pass through the grate outside the kitchen

bluenikcr

Senior Member
Spanish
Hello, everyone

I'm translating a short story into Spanish, and I'm having a really hard time with the passage I transcribe below:

After that I developed an interest in drains, and would squat before them, poking with a stick at the limp shreds of apple peel and cabbage that had failed to pass through the grate outside the kitchen.

I really don't get the sense of this. Does it mean there was a grate outside the kitchen and the peel couldn't pass through it? If this is the case, it sounds illogical to me... who would throw the rubbish through a grate outside the kitchen instead of in a bin inside it, or in any case in the kitchen sink?

Or does it mean the boy played with the grate in the kitchen sink? If this is the case... why was he squatting?

Thanks in advance! any help will be useful!
 
  • fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    It sounds like there was a storm drain (caño?) on the ground outside the kitchen window. It had a grate (reja) covering it, and he would play with a stick, poking it through the bars of the grate. If this was a house, I agree that it sounds strange, but my guess is that it was a restaurant, and that lots of food would get washed onto the floor and into the drain.

    Hope that helps.
     

    bluenikcr

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thank you very much, fenix!! I believe this was a house... it's not specified, but this man refers to "THE" kitchen, so I guess it's his kitchen and not any other.
    It still sounds strange to me because if he squatted BEFORE the drains, it means they were in a vertical position, right? if they had been on the floor, he would have squatted over them or something like that... please correct me if I'm wrong... I really can't get the picture... :(
     

    fenixpollo

    moderator
    American English
    "Before" just means "facing", not necessarily "in front of" or "over". Either could be implied. It just means that he was looking at the drain.

    A restaurant has a kitchen, which could be called "the kitchen", the same as in a house. Since you say that the setting is a house, I assume that it is an urban house. Perhaps the layout/floor plan of the house allowed for food garbage to end up in the drain; for example, maybe the garbage cans were next to the outdoor drain.
     
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