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 a free account.

Menus that Mangle foreign Languages


markk
 Share

Recommended Posts

"Soba noodles".  Drives me nuts.  That's like saying udon noodles, macaroni noodles, or spaghetti noodles.

I'll see your tautology, and raise you a "chai tea".

Shrimp scampi.

Maki rolls, anyone? This seems to be a fairly common type of occurrence (probably not unrelated to the reason people find it necessary to say "ATM machine"). There's probably a natural language reason for it, though I can't think what it is.

In my daily work, we have to mix French culinary terms with English instructions constantly, and while we try to get tenses, plurals, genders, etc. correct, even with the help of native French speakers it doesn't always work. There will always be places where the language rules conflict and it will be awkward. But that doesn't, to my mind, necessarily excuse errors of laziness and ignorance.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of the lesser ones that gets me is people ordering a single "piroshki," when it should be a "pirazhok." But hell, I wouldn't know that if I hadn't taken Russian in college, so I let it go. It just sounds really strange to me, using a plural for the singular.

One of my favorite signs in a chinese restaurant, the kind with handwritten signs on the wall announcing specials, featured "shirmps." Yes, I'm not PC, but I found it funny.

"I just hate health food"--Julia Child

Jennifer Garner

buttercream pastries

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Torakris, Please take a picture of the Flesh Meat sign and post it if you could (or any other funny signs). Thanks.

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the most commonly abused Italian word is bruschetta, almost always mispronounced as "broo-shetta."

Jim

GREAT TOPIC!!!

I'll second Jim's vote on "bruschetta"!

Of all the food-related words I can think of, this one word is always troublesome to hear in the US. Ask my 2nd Gen Italian-Americans to say this word, and they never cease to use the above example. Ask them to differentiate between "primi" and "secondi" piatti, and they give you a blank stare :wacko:. It's quite humorous.

Here's a phonetic "cousin" (my term; a word that follows the same pronunciation pattern)... Maraschino. Correctly pronounced, it is Mar-i-skino.

On a lighter note: I travel to Greece a lot (Crete mostly) and one of my favorite Italian restaurants frequently mentions dishes "sprincled by Parmesan Sheezes" (some well-meaning Greeks who translate for a chef that refuses to speak in English; can't fault them :biggrin:). Or, when describing saganaki, another well-known restaurant likes to cater to the English and German-speaking tourists by depicting the dish as "pan-fried kaase".

Is Brit-speak OT? It is not necessarily a mangling of words but the uninitiated American abroad might have a laugh or be caught off-guard when they hear:

Fillet -- Fil-A in the US v Fill-it in the UK

Silverside -- The USDA equivalent is "Boneless Rump"

Edited by C_Ruark (log)
"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fillet -- Fil-A in the US v  Fill-it in the UK

Actually, if you talk to U.S. fishermen they'll call it fill-it.

My favorite was a small Italian restuarant in Connecticut with a handwritten sign in the window advertising as a special for the day -- veal palmigiana.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a snack shop owned by some Greek immigrants at the Trolley Stop near the new Petco Ballpark in dowtown San Diego. They have a printed menu describing a Rueben Sandwich as containing "sour trout". We knew what they meant... :laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Soba noodles".  Drives me nuts.  That's like saying udon noodles, macaroni noodles, or spaghetti noodles.

Tuna fish?

=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's a snack shop owned by some Greek immigrants at the Trolley Stop near the new Petco Ballpark in dowtown San Diego.  They have a printed menu describing a Rueben Sandwich as containing "sour trout".  We knew what they meant... :laugh:

There is a Central/South American place around here that has a stew on the menu with the ambiguous description (eh, this isn't exact, but it is close):

"Stew of beef, potatoes, cilantro, spices, french fries, and bread"

I never ordered it to see if the French fries and bread were actually part of the stew...

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One of our local Italian joints is perhaps too rigorously anti-tautological in listing on their menu, simply, "spaghetti with balls." :laugh:

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In New England in the 80s, my family used to frequent a diner that offered (albeit on its blackboard, not a printed menu) delicacies including: Spaghetti Carbona, Chicken Estrogen, and "Bum Fume." When asked what the last was, the server said with pretty good French pronunciation, "That's Sole Bonne Femme," and went on to explain it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Soba noodles".  Drives me nuts.  That's like saying udon noodles, macaroni noodles, or spaghetti noodles.

Tuna fish?

Pizza pie? :biggrin:

Speaking of which, was at a faux-talian joint at a shi-shi resort on Maui last week that had a series of pizzas (or should I say pizze?) that all had masculine endings, such as "Pizza Toscano" -- made me want to go in the back and give someone a rudimentary Italian lesson.

Of course, this was the same place where the waiter proceeded to tell us that the tiramisu was "not very traditional" and used "um, some other liqueur in place of the rum." When pressed (really just for our idle amusement) he ran back and told us it was "a liqueur called masala." I didn't have the heart to explain to him that marsala (which is not a liqueur, at that) is the traditional zabaglione flavoring and that we Americani are the ones who decided rum was a suitable substitute.

~A

Anita Crotty travel writer & mexican-food addictwww.marriedwithdinner.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a Central/South American place around here that has a stew on the menu with the ambiguous description (eh, this isn't exact, but it is close):

"Stew of beef, potatoes, cilantro, spices, french fries, and bread"

I never ordered it to see if the French fries and bread were actually part of the stew...

I've gotten a beef stew at Rinconcito Peruano in New York in which french fries are actually part of the dish, and it's a good dish.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a Central/South American place around here that has a stew on the menu with the ambiguous description (eh, this isn't exact, but it is close):

"Stew of beef, potatoes, cilantro, spices, french fries, and bread"

I never ordered it to see if the French fries and bread were actually part of the stew...

Lomo saltado, a Peruvian dish. My favorite version here in Atlanta has the fries added at the very end. Really great.

Can you pee in the ocean?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see all of the time, "with au jus"-why not just write it in English?

Because "with with gravy" wouldn't sound very sophisticated, now would it?

Over time, I think, these usages will change as some of these words become completely absorbed into English. Pizza is a good example of a word that has its own English language meaning and usage. People sometimes still say pizza pie but it already has kind of an old-fashioned ring to it.

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Latte. I didn't know that the proper term was cafe latte, until I went to an old-school coffee shop in the Italian part of town and ordered an iced latte. The waiter looked at me strangely, then brought me a glass of milk with ice cubes in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a phonetic "cousin" (my term; a word that follows the same pronunciation pattern)... Maraschino.  Correctly pronounced, it is Mar-i-skino.

I'll go you one further and suggest that it is pronounced: ma-ra-SKI-no (with a "ra" rather than a "ri" on the second syllable).

Latte.  I didn't know that the proper term was cafe latte, until I went to an old-school coffee shop in the Italian part of town and ordered an iced latte.  The waiter looked at me strangely, then brought me a glass of milk with ice cubes in it.

The more common term in an Italian bar would be latte macchiato, which means "stained milk" -- the idea being that the milk is "stained" by adding a tiny bit of coffee. There is also caffè macchiato, or "stained coffee" in which the coffee is "stained" with a tiny bit of milk. Somehow in American Starbucks-speak, "macchiato" has come to mean a large mostly milk drink with a little coffee and various syrups added, and "latte" has come to mean "a gigantic latte macchiato." Starbucks has also promulgated the misconception that macchiato means "marked" instead of "stained" (in fact, "marked" is probably best translated as segnato).

--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...