Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. English translation is below!

El pan salvadoreño en la foto se llama “peperecha”. La peperecha es fácil de identificar por el color rosado que está encima. Adentro, este pan, (que no es muy dulce, igual que la mayoría de panes salvadoreños), tiene jalea de piña mezclada con dulce de panela.

El nombre de este pan me sorprendió la primera vez que lo ví, porque solo sabía el otro significado de la palabra “peperecha” que es “prostituta”.

Como ven, siempre cuando andabamos en público con mi suegra, ella me susurraba mientras señalaba a mujeres que llevaban demasiado maquillaje o usaban faldita muy corta, “Qué pecado. Mira vé como andan esas peperechas”.

Años más tarde cuando encontré un pan en la tienda Latina etiquetado “peperecha”, empezé a reir.

“¡Mira!” le dije a Carlos. “¿Por qué dice ‘peperecha’ en este pan?”
“Porque así se llama”, me dijo.
“¿Por qué llaman a este pan igual que las putas?”

Carlos encogió los hombros en su forma habitual. Él no parecía muy curioso sobre el nombre del pan y actuaba como si fuera normal, pero por muchos años yo preguntaba a otros salvadoreños acerca de la historia detrás del nombre de este pan y nadie sabía.

¡Pero hoy tengo buenas noticias! Encontré la razón porque le llaman “peperechas” a este pan!

[El pan que se llama “peperecha” es] “conocida así por la similitud al maquillaje que muchas de estas ocupan.” –

Por lo tanto, alguien puso el nombre “peperecha” a este pan por el color rojo que trae, igual al maquillaje de una prostituta.

Bueno, ahora sabemos. ¿Quién quiere una peperecha? – (Me refiero al pan.)


The photo is of a Salvadoran bread called “peperecha.” Identifying peperecha is easy because of the pink color on the top of the bread. Inside, this bread, (which like the majority of Salvadoran breads, is not very sweet), is a mixture of pineapple jelly and panela (a type of brown sugar.)

The first time I saw the name of this bread I was surprised, because I only knew the other meaning of the word “peperecha” which is “prostitute.”

You see, whenever we walked in public with my mother-in-law, she would whisper to me while pointing to women wearing too much makeup or wearing short miniskirts, “What sin. Look how these peperechas go about.”

Years later when I found a bread in a Latino market labeled “peperecha” I started to laugh.

“Look!” I said to Carlos. “Why does it say ‘peperecha’ on this bread?”
“Because that’s what it’s called,” he said.
“Why is this bread called the same thing as whores?”

Carlos shrugged in his usual way. He didn’t seem curious about the name of the bread and acted like it was normal, but for many years I asked other Salvadorans about the history behind the name of this bread and nobody knew.

However, today I have good news! I found the reason this bread is called “peperecha!”

[The bread called “peperecha” is] “so called because of the similarity to the makeup they [prostitutes] use.” –

Therefore, someone named this bread “peperecha” for its red color which is like the makeup of a prostitute.

Well, now we know. Who wants a peperecha? – (I refer to the bread.)

9 thoughts on “Peperechas!

  1. Oh yes – peperechas!! My wife had explained to me why the bread is named as it is, and I’d heard her use the word, but I hadn’t caught on to the intensity of the word. From what I’d gathered from the context she’d used the word in, I’d roughly translated it to “cute, a sexy flirt” – not a prostitute. So then comes the day when I’m at a bakery with my wife and an older family friend, and when asked if I wanted a peperecha, I thought I was being cute when I replied “I’ve got one” as I grabbed my wife’s hand!!! My poor wife was soooo embarassed. I was completly oblivious to what I’d really said, and being even a bit more obtuse than the average guy when it comes to social skills and body language, didn’t even pick up on the horror of the older lady that this would be said about anyone she cared about. It wasn’t until several months later that my wife even brought it up and explained what I’d done. I barely remembered the incident as “hmmm, that joke didn’t really get a reaction” – Yes, I did bring flowers to my wife later that day :)

    Maybe it’s just me, but swear words that I know the equilivant of in English just don’t seem to have the same weight in Spanish, words I’d never say in English just roll right off my tongue in Spanish.

    • Oh my gosh, Barrett – this is one of the most hilarious, awkward stories I’ve ever heard! Your poor wife! … and I can’t imagine what the older lady thought, (and then subsequently told everyone she knew. LOL.) … Wow. I hope she forgave you long ago for your mistake.

      As for swear words in Spanish not having the same weight as their equivalents in English — YES! This must be a common phenomenon for language learners. I imagine it’s the other way around too, (that a native Spanish speaker doesn’t feel the weight of English language curses.)

      A good example of this is the music I listen to. I don’t mind a curse word here or there but if a song is full of curse words in English, I’m turned off and just not interested in it… However if a song in Spanish is full of curse words, it doesn’t bother me at all, (and I’m guilty of listening to it while the kids are in the car. At a young age, they didn’t understand it, but now that they’re older, they do. Like me though, it slips right off their backs. It doesn’t shock them, since for the most part, they are native English speakers and Spanish is their second language.)

      My theory on this one is that from a young age, we’re forbidden from saying certain words, (which if you think about it, are just words that we have chosen to believe are insulting or offensive.) … Because the words are taboo, their status is firmly imprinted on our psyches. We realize that these words have the power to hurt others or get us into serious trouble.

      If we learn a curse word as an adult, like we do when we learn a second language, it just doesn’t have the same impact. It would be like telling an adult about the Boogey Man and expecting them to be sincerely frightened.

      That’s my thoughts on this one, Barrett – but it would be a great question for Dr. Grosjean! … Maybe I’ll E-mail him :)

  2. Lol! Pero no parece pan…it looks like some kind of meat product on my mobile. Palabras, palabras — lo rico que es aprender una palabra nueva. Do you know if it’s only specific to El Salvador?

    • LOL, Ezzy – it’s not the greatest photo, and on that Styrofoam tray, it does look a bit meaty. (I would be disgusted but I don’t like peperecha anyway – or at least I’ve never had one fresh enough to give it a fair chance.)

      As for whether the word is specific to El Salvador – as is the case with many words I attribute to El Salvador, it can be heard in other parts of Central America. According to – the word is used also in Guatemala.

  3. I don’t think I’d be able to eat that bread…not because of the name, but for the color. I’m not very adventurous in the food world anyway.
    About words not meaning the same in other languages….YES! I have to be the ‘bad word patrol’ around our house. My husband sits around and doesn’t even flinch when my three year old says “buttcrack” and worse! (obviously learned from his older brother, of course).

  4. lol, si parece un pedaso de carne.

    Peperechas are not my thing either….

    (side, note… tengo nuevo email… explains porque no recibi notifications on my phone)

  5. Hilarious! Didn’t know there was a bread name after those “ladies”. I’m half Salvaforan and my dad never mentioned that bread, is it new?

    • Nope, they’re not new. Peperechas have been around at least since my husband was a kid (he’s in his 30’s now), and probably many generations beyond that :)

      Thanks for commenting. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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