chicha [noun, colloquial] – the meaty part, the tasty bit
The other day, Alejandro and I were enjoying a rare meal sans enfants. My lovely man had rustled up a pan of yummy spaghetti. (He spent an Erasmus year in Italy and is an amazing pasta chef. Sorry ladies, I saw him first.) I digress, I apologize. Alejandro served me up a huge dollop of spaghetti and went on to serve himself. Then he came back to give me another spoonful, this time of the tasty bit of the sauce, saying the gorgeously succinct “¡Toma chicha!“, for which my best stab at a translation is “Here, have some of the tasty bit of the sauce” (ouch, I know, so fire me).
“Chicha” is a great word, and one that I’d heard before, but it struck me at that moment how wonderfully succinct it is, and how “the tasty bit of the sauce” just doesn’t cut it as a translation. Geekiness got the better of me, and I had to hit the dictionaries to find out how else we can use this word. I found the expression “ni chicha ni limonada” [often pronounced limoná] meaning “neither one thing nor another” or “not worth anything“, which I had heard before, and “de chicha y nabo” [or “de chichinabo“], a new one on me, meaning “crappy/tatty old” (with the same slightly vulgar register as “crappy”), according to Word Reference Online.
“Me compré un coche de chicha y nabo porque no tenía mucho dinero.” (I bought myself a crappy old car because I didn’t have much money.)
Alejandro wants to chime in with the expression “hubo una calma chicha” meaning “it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop” and he tells me the similar phrase “tiene una calma chicha” can be used to describe someone who’s “so laid back they’re horizontal“.
Nice word for language geeks, n’est-ce pas?