Chile has a lot of “dichos,” popular sayings that enrich the language. I came across a new one today: “Nació con la marraqueta bajo el brazo” (Born with a hard roll under his/her arm). Excuse me?
This curious expression is used in the same way English speakers would refer to someone being born with a silver spoon in his or her mouth. In other words, they are born into a family without economic concerns.
A marraqueta (mah-rrah-KET-ta-and don’t forget to roll those r’s!) is a favorite type of Chilean bread made from French baguette dough, but with its own very specific shape. It can be divided into 4 parts (which I would call rolls), although for some reason that I’ve never been able to figure out, 1 unit is actually 2 marraquetas and each has 2 parts to it.
Like French bread, marraquetas are crunchy on the outside and very light and airy on the inside. They are often used for sandwiches, such as the very typical ham & cheese sandwich served for breakfast (yes… breakfast).
So what’s the relationship between bread and wealth? I’m speculating, but my guess is that it has to do with bread representing abundance, references to “give us this day our daily bread” and, of course, as good descendents of the bread-loving Spaniards, for many Chileans, bread is a must at every meal, so having that problem resolved at birth is a very good start indeed!