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Common Food Mispronunciations and Misnomers


Fat Guy
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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:

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

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

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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)

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying 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."

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

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying 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."

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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.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying 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."

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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.

"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

 

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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:

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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'.

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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.

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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.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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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."

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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."

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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.....

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.

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