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Fat Guy

Common Food Mispronunciations and Misnomers

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A waiter in an LA restaurant actually put down the gravy boat of jus three nights ago and remarked, "And here's more au jus on the side."

In a French restaurant that might be a faux pas, but in American English "au jus" is thought of as a side sauce, not its literal French meaning.

If you are at a deli and the waitress asked you "would you like jus, with your sandwich?", you would think her an idiot or pretentious. She is going to ask, "would you like au jus, with your sandwich?"

You can buy packets of "au jus" in any supermarket in the U.S., you are not buying a packet labeled "jus".

If a waitress knows enough to ask whether I want something with jus, she'll ask whether I want it 'au jus'; this isn't idiotic or pretentious, it's acknowledging a well-recognized convention.

I haven't seen packets of any substance marked 'au jus' in US supermarkets; where does this happen?

Mass misuse doesn't make something okay. If someone can't wrangle terms in other language, better to stick with what they know; there's nothing so damn special about being multilingual, so attempting it, only to fail, is silly.

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While we're on the topic of superfluous French prepositions, can we talk about the number of times in the Alinea cookbook it says "cook en sous vide"? :wink:

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A waiter in an LA restaurant actually put down the gravy boat of jus three nights ago and remarked, "And here's more au jus on the side."

In a French restaurant that might be a faux pas, but in American English "au jus" is thought of as a side sauce, not its literal French meaning.

If you are at a deli and the waitress asked you "would you like jus, with your sandwich?", you would think her an idiot or pretentious. She is going to ask, "would you like au jus, with your sandwich?"

You can buy packets of "au jus" in any supermarket in the U.S., you are not buying a packet labeled "jus".

If a waitress knows enough to ask whether I want something with jus, she'll ask whether I want it 'au jus'; this isn't idiotic or pretentious, it's acknowledging a well-recognized convention.

I haven't seen packets of any substance marked 'au jus' in US supermarkets; where does this happen?

Mass misuse doesn't make something okay. If someone can't wrangle terms in other language, better to stick with what they know; there's nothing so damn special about being multilingual, so attempting it, only to fail, is silly.

It is not a well recognized convention, the well recognized convention is that "au jus" is a sauce in the U.S. so asking someone if they want the sandwich "with au jus" would be the correct, idiomatic U.S. usage.

You can buy Lawry's, or McCormick's or your store brand (Krogger, Safeway, etc.).

Here is an example from Red Robin. Their prime rib dip comes "with au jus", which is the correct, idiomatic American English usage.

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It is not a well recognized convention, the well recognized convention is that "au jus" is a sauce in the U.S. so asking someone if they want the sandwich "with au jus" would be the correct, idiomatic U.S. usage.

You can buy Lawry's, or McCormick's or your store brand (Krogger, Safeway, etc.).

Here is an example from Red Robin. Their prime rib dip comes "with au jus", which is the correct, idiomatic American English usage.

It is incorrect usage, no matter how common it may be, as documented in Common Errors in English Usage.

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It is not a well recognized convention, the well recognized convention is that "au jus" is a sauce in the U.S. so asking someone if they want the sandwich "with au jus" would be the correct, idiomatic U.S. usage.

You can buy Lawry's, or McCormick's or your store brand (Krogger, Safeway, etc.).

Here is an example from Red Robin. Their prime rib dip comes "with au jus", which is the correct, idiomatic American English usage.

It is incorrect usage, no matter how common it may be, as documented in Common Errors in English Usage.

Exactly right. Linguists have this asinine assumption that if enough people say something incorrectly, it then becomes acceptable (is it Farve or Favre?). This reflects a bigger problem in modern thought, that there are no absolutes. Fortunately this isn't the place for that rant.

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It is not a well recognized convention, the well recognized convention is that "au jus" is a sauce in the U.S. so asking someone if they want the sandwich "with au jus" would be the correct, idiomatic U.S. usage.

You can buy Lawry's, or McCormick's or your store brand (Krogger, Safeway, etc.).

Here is an example from Red Robin. Their prime rib dip comes "with au jus", which is the correct, idiomatic American English usage.

It is incorrect usage, no matter how common it may be, as documented in Common Errors in English Usage.

Exactly right. Linguists have this asinine assumption that if enough people say something incorrectly, it then becomes acceptable (is it Farve or Favre?). This reflects a bigger problem in modern thought, that there are no absolutes. Fortunately this isn't the place for that rant.

While I agree with part of your sentiment, the fact is that language changes because mass usage does eventually alter what is proper. It's why Shakespeare doesn't sound much like what we speak today and how different languages develop in the first place.

EDIT: too many Ss in the bard's name


Edited by BadRabbit (log)

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While I agree with part of your sentiment, the fact is that language changes because mass usage does eventually alter what is proper. It's why Shakespeare doesn't sound much like what we speak today and how different languages develop in the first place.

And that's the way of it, isn't it? One doesn't have much choice in the matter. There are a few words that I used to use all the time to mean what they originally meant that I can no longer use in that context at all. Often, there are other words one can substitute that mean the same thing as the original. But, for a few, there is nothing else that conveys quite the same message.

I feel sadder about the loss of some than others, but there's nothing to be done.

One example (about which I don't feel such sentimental sadness, I should add) is that every time I ask my children if they've seen my "thongs," they blanch, then redden. Keeping in mind that I am a granny "of size," I suppose that mental image is just too much.

When, of course, I'm only asking if anyone has seen my shower flipflops.

:cool:


Edited by Jaymes (log)

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It is not a well recognized convention, the well recognized convention is that "au jus" is a sauce in the U.S. so asking someone if they want the sandwich "with au jus" would be the correct, idiomatic U.S. usage.

You can buy Lawry's, or McCormick's or your store brand (Krogger, Safeway, etc.).

Here is an example from Red Robin. Their prime rib dip comes "with au jus", which is the correct, idiomatic American English usage.

It is incorrect usage, no matter how common it may be, as documented in Common Errors in English Usage.

Language, like food, does not stand still. It evolves and what was once unacceptable becomes acceptable with common usage. If it did not we'd all sound like characters from Beowulf, or the Canterbury Tales, or whatever time period you feel freezing the language is appropriate. To quote Professor Brians, "When you reach the point that nobody seems to agree with your standard of usage any more, you may have simply been left behind." It may not be "nobody" on that "au jus" island yet, but the population is getting thin.

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I've seen "apple pie ala mode with ice cream" on a menu before. :laugh:

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It is not a well recognized convention, the well recognized convention is that "au jus" is a sauce in the U.S. so asking someone if they want the sandwich "with au jus" would be the correct, idiomatic U.S. usage.

You can buy Lawry's, or McCormick's or your store brand (Krogger, Safeway, etc.).

Here is an example from Red Robin. Their prime rib dip comes "with au jus", which is the correct, idiomatic American English usage.

It is incorrect usage, no matter how common it may be, as documented in Common Errors in English Usage.

It is not a well recognized convention, the well recognized convention is that "au jus" is a sauce in the U.S. so asking someone if they want the sandwich "with au jus" would be the correct, idiomatic U.S. usage.

You can buy Lawry's, or McCormick's or your store brand (Krogger, Safeway, etc.).

Here is an example from Red Robin. Their prime rib dip comes "with au jus", which is the correct, idiomatic American English usage.

It is incorrect usage, no matter how common it may be, as documented in Common Errors in English Usage.

Exactly right. Linguists have this asinine assumption that if enough people say something incorrectly, it then becomes acceptable (is it Farve or Favre?). This reflects a bigger problem in modern thought, that there are no absolutes. Fortunately this isn't the place for that rant.

Hell yes and concurred!

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Language, like food, does not stand still. It evolves and what was once unacceptable becomes acceptable with common usage. If it did not we'd all sound like characters from Beowulf, or the Canterbury Tales, or whatever time period you feel freezing the language is appropriate. To quote Professor Brians, "When you reach the point that nobody seems to agree with your standard of usage any more, you may have simply been left behind." It may not be "nobody" on that "au jus" island yet, but the population is getting thin.

But the US is not the only island where 'au jus' crops up (for example, there are entire countries where they speak French correctly), it isn't even your own language you're mucking about with.

There's a substantial difference between trying to freeze a language at a point in time (a few countries have made that effort), and avoiding the perpetration of wilful mistakes. I'm a copyeditor, so I hear the argument you've made all the time; it's as though people believe that no nation exists other than their own. You might argue that with the many idiotic terms that are are tolerated in the culinary world, this is nothing, but if you visit France, and ask for your whatever 'with au jus', and your waiter rolls his or her eyes, are you then going to complain the French are rude and arrogant?

Language shifts, it's natural. But if you know that something is incorrect, it just makes no sense to defend the mistake, you suck it up, and avoid it in the future. I know what I'm talking about, because for a lot of my life, I've been learning one new language or another. Some of my mistakes (e.g. 'snot papir' to mean tissues) have been adopted by friends in a joking way, because they're funny and communicate clearly; most are dinner stories (my confusing the Danish for 'bra' and 'necessity').

Most countries do odd things to culinary terms from other languages, I've heard some beauts in Italy (I once spent most of a day trying to figure out 'peenat batr') and Denmark (Danes use 'grape' to mean 'grapefruit', which makes for some confusion when they travel outside DK); this isn't unique to the US. But regardless of where you are, or whose language you are attempting to use/incorporate into your own, it just makes no sense to run with what you know to be incorrect, then say 'Eeverybody is doing it' (unless you're 14 or so, then you get a pass :wink: ). That's not an argument: It's a really weak excuse for laziness.

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au jus isn't a French word any more, it's an English word with French origins. I think we've all pretty much given up on "paninis" and au jus is about at the same point.

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Saying 'paninis' if you know it's incorrect is ridiculous (what's wrong with the words 'roll' or 'sandwich'?); so is 'with au jus'. There may be no way to get people to get their shit together about these things, but they're incorrect. It all makes me think of Miss Piggy using 'moi'. Absurd.

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au jus isn't a French word any more, it's an English word with French origins. I think we've all pretty much given up on "paninis" and au jus is about at the same point.

It's at times like this I wish you Americans would find another word for the language you use and abuse. "Au jus" is not an English word (or even a word) it's a phrase...

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au jus isn't a French word any more, it's an English word with French origins. I think we've all pretty much given up on "paninis" and au jus is about at the same point.

It's at times like this I wish you Americans would find another word for the language you use and abuse. "Au jus" is not an English word (or even a word) it's a phrase...

Well, to be fair, the tendency to misuse/mispronounce foreign lanaguage terms isn't unique, or even most pronounced in the US, it's prevalent the world over (e.g. upthread, I mentioned the use of the word 'grape' for 'grapefruit' in Denmark; I could also mention 'expresso' pronounced as 'exPRAHso', and heaps of other misuses and mispronunciations... and don't get me started on the things that happen to foreign language terms in Italy). But for better or worse, the American language is still English.

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Saying 'paninis' if you know it's incorrect is ridiculous (what's wrong with the words 'roll' or 'sandwich'?); so is 'with au jus'. There may be no way to get people to get their shit together about these things, but they're incorrect. It all makes me think of Miss Piggy using 'moi'. Absurd.

Panini doesn't mean roll or sandwich, it means a sandwich that's been toasted on a panini press and panini is the most succinct word for it. If I'm going to be ordering at an American restaurant, I'm going to say "give me one chicken panini and two ham paninis". I'm not going to say "give me one chicken panino and two ham panini" because I care more about the other person understanding me than trying to follow the grammar rules of a language that I'm not currently speaking.

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Indeed. 'Panini' is a loan word. Loan words tend to follow the grammatical pattern of the language they've been adopted into.

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Indeed. 'Panini' is a loan word. Loan words tend to follow the grammatical pattern of the language they've been adopted into.

Indeed, hence why "on mange les sushis" in French. Pluralizing "sushi" always makes me cringe, but it is perfectly grammatically correct French!

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Saying 'paninis' if you know it's incorrect is ridiculous (what's wrong with the words 'roll' or 'sandwich'?); so is 'with au jus'. There may be no way to get people to get their shit together about these things, but they're incorrect. It all makes me think of Miss Piggy using 'moi'. Absurd.

Panini doesn't mean roll or sandwich, it means a sandwich that's been toasted on a panini press and panini is the most succinct word for it. If I'm going to be ordering at an American restaurant, I'm going to say "give me one chicken panini and two ham paninis". I'm not going to say "give me one chicken panino and two ham panini" because I care more about the other person understanding me than trying to follow the grammar rules of a language that I'm not currently speaking.

That's a 'toast'! (as I said, other nations muck about with foreign terms, too) :raz:

In Italian, a panino is a roll. The word is also used to describe a sandwich made with a roll. Not toasted.

If someone doesn't care what a word actually means, why even use it?

The things called 'paninis' in the US seldom resemple what you'd get in Italy, why not call it a toasted sandwich? Seriously, this makes no sense, unless it's just a question of thinking it sounds fancier if a foreign languge is used. Which is pretty silly.

Indeed. 'Panini' is a loan word. Loan words tend to follow the grammatical pattern of the language they've been adopted into.

Indeed, hence why "on mange les sushis" in French. Pluralizing "sushi" always makes me cringe, but it is perfectly grammatically correct French!

The 's' pronounced, then? I'm a little surprised, since there are French words that sound the same in plural form as they do in the singular, even if they're written differently.

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For better or for worse, the "panini" ship has sailed. When speaking English in the United States, a panini is a toasted sandwich cooked in a press, no matter what it means in Italian. Just as "martini" now means "that which is served in a martini glass", whether or not gin and vermouth are involved.

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For what it's worth, I have seen panino, the proper singular, listed on several menus in the States

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"farm egg".

Seen duck eggs, ostrich eggs, emu eggs, frog eggs, fish eggs, chicken eggs, even pullet eggs, but never a farm egg have I seen. ;)

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"farm egg".

Seen duck eggs, ostrich eggs, emu eggs, frog eggs, fish eggs, chicken eggs, even pullet eggs, but never a farm egg have I seen. ;)

In the south, we have "yard eggs" which are eggs that someone's "yard birds" have produced as opposed to eggs produced on commercial farms.

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Hi Everyone!

I'm mostly a lurker around here, but I've been enjoying this thread so immensely, I couldn't stand it and had to chime in. I'm a total linguistic nerd.

I grew up in Southeast Michigan, where we add an "s" to most words. I might say, "anyways, where does your dad work?" and get a reply "he works at Fords." We shop at Nordstrom's and Kroger's. Now, I'm half Polish (my Mom's side)and so the pierogi question comes up a lot. My Grandma was born in Detroit in 1915. She went to a Catholic school where they spoke Polish in the morning and English in the afternoon (I may have that backwards) but my Mom and her siblings never spoke Polish and though she could pronounce things, she and my Grandfather had pretty much lost the language by the time I was a kid. So I did once ask her, knowing that peirogi is plural, though we always say pierogies, what the singular is in Polish. She shrugged and said she didn't know because nobody ever eats just one. (for the record, it's pierog).

I pronounce it per-oh-gee (with a hard "g"), and so do most of my relatives, but she pronounced it more like pee-ro-gee, with a bit of softer "r" sound. We also say "kuh-ba-sa" whereas she would say "kee-ba-sa" so that follows the general trend of the vowel shift. Actually though, we mostly call it Polish Sausage (probably at least 75% of the time). Side note, my Grandmother's step-mother worked at a hotel in Detroit as a cook and therefore mostly used the English terms for words at home, so that may be why.

O.K., but now for what I want to really lay out: My culturo-linguistico-geographic theory on Pączkis (again, with a superfluous "s" on the end).

I love pączkis (jelly doughnut eaten on Fat Tuesday) because I took Polish dance lessons when I was a kid. The first week of Lent or the week before, someone would bring in pączkis for the class. However, my Mom says it is all marketing and that they never ate them when she was a kid. Don't get me wrong, she didn't grow up eating only American food, but none of her aunts made or bought them.

I've concluded that pączkis are a regional Polish treat. Here is why:

1. My family comes from Southern Poland, not very far east of Krakow.

2. My Grandparents grew up in Southwest Detroit (specifically, the St. Hedwig's Parish--and yes, St. Hedwig's and not Swa. Jadwiga's).

3. Everyone in their neighborhood/Parish was from the same area of Poland. I know this because:

a. I once asked my Grandma why she didn't know anyone from Hamtramck and she said that all of their people lived in Southwest Detroit. When asked why she said probably because people came at different times from different areas to different areas.

b. This makes sense because before WWI Poland was not a country and was divided up and ruled by three different nations.

c. I did a paper on St. Hedwig's in college and there is a story that they ran the first priest assigned there off because they claimed they couldn't understand his Prussian-Polish accent (that is to say, he spoke a Prussian dialect of Polish). Whether this was the reason they didn't like him is anyone's guess, but that's the reason they gave. Ergo, no Prussian Poles in that neighborhood.

4. Hamtramck is what everyone thinks of when they think of Polish people in Detroit, but clearly there were many different Polish neighborhoods.

5. My mother said that nobody in her family ever ate pączkis.

6. My Grandmother's maiden name is Swiatek (pronounced Swy-teck) or Swiątek (pronounced Svyunh-teck, with both the y and the n having a very light sound).

7. Pączki is pronounced Poonch-kee.

8. The vowel "ą" is pronounced differently by pączki-eating Poles than by Poles from Southwest Detroit who come from the Krakow area, or just 30 or 40 miles East of there.

9. Therefore, pączkis are a regional dish. Probably the part of Poland from which the Hamtramck Poles came from.

So sorry that was so long. I don't get to tell my theory often! I've never actually looked into the validity of it though.

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