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20 More Commonly Mispronounced Food Words

We're not saying you can't do this too, if the mood strikes.
We're not saying you can't do this too, if the mood strikes.

Two weeks ago, we ran a list of the 20 most commonly mispronounced food words that we run across day in and day out. You, dear readers, went nuts and proceeded to forward and Facebook the link far and wide in what we can only imagine was a frenzy of "HERE UNCLE FRANK, THIS IS HOW YOU PRONOUNCE QUESADILLA FOR CHRIST'S SAKE"-inspired passion.

Thank you for that.

But a list of only 20 words was, naturally, far too short to include some of your other favorite Malaprops or mispronunciations. Many readers left their own suggestions in the comments section.

Said commenter Mississippi Queen: "Someone needs to tell Guy Fieri how to properly pronounce balsamic - he says ba-sal-mic."

And commenter Trisch added even more: "Other mispronunciations I often hear: Mascarpone pronounced as "mars-capone." Ceviche pronounced as "sir-veetch-ee." Peking duck as "peek-ing duck" (and for that matter, the city of Beijing as "bay-zhing"). Paella "pah-eh-ler" (must be a British thing)."

So in the interest of correct pronunciation everywhere, here's a list of 20 more commonly mispronounced words for your parsing pleasure.

As with last time, all pronunciations are taken from the Merriam-Webster dictionary and my super-handy copy of the Food Lover's Companion by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Star anise is an important ingredient in many Asian cuisines.
Star anise is an important ingredient in many Asian cuisines.
Photo by Ano Lobb

Anise/star anise: These two herbs may share a common name and a similar flavor, but they're actually two different plants entirely. Regardless, the "anise" in both is pronounced the same way. Proper pronunciation: AN-iss

Bouillon: Not to be confused with (or pronounced like) gold bullion, this is a clear, meat- or vegetable-flavored broth that's used as the base of soups and stews. Proper pronunciation: boo-YAWN

Niçoise: Anything cooked or served à la niçoise simply means that it was done after the style of Nice, France, which usually involves tomatoes, olives, onions and garlic. Proper pronunciation: nee-SWAHZ, in the simplest sense (that is, without getting into French grammatical genders)

Charcuterie: In its most basic sense, charcuterie refers to the products made from breaking down pork and sometimes beef, products ranging from terrines and rilletes to hard sausages and whole legs of ham. Proper pronunciation: char-COO-ter-ee (listen to both the English and French pronunciations)

Prosciutto: Speaking of charcuterie, here's one of the art's most popular products. Most prosciutto you see in Houston comes from Italy, the majority of it from San Daniele or Parma. But more and more restaurants are making their own in-house, although it's a very time-consuming process. Proper pronunciation: proh-SHOO-toh

These are macarons.
These are macarons.
Photo by Alex

Macaron/macaroon: Macarons are delicate, meringue-like French pastries made from egg whites and almond powder. Macaroons are dense cookies made from shredded coconut. They are not the same thing, nor are the pronounced the same way. Proper pronunciation: mahck-eh-rohn (the last syllable should sound like you're about to say "rohng" but dropped the "G" at the last minute)/mack-ah-ROON

Mirepoix: An extremely basic mixture of diced carrots, onions and celery sauteed in butter, sometimes with herbs, which is used for anything from making sauces and soups to bedding for a braised piece of meat. Proper pronunciation: mir-PWAH

Crème fraiche: Despite the fact that is has "fresh" right there in the name, crème fraiche is actually matured, thickened cream with a refreshing, tangy flavor. Proper pronunciation: krem FRESH

Filé: The hint is in the accent mark for this Cajun thickening powder made with dried, ground sassafras leaves and used in place of (or in addition to) okra in gumbo. Proper pronunciation: FEE-lay

Mole: On the other hand, there should be an accent mark over the "E" in this word, but there isn't. Just remember that "chicken mole" sounds disgusting, whereas "chicken MOH-lay" sounds delicious. Proper pronunciation: MOH-lay

 

Shrimp étouffée, one of Louisiana's many gifts to the world.
Shrimp étouffée, one of Louisiana's many gifts to the world.
Photo by michelle

Étouffée: Good; we're back to accent marks. This word comes from the French for "smothered," not "stuffed" as is commonly thought. Hence the dish of shrimp, crawfish or chicken served over a mound of rice, which it's smothering. Proper pronunciation: ay-too-FAY

Hors d'oeuvres: If you find yourself struggling here and saying "whore's doves" or something equally inappropriate, do the smart thing and just call them "appetizers." Proper pronunciation: or DERV

Jambalaya: This Creole dish can be damn near anything as long as it contains cooked rice, tomatoes, onions, green peppers and some kind of protein: shellfish, chicken, pork, you name it. Proper pronunciation: juhm-buh-LIE-yah

Boudin: There is no excuse for living in Houston and not knowing how to pronounce "boudin." If you're still struggling, head to one of our great Cajun restaurants like Boudreaux's or MerCheri's and they'll sort you out. Proper pronunciation: boo-DAN

Jicama and mango salad: Yes, please.
Jicama and mango salad: Yes, please.
Photo by Quintana Roo

Jicama: Get used to this root vegetable showing up in more and more places as it gains in popularity. And why shouldn't it? With pearly white, crunchy and just barely sweet flesh, it's a far better alternative to celery and makes for great slaw. Proper pronunciation: HEE-kah-mah

Habanero: Because of its close association with another popular Mexican pepper, the jalapeño, this bright orange pepper commonly gets saddled with a tilde it doesn't have. Proper pronunciation: ah-bah-NEH-roh

Moussaka: If you don't want to bother pronouncing this one correctly, do yourself a favor and just call it "Greek lasagna." Proper pronunciation: Moo-sah-KAH

Bouillabaisse: This Provençal fish stew is traditionally associated with the port city of Marseille, in France, but its origins are said to go back much further than that to ancient Greece and the Phoceans who first created the recipe. Proper pronunciation: BOOL-yuh-BAYZ

Tasso: Tasso may often be called "Tasso ham," but its actually created from pork butt -- that is, the shoulder of the pig -- not its leg. See how confusing this all is? It's also not pronounced like "lasso." Proper pronunciation: TAH-so

Salmon: How can people mispronounce this, this most common and omnipresent of fish? By pronouncing the "L" in the first syllable, as if it were related to salmonellosis (which it most emphatically is not). Proper pronunciation: SAM-on



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