PEPITO – Of Jokes and Sandwiches

Pepito is the diminutive of Pepe, the most common nickname for the also very common Spanish name of José. Pepito is used in old time jokes involving a precocious boy, full of tricks and smart-alecky comments, such as “Timmy” could be an example of a popular choice in English; below, an example in both Spanish and English:

Chiste de Pepito:
Maestro: Pepito, ¿Qué me puedes decir de la muerte de Cristobal Colón?
Pepito: ¡Qué lo siento mucho, maestro!

A joke with Pepito:
Teacher: Pepito, What can you tell me about the death of Christopher Columbus?
Pepito: That I am awfully sorry, sir!

The word has also been adopted as the name of a sandwich – defined by the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language as a “bocadillo que tiene dentro un filete de carne” – “sandwich bun with a piece of steak inside.”  The original sandwich was first prepared in Spain with grilled veal, and then, several Latin American countries, particularly Mexico and Venezuela, have created their own versions of the classic Pepito.  A crusty bun is an infrangible component of this sandwich, but the type of meat may vary, and it is usually  beef steak in the Mexican version (Click here for a recipe of my Mexican style Pepitos published last year, and pictured at the top of this post).

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