Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Fat Guy

Common Food Mispronunciations and Misnomers

Recommended Posts

both are pronounced as the former. just take Fawlty Towers as a reference :biggrin:

You're quite right, of course! :laugh:

All things being equal (although this thread clearly illustrates that they ain't), I think I'll keep pronouncing Basil "al-ba'A-ka". :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Caramel.

Care - a - mel.

Three (3) syllables.

NOT "carmuhl"

Actually, the New Oxford American Dictionary says that either pronouncation is correct...

^^^

I must be guilty of mispronounciation with that one then! I always say ka-ra-mel.

Surely we should add paratha here. Though there are many other Indian dishes (from various languages) that get mispronounced, this one is commonly heard because it is a common bread on menus in the West. The "Th" is a hard, aspirated T (tongue touches roof of mouth). Say "T" but then put air behind it. It is not like the th in the English word through. It's not a lispy-sounding th. That sound does not exist in Hindi.

...while the New Oxford Dictionary of English (the U.K. version) says that Jenni's version is correct.

What gets to me is when it's spelled "carmel" -- as in "carmel corn" -- which I see all the time here in the Midwest. Not to mention the equally irritating "corn beef." I understand why those spellings evolved (devolved?), but it still bugs me.

And thank you for the Hindi pronounciation lesson, Jenni.


Edited by Alex (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What, no "ratatouille" (a.k.a. "ra-ta-TOO-ee")?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've had people correct me with "brushetta" as well. very annoying. Although it often tastes as bad as it's being pronounced. :wink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, the New Oxford American Dictionary says that either pronouncation is correct...

-------------------

And thank you for the Hindi pronounciation lesson, Jenni.

Oops. That's pronunciation. Sorry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about Noilly Prat? I've never even attempted pronouncing it since I was pretty sure that with my pidgeon French I'd be wrong in any event. A quick search seems to reveal some disagreement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, to be pedantic, gyro is pronounced hhhyee-roh (like hero, with a y thrown in). But that's really hard to do, so we'll go with yee-roh.

And there are also slight regional variations. The folks at the Greek restaurant here in Lancaster are not shy about telling people how the things on the menu are pronounced.

They tell customers to pronounce it yearr-oh, with a slight roll to the r. They are from the northern part of Greece.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd be happy if all Americans would learn to say "coupon" correctly.

Caramel.

Care - a - mel.

Three (3) syllables.

NOT "carmuhl"

Must admit these, along with "erbs" instead of "Herbs" are the three americanisms in food that really grate on me.

My mother (a French Canadian) and most of the people I grew up around up (not French of any sort) dropped the H when talking about herbs, and I have always thought it might have been a French influence, especially after I came here and heard Aussies pronouncing the T in fillets. In my part of North America, at least, the word is said more like "fil-lays".

The grate can work in both directions! :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fillets = fillets; filets = filays?

Just a suggestion (and naturally for the sake of argument).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very good!

Although I cannot aver that the x in Aloxe and in Freixinet should be pronounced identically; I actually have serious doubts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Botrytis stops me in my tracks. (bot-rye-tiss?)

mille feuille draws a blank. (mill fuel?)

mange tout has always mystified me (mangy touts are people hawking tickets outside football games)

poffertjes is more difficult to pronounce than 'Dutch pancakes'

celeriac always comes out as 'celery-ack'

and I'll never get used to the UK pronunciation of yoghurt, where the 'yog' rhymes with 'jog'. In Australia the 'yo' is pronounced as in 'yo-yo'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bot-rye-tiss sounds right to me.

Meel-foi - as a somewhat ugly approximation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally think it's commendable when English speakers attempt to pronounce food items with their original flavour. For example Spanish Paella with the double "ll" sounding like a "y" or Chorizo with the "z" sounding like a slurred "th". It kinda distinguishes those who really care about the origin of they're eating, the culture behind it and those that don't. These words don't exist in the English language so it's obvious to adopt the native way of saying them.

For me, the peculiar thing is with those French terms that because of the legacy of French culinary tradition we tend to mangle in English. Why say "filay" when we mean fillet? It's a fillet, that's the English word for it. Are we trying to impress the listener when we say it say with with a suave sounding "fi-lay"?

When we cook Italian food I suppose it's acceptable to use arugula and parmigiana, it's gives the impression that what we're cooking has that authentic Italian credo that is so important. But personally I like to use the perfectly good English words for them, rocket and parmesan. I know it's a not a pronunciation issue but it leads me to the one word that really gets my goat: headcheese!! Why oh why is this word in use, Fromage du Tete I can understand but to translate this directly into headcheese seems like a linguistic abortion to me when there is perfectly good English word for it; Brawn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I once ordered "broo-SKEH-tah" only to have the waiter kindly 'correct' me, saying, "Oh, you'd like the broo-SHE-tah?"

That's the worst, isn't it? When they "correct" you, with a superior air? Frankly, I'd resent that, even if I were wrong.

This particular thing happened to me not long ago. Of course, if you actually say "BrooSKEHtah," you get "corrected" a lot. But not usually in so haughty a manner as a few weeks back. The waiter was positively condescending as he stressed, loudly so that people at the next table actually looked over..."It's 'brooSHETTa.' Would you like some 'brooSHETTa'?"

To which I responded, "Oh, do you ever put zooSHEENEE on it? And I think I'll have a glass of SHEE-an-tee with my meal tonight."

But the one that really gets me is the "hal-a-PEE-no." It's such a common ingredient now. Seems like folks could have picked up on the correct pronunciation ages ago.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I know how to pronounce all the words and expressions listed in FG's first post, but I'm a firm adherent of carml, erbs, and kyewpons. I remember thinking growing up that people who said "koopon" were effete whitebread types, likely to refer to pop as "soda."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I remember thinking growing up that people who said "koopon" were effete whitebread types, likely to refer to pop as "soda."

As opposed to us southerners. Who would refer to all pop as "cokes." And even waitresses in the south would ask, "What kind of coke do you want? We've got Pepsi, Root Beer, Sprite and Orange Drank."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.....

For me, the peculiar thing is with those French terms that because of the legacy of French culinary tradition we tend to mangle in English. Why say "filay" when we mean fillet? It's a fillet, that's the English word for it. Are we trying to impress the listener when we say it say with with a suave sounding "fi-lay"?

When we cook Italian food I suppose it's acceptable to use arugula and parmigiana, it's gives the impression that what we're cooking has that authentic Italian credo that is so important. But personally I like to use the perfectly good English words for them, rocket and parmesan. I know it's a not a pronunciation issue but it leads me to the one word that really gets my goat: headcheese!! Why oh why is this word in use, Fromage du Tete I can understand but to translate this directly into headcheese seems like a linguistic abortion to me when there is perfectly good English word for it; Brawn.

Well, personally I always said erbs and fi-lay because who wants to annoy a short, angry french-canadian woman who has access to farming implements when you're stuck in the canadian backwoods?

More seriously, this is probably more about the divergence of the English language on different continents than correct pronunciation. I'm not sure that the use of erbs and fi-lay are always about sounding posh - some of the least posh people I know use those pronunciations in North America. I never hear that pronunciation here. Arugula vs rocket: I think it's about how it came to be introduced into the local language - again, it's rocket here. Headcheese is a perfectly acceptable word, descended no doubt from its German forebear Presskopf - and, yes, it's called brawn here. However, Parmigiana I'll agree with, because parmesan was in use for a long time before parmigiana became vogueish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Erbs, fi-lay and arugula are just the correct pronunciations in the US; it's like toilet/loo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By gulfporter
      Chiles en Nogada are traditionally served only for Mexican Independence Day (16 de Septiembre).  Every household and restaurant have their own version.  In years past we have eaten as many as 12 different versions in the course of the week long celebration.   Certain things about it never change: always poblanos, walnuts, pomegranate seeds and dried fruit (though the types of dried and fresh fruit vary as does the ratio of fruit to meat).  And the cream sauce is always room temperature, never heated.  
       
      Not only is it a tasty dish, it is about the prettiest meal ever put on a plate.  

       
      I have made them at home (but not for several years).   Rick Bayless's recipe is the one I used.  
      http://www.rickbayless.com/recipe/pork-and-fruit-stuffed-chiles-in-white-walnut-sauce/
       
      The history of the dish is one of creating a festive dish on the spur of the moment with limited ingredients. 
      https://www.tripsavvy.com/chiles-en-nogada-1588803
       
       
       
       
    • By Kasia
      My quesadilla
       
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for a dish which meets holiday requirements. It is easy, and it doesn't need sophisticated ingredients or an oven. A frying pan is enough. Quesadilla, the dish in question, is a tortilla with melted cheese. The rest of the ingredients you choose at your discretion. Red beans, pepper, chorizo or fried meat all work brilliantly. I added fried pieces of turkey leg. Thanks to this, my dish could be a holiday dinner.

      Ingredients (for 2 people)
      4 tortillas
      300g of turkey leg
      half a chili pepper
      half an onion
      1 clove of garlic
      2 tablespoons of oil
      200g of tinned sweetcorn
      200g of tinned red beans
      fresh pepper
      200g of mozzarella cheese
      salt and pepper

      Cube the meat. Fry the diced onion, garlic and chili pepper in oil. Add the spiced-up-with-salt-and-pepper meat and fry on a low heat until the meat is soft. Cube the pepper. Drain the sweetcorn and red beans and slice the mozzarella cheese. Put the tortilla into a dry, heated pan. Arrange the meat, sweetcorn and red beans on it. Cover with the slices of the mozzarella cheese and the second tortilla. Fry on a low heat for a while. Turn it and fry a bit more until the cheese has melted. Put it on a plate and cut it into triangles.

      Enjoy your meal!
       
       
       

    • By MelissaH
      I was catching up on my blog reading, and hit a post about icebox cakes. I've only ever made one icebox cake in my life, and it was delicious, using the classic chocolate wafers and whipped cream but flavored with Red Bird peppermint puffs. (I got the recipe from an article about the company that makes the candy.) Anyway, while the blog post itself was interesting, the first comment (at least as I currently see it) caught my attention, because it described a Mexican icebox cake that looked very different to me because it didn't use whipped cream. The commenter called this icebox cake a carlota de limón, and described it as being made from maria cookies, lime juice, and sweetened condensed milk. I adore limes!
       
      So...I can find recipes on line, but has anyone made this cake before? Do you have a tried-and-true recipe that you'd be willing to share? Please?
       
      Thanks!
    • By SNewman004
      Thinking about putting a chorizo burger on the menu. It would most likely be a 50/50 blend of chorizo and ground chuck. I'm thinking this means I can't do a mid rare burger? Anyone have any experience with this?
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×