25 November 2009

Don't get snoody!

I am finding it a bit hard to get into the Thanksgiving Holiday mood. Tomorrow is just another work day for me and since my wife Gina has English classes after work on Tuesday and Thursday evenings , I will be coming home to an empty house. I will probably end up having turkey hot dogs with all the trimmings like mustard, ketchup, pickle relish, and chopped onion. Mmmmm...good! I am still very thankful though. Our Lord has been very kind to me and my family and my hope and prayer is that others less fortunate than we are can receive the same blessings that we have received. Besides, my hot dogs will probably be much better than the cold rations that some our servicemen and women will be eating and if I could, I would trade places with them so that they could have Thanksgiving dinner with their families.

Speaking of turkeys, I was thinking about them today and about how ugly they really look. Have you ever studied one up close? They sure taste a lot better than they look. The head is the ugliest part. On the top of the head is a rough red cap called a "caruncle" (not carbuncle). Under the turkey's beak there is a lot of loose red skin called a "wattle". The weirdest part, however, is the long worm-like appendage that hangs down over the turkey's beak from the forehead. It is called a "snood" in English. A snood is also a hairnet that women who worked in the factories in World War II liked to wear on the back of their heads to protect their hair from getting tangled in machinery. I think the look is even coming back in style these days. If you think about it, a turkey snood and a hairnet snood have a similar shape. The difference is that the snood of a turkey hangs down in front and the hairnet snood that women wear hangs down in back. You can compare the two in the pictures below.

In Mexico, the snood of a turkey is called a "moco". The word "moco" is also used to describe "mucous" or "snot". If you study it closely the turkey snood does look a bit like snot hanging down. Phlegm is called "moco mojado" and a booger is called "moco seco". If your friend says to you ""Límpiate el moco" it means to wipe the snot away from your nose. The doctor might ask you, "¿Tienes tos seca o con moco?" or in other words "Do you have a dry cough or with phlegm?". To pick one's nose (in case you wanted to know) is "sacarse un moco". The phrase "llorando a moco tendido" means "to cry one's eyes out" as in "Me puse a llorar a moco tendido" (I began to cry uncontrollably). I think you get the idea.

I have coined my own phrase involving the word "moco". When I first came to Mexico to help companies obtain their railroad industry quality assurance certifications, I was stressing the need for objective evidence to insure that the work was being done properly. I wanted to see the original work orders and inspection reports that were filled in by the workers and signed off by the inspectors and I wanted the "moco papers" to be included in the office files. I wouldn't approve of any work that was done until I could see the "moco papers". What is a moco paper? It is a work order or inspection report that goes out to the job site to document the work and stays with the job as long as it takes. In the meantime it is handled by many people and receives coffee stains, finger prints, cigarette burns, blood smears, sweat stains, wrinkles, ink smudges from rain drops, moco (yuck!), and enough other wear and tear that you can be certain that it is objective evidence of the work being done. It is a lot more credible than a file cabinet full of lily white forms filled out identically in girlie cursive by the secretary and smelling of her favorite perfume. You can't fake a moco paper no matter how you try. It is the genuine article. It always tells the truth. It is were the wheels meet the rails. I just love moco papers!

Well, that's enough moco for now. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and please remember me in your prayers. I will do the same for all of you.


GlorV1 said...

Oh my goodness. Now I will be eating turkey tomorrow and thinking of that snot. hehehe. Oh my goodness. Sorry you have to eat hot dog. Thanks for the lesson, that turkey will still make a wonderful meal. Snot, snood, gobble gobble, what ever. ::waving::

One Small Voz said...

Wish I could share our turkey dinner with you. I'm grateful to be back in the US for the holiday with family...I suppose that is what's most important.

YayaOrchid said...

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving Day regardless of what you eat Bob! Maybe you can have a turkey for Christmas along with some tamales.

Ekanthapadhikan said...


Tancho said...

Well put some nice hot mustard on that dog, and have a bite for me!
Thanks for all your lessons, I appreciate and am thankful for them!

Unknown said...


You really make me laugh with mocos...lol. I wish you a happy U.S. thanksgiving a wonderful hispanic día de acción de gracias con misa de gallo.



Suzanne said...

Here it is, 6:52 AM and I am laughing out loud, but really I am also very informed now, so thank you Bob!

I was thinking that some chili gueros would go great with those hot dog. Too bad we don't live closer, we'd bring some buns along and have a hot dog together.

Happy thanksgiving to you and Gina, from John and I <3


bordersaside said...

Im sad to hear your eating hot dogs. Im surprised you dont know more Americans where you live. Thats so funny about the moco on the turkey I had no idea thats what its called but it really does make since because it is what it looks like. After so recently being so sick I know all about the tos seca and tos con moco.

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

I hope you enjoyed your turkey hot dog. And I hope that you and Gina had a very Happy Thanksgiving! :D

Bob Mrotek said...

Thank you Gloria, Leah, Yaya, Ekan, Tancho, Alfredo, Suzanne, Amanda, and Leslie!!! As it turns out I didn't have to eat hot dogs after all. My loving wife rushed home with a rotisserie chicken before running off again to her class and when I got home I found a nice warm meal waiting for me and the table set beautifully including a small bottle of wine. Wasn't that nice? I guess that's what love is all about.

Unknown said...


Eso es...mucho amor mi amigo.


1st Mate said...

Who else could I count on to educate me about moco? Now that's one Spanish word I'll never forget.

FYI, I grew up in Corpus Christi, and the year that photo was taken was the year I was born!

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.