase can be used. Can you guess why someone would “estar en el horno” in such cases?



Apparently, doing the dishes and eating soup have both a bad reputation! But hey, as long as you can eat this flan, it’s alright! Or at least that’s how marketing seems to work.

So next time you are sitting for an exam, paying your bills, or getting late to work, you now know that you can say “¡estoy en el horno!” and feel like a true rioplatófono. 😉


[#005] Dulce de leche

This should be reason enough for you guys to devote all of your free time to learning Rioplatense Spanish. And I’m being serious (and biased). Let me introduce you to… ¡el dulce de leche!

Dulce de leche

It is too bad you can’t taste it on the screen, but if you have a sweet tooth, I’m sure you’ll definitely love dulce de leche. This is sometimes translated as “caramel”, but it is not quite that. This is actually sweetened milk. Just milk and sugar, cooked and stirred for a while until it starts getting darker and the water in the milk gets evaporated. That’s roughly the basic procedure for preparing dulce de leche.

It is worth pointing out, though, that this is not only found in the River Plate area. You can eat dulce de leche all over Argentina, and in other countries too, like Chile and Uruguay. But this is anyway something that rioplatófonos generally eat, so here it is. In terms of popularity, I guess we could say that dulce de leche would be the Argentine equivalent to Nutella in many European countries or North America.

And for those of you who might be wondering how we eat dulce de leche, well, you can always eat it by itself. You just grab a (big) spoon, try a bit, say “that’s enough”, try a bit more, and then keep going until it’s all gone. But there is in fact an infinite range of options and you can add dulce de leche to virtually anything. And this is where I stop writing, because we all know that pictures speak louder than words…

Ok, the first step is done: you already know about dulce de leche. Now you’re supposed to come here, give it a try and fall in love! 🙂 What are you waiting for?