• 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

294 posts in this topic

For post-graduates: Aloxe-Corton.

a-LO-ss cor-TON. Follows the same rules as Freixenet.

Very good!

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

You're correct, Charles. Freixenet is is a Cava (i.e., Spanish), so the "x" is pronounced as "sh".


Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

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'.

mille feuille - meel fuh-ee, sort of (hard to describe this vowel if you don't speak French or a language with an ö sort of sound)

mange tout - mahnzh too, sort of. the n is not really an n but a nasalisation of the vowel. think "think:" you don't say thin-k. zh is like the s in measure, or as in Brezhnev, or indeed the French j or soft g

poffertjes - not totally sure, but I think based on my understanding of Dutch phonetics that it's close to "pofferches"

celeriac is like celery-ack but with the accent on the LE not the CE, so ceLEriac

As for yogurt or yoghurt, arguably the American pronunciation is closer to the original Turkish yoğurt (yo-urrt). In rural dialects of Turkish and other Turkic languages the ğ is pronounced as a throaty g, similar to a French or German r

Also one mispronounce ALL THE TIME is orgeat. it's "or-zhaa" again with that French soft g/j sound. Hint: it's etymologically related to horchata (or-cha-ta)

I could list a whole slew of frequently butchered Arabic words, but a lot of the consonants in Arabic are really hard to describe. I'll try with one though: Hummus is "Hum-muss," with the H actually said very deep down in the throat (NOT A KH/CH SOUND!!!), otherwise it sounds like English "hum" and the "muss" rhymes with "puss". The end is a hard S, said with the tongue very low in the mouth. And it is a doubled m, just like Italian doubled consonants, hence hum-muss

Finally, I'd like to add the Turkish döner kebap/kebab since it's such a common food worldwide. Döner is NOT pronounced "donner" like the Donner party, or "donor." It's dön as pronounced in German, deune if in French, and dern (sort of) in British English where the R is not pronounced. the -er can range from anything from ér, err like in English, or air, always with the R pronounced either as in English or rolled lightly as in Italian. Kebap (Turkish convention) is Ké-bahp. That simple. It's not kee-bap/bab, as is often said in English.


Edited by Hassouni (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that there is a correct or standard pronunciation but you have to allow for regional variations. And the fact that there is often a UK/US English variation.

My friend who is first generation Italian-American shudders every time someone says ricotta ( re- cot- ta). She always says ree- coat- ta. I had never heard this before I met her.

Growing up people in my town either said barb-be-que or bob-e-q.

Sometimes it's a tomatoe - tomahtoe situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was brought up with fi-lay (steak) and fillet (fish or verb). But mostly I think many people take this stuff way too seriously - not that it's bad to know how words are pronounced in their county of origin.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 don't mind being labelled a pedant, but I use 'parmigiana' when I have a genuine Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano, and I use 'parmesan' when I have a generic supermarket parmesan-style cheese. I don't know if it's a global thing, but locally the term 'parmesan' is used pretty broadly. But even good local delicatessens happily sell imported Grano Padano as 'parmesan', which I find slightly irritating.

I agree, however, that this isn't a pronunciation issue!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nwa-yee Prah (French R again)

I'm pretty sure I read on Noilly Prat's own web site that it's Noilly as in oily, and Prat as in fat.


QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that there is a correct or standard pronunciation but you have to allow for regional variations. And the fact that there is often a UK/US English variation.

Sometimes it's a tomatoe - tomahtoe situation.

Where I grew up in Kentucky, it was with most folks outside of my family, termater and I have heard many variations on this theme throughout the rural south and midwest during my travels.

And an aunt who lived in Baltimore always said taa-maa-to and was considered a bit la-di-dah! :laugh:

A local man, originally from St. Joe, MO, refers to BBQ as Barbie-coo. He works at a BBQ restaurant here in Lancaster.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haha, maybe for the American market...

Possibly, I'm not an expert on the subject... or maybe because it's a brand-name and not a standard word it doesn't have to follow the usual rules. I'm thinking a French company wouldn't intentionally mis-pronounce it's own name on it's own website for the benefit of one specific non-French market. We (myself included, not pointing fingers) here at eGullet often want to make things fancy and fussy when they seem/sound too simple on their own. Somtimes an apple pie is just an apple pie and doesn't need to be a tarte tatin aux pommes.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is Mascarpone not on this list?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is Mascarpone not on this list?

Ah, yes... good ol' "mars-capone". I wonder if it's related to Al?


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"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."

This is one of my pet peeves, too.

The other is calling Chiles Rellenos Chile Rellanos. I once pointed out the mistake to a young person. She got downright snotty about it and declared that that was the way her grandma said it. I think not.

Nearly everyone I know around says these words incorrectly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about scone/skawn? When it seems everyone is saying things wrong, you might as well give up and join 'em, lest "they" make you feel stupid.


Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An English friend of mine who really should know told me "skawn" is the more posh pronunciation.


Charles Milton Ling

Vienna, Austria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I learned scone as "skoon" from my Scots grannie. Skawn is the posh British pronunciation, and it was frowned upon in her kitchen (from whence fabulous scones often emanated).


Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"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."

The one that gets me is pronouncing habanero as though there's a tilde over the "n" when there isn't. This one's to the point where you end up looking dumb if you pronounce it correctly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for pointing out a mistake I have been guilty of making! Now that I understand the derivation as well, it won't happen again.


Charles Milton Ling

Vienna, Austria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was buying boots at Nordstrom's the other day and I requested seeing them in cognac. The salesperson said "oh, you mean the

cog-nack."

A waiter at a wine tasting restaurant served me, with great pomp, a billicart salmon (beyaCAR saMONE)and pronounced it "Billie cart salmon"

Two others that get horribly abused:

Haricot verts

Guacamole

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those who insist on pronouncing "chorizo" with the "z" sounding like the soft spanish "th", please be aware that it is only pronounced that way in Spain, and only in certain parts of spain at that. A non-native speaker using that soft "z" theta sound is amazingly grating to the ear of many native speakers from outside of Spain - and the majority of native speakers are NOT from Spain.

The amount of times I hear "pa - ell - a" instead of "pa - ay - ya" never ceases to amaze me. The English seem particularly prone to this, for some reason.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As this thread is about accuracy with an occasional dash of pedantry (I am referring to myself, of course), I am constrained to state:

haricots verts

Billecart-Salmon


Edited by cmling (log)

Charles Milton Ling

Vienna, Austria

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Meritage......

waiters love to "correct" this one, and, as Wiki puts it, "Frenchify the word"

( from Wikipedia - "Although many people, including many wine experts, have a tendency to Frenchify the word "Meritage" by pronouncing its last syllable with a "zh" sound, as in "garage," the Meritage Alliance specifically states that the word should be pronounced to rhyme with "heritage.")


"There are no mistakes in bread baking, only more bread crumbs"

*Bernard Clayton, Jr.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The French have a ministry to assure that foreign words are Frenchified. A non french food term would not be pronounced according to the language of its home, but rather in a frenchy way.

The consensus of this thread is that they are wrong to do this, no?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Noilly Prat, French orthography rules dictate and Wikipedia says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noilly_Prat) that it's nwa-yee praa.

This is absolutely wrong, it's as Blether pronounces it rhyming with oily cat. Dear old Rick Stein went to where they made it and got it straight from the horses mouth. He'd been using the stuff for decades and had been wondering how to pronounce it for that long too. So he was mightily relieved to find out from the actual head honcho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Hennes
      Over in the Cooking with "Eat Mexico" topic I've posted a about things I've made from Lesley Téllez's recently-published book about street food in Mexico City. I finally had time to go down to "CDMX" (as they are now trying to rebrand themselves) this weekend and went on two of the Eat Mexico food tours. On Friday we went on the street food tour, and on Saturday on the San Juan market tour. The pope was also in town this weekend which made the city crazier than usual and drove the tour selections as we tried to not be where he was, with limited success.
       
      Street Food Tour
      I have limited photos of this one because our hands were usually full! There are ten "normal" stops on the tour plus a couple of optional ones. One of the vendors was closed for the day, but we definitely had no shortage of food. I think the tour lasted something like four hours, and we were basically eating the whole time. Most of it was standing and walking, but we did stop into a local coffee shop and sit down for a short time. Our guide, Arturo, was excellent. He is from the city, has attended culinary school, and is very well versed in both the local street food culture as well as Mexican cuisine overall. 
       
      While the tour was mostly eating, we did walk through one small neighborhood market just to get the feel for the thing, and we stopped at one local tortilleria:


       
      The classic tortilla-delivery vehicle:

       
      We chatted up a local store owner who was making "antojitos" ("little cravings") for breakfast:

       
      Ate some tamales, walked a bit, then had some tlacoyos: here are the condiments...

       
      We also had some fresh juices. They really like their pseudo-medicinal juices.. we had the one that was "anti-flu" (and delicious):

       
      For the tlacoyos I had a huitlacoche and my wife has the chicken tinga. The huitlacoche was disappointingly non-descript. The remedy, of course, was to douse it in salsa, which fixes everything. A few blocks down we had carnitas tacos:
       
       
      And then some mango and watermelon with chile powder:

       
      Arturo tried to ply us with more food at the nearby burreria, but at this point we were on the verge of exploding:

       
      So we stopped for some locally-roasted coffee:

       
      Then on to a burrito place (of all things!) -- the guy running the burrito place was hilarious, and totally frank about stealing the burrito thing from Texas and then "fixing it." He's had the stand for something like 20 years. We split a squash blossom burrito (squash blossoms, onions, salsa, and cheese are the only ingredients, no rice or beans) which he makes on the griddle and then covers in a cheese blend and fries until the cheese browns and crisps. Definitely an improved burrito! Yeah, no photos there. Second to last was an absolutely terrific octopus tostada:

       
      And then a final stop for dessert (which we took back to the hotel rather than eating it there):

       
       
      ETA: A couple more photos. Also, there was a turkey and pork sandwich of some kind that I have no photos of and can't quite remember where it fit into the tour. Just in case you were worried about us starving.


    • By cyalexa
      Salsa Para Enchiladas  
      3 ancho chiles
      2 New Mexico chiles
      2 chipotle chiles
      1 clove garlic, sliced
      2 TB flour
      2 TB vegetable oil
      1 tsp vinegar
      ¾ tsp salt
      ¼ tsp dried oregano
      2 cups broth, stock, or (filtered) chili soaking liquid
      Rinse, stem and seed chiles. Place in saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil. Cover and remove from heat and let soften and cool. While the chiles are cooling, gently sauté garlic slices in oil until they are soft and golden brown. Remove the garlic from the oil, with a slotted spoon and reserve. Make a light roux by adding the flour to the oil and sautéing briefly. Drain the chilies and puree them with the garlic slices and half of the liquid. Strain the puree back into the saucepan. Pour the remainder of the liquid through the sieve to loosen any remaining chili pulp. Add the roux to the saucepan and whisk to blend. Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan, bring to a boil then and simmer 15-20 minutes. Taste and add additional salt and vinegar if necessary.
    • By IowaDee
      The February issue of Sunset Magazine has a great article about the beans of Mexico.  And guess who is featured.....our own Steve Sando.  Nice write up and lots and lots of recipes.  I have been a Sunset subscriber for more than 25 years and I finally :"know" someone in it.  Cool Beans as they say.
       
      I hope someone with more skills than I have can post a link. 
    • By gfron1
      A friend gifted me a book written by someone I know of but only loosely. The acquaintance is a former missionary who has lived in Oaxaca for 15 years and co-authored this book with Susana Trilling (famous Oaxacan cooking instructor). The book is self published and really surprised me with its quality. The whole thesis is saving the indigenous foods of the area and combatting GMO infiltration of the area. Those of you who know the area might know of one of my hero restaurants - the like-minded Itanoni in Oaxaca City - surely they all travel in the same circles.
       
      Recipes are average fare - not fancy - clearly recipes from regular local folk, but very authentic, not fusion. They start with basic fresh masa, run you through all sorts of things including molé  and salads and end up with stuff like yucca and egg tacos. The chapters include: Wild Greens (purslane, amaranth, etc), Beans & Squash, Salsa, Nopal and Maguey, Food and Fiesta, Medicinal uses. About 300 pages in all (so figure 150 in English and 150 in Spanish).
       
      This book is not available through Amazon. It is bilingual. I highly recommend it. 
       
      Side note: Quite frankly these guys are goofs. They don't know how important and well produced this book is and aren't marketing it worth crap. Go buy it. Tell them I sent you. And enjoy this book.
       
      HERE
       
       
    • By worm@work
      Hi,
      I am a newbie both to this board and to the world of mexican cooking. I love tamales but the place where I live distinctly lacks good mexican restaurants. The best tamales I've tasted were made by my mexican friends mom at home and served fresh and they tasted like something that'd be served only in heaven. Am dying to try making them myself but I don't have the slightest idea how to get started. Can someone give me a tried and tested recipe using ingredients that I'm likely to be able to buy in the US? I'd be really really really grateful. Oh and I'm a vegetarian although I do eat eggs from time to time. So I need a vegetarian recipe too . Really looking forward to some help!!!
      Thanks a million,
      worm@work
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.