Food: Frequently mispronounced foods

Posted by Sam Bouchat on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 1:05 pm.

It’s hard to enjoy a global smorgasbord of food without making a few mistakes in the pronunciation of the names. Most servers are too polite to correct a customer’s stumbling request for foie gras (pronounced ‘fwah-grah’) or bouillabaisse (pronounced ‘boo-ya-bes’), and so people can go years without realizing the proper way to say the name of a food. Here are some common foods that get the worst treatment when it comes to pronunciation.

-Macaron (pronounced ‘mah-kah-ROHN’): A macaron is a French, cream-filled cookie, but the pronunciation is often confused with macaroons, a small, cake-like baked good (both macarons and macaroons are delicious).

-Crème fraîche (pronounced ‘crehm-frash’): This soured cream is often used in hot sauces and thickening.

-Escargot (pronounced ‘es-car-goh’): Hopefully, you won’t have to use this one too often — escargot is French for snails, and this dish is served by removing the snails from their shells, cooking them and replacing them. Easy on the salt.

-Pho (pronounced ‘fuh’): This delicious Vietnamese noodle soup is often a favorite among American visitors to Vietnamese restaurants, though the dish is usually butchered when spoken by English tongues.

-Mascarpone (pronounced ‘mas-kah-pohn-eh’): This poor Italian cheese sounds like a cousin of Al Capone rather than the main ingredient to tiramisu cake.

-Panko (pronounced ‘pahn-koh’): A useful and popular Japanese breading used in the United States as well, this product is often given a hard-A sound, rather than the Japanese soft A.

-Sherbet (pronounced ‘sher-bit’): Somewhere along the way, this colorful and tangy ice cream got another ‘R’ shoved into it, and is commonly (and incorrectly) called “sherbert.”

  • Debbie Adams

    uh…i consider myself a very good cook,and baker,.and I cannot pronounce a few of the things i make; not important!(why is “sherbet” down there?who says “sher-bay”?)go ahead and say “sher-bet”if that is what they say from your region,or family. Be very suspicious of pretty girls or cute guys who constantly correct your pronounciation,.they are crap. you’d do better without does not take complete expert pronouncing. (or spelling and typing) to enjoy or make them, we Americans are still pronouncing”Tex-as” and “Ory-GUN” incorrectly,and we have not been thrown out of the US…yet.