What is an ‘itacate’?

lunch to go


is another one of those words that characterizes the style of Spanish spoken in Mexico. As it would be expected, it has its origin in náhuatl1, from the word “itacatl” that roughly means handbag, satchel, knapsack, backpack.

It is used to denote a meal to be taken on-the-go, while on a long trip or at work. Farm workers would take with them an “itacate” with what they would eat that day on the fields. It may also be used for meals taken for later consumption, not necessarily on the road.

korean lunch to go

Sometimes the organizers of a trip include in their promotional posters a note stating “Favor de llevar itacate” (Please bring an “itacate” with you), usually because the trip is long or there are few places to eat near the destination, or the schedule doesn’t allow for a lunch stop.

It is also very common to give an “itacate” with leftovers to friends & relatives after a lunch or dinner gathering, right before they leave. It’s worth noting as well that these reunions are rarely over right after the meal, since mexicans are known for enjoying a good “sobremesa”.

Are “itacates” also part of your daily life? What kind of food do you include in yours?

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  1. Language spoken across the aztec empire around the time the first Spaniards arrived

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