Say What Now? –How to Properly Pronounce Food Names from Different Cultures

Picture this – you’re sitting at a fancy restaurant, the girl (or guy) of your dreams right across the table and your goal is to really impress her (or him) tonight.

Flowers – check.

Violin/piano player – check.

Bottle of wine – check

You brushed your teeth, combed your hair and you smell good.

Everything is posed to go well this evening. The waiter hands you the menu. You smile and tell the waiter, “We’ll have some horse-doovers (hors d’oeuvers), please.” Du-oh!

To avoid such an embarrassing (and potentially life-scarring) scenario, here’s a list on how to pronounce the different types of food from various cultures. Written by Rachel Sanders, with cute illustrations from Chris Ritter of Buzzfeed, the list includes common mispronounced terms such as “espresso” and “foie gras” to the tongue rolling “vichyssoise”.

Though Sanders has not intended the list to be a definitive pronunciation guide as people from different regions may pronounce the names of these foods differently, the list is still quite helpful as you won’t end up looking like a fool in a fancy restaurant (we wouldn’t want THAT scenario again now, would we?)

Worcestershire pronounciation

A piquant sauce of soy, vinegar, and spices

Quinoa pronounciation

A pseudo cereal but good for you

Vichyssoise pronounciation

A traditional cold, thick soup made of pureed leaks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock

Espresso pronounciation

Really strong coffee…mmmm

Beignet pronounciation

Fried fritter, sometimes filled with fruit. Think Tiana.

Bruschetta pronounciation

Traditional Italian appetizer

Anise pronounciation

A flowering plant with aromatic leaves and stems, seed are traditionally used as a spice

Bouillabaisse pronounciation

A classic French shellfish and fish stew

Charcuterie pronounciation

The art of salting, smoking, and curing meats

Pommes Frites pronounciation

A really classy way to call fries

Farro pronounciation

Another tasty variety of grain

Endive pronounciation

A leafy vegetable that can be cooked or used raw in salads

Cognac pronounciation

A variety of brandy, named after the town of Cognac in France

Gnocchi pronounciation

Small Italian dumplings

Gyro pronounciation

Must thank the Greeks for this

Jicama pronounciation

A large, root vegetable

Nicoise pronounciation

Salad made with tomatoes, green herbs, tuna, hard-boiled eggs, olive, anchovies and dressed with a vinaigrette

Paella pronounciation

A hearty, Valencian rice dish. Viva España!

Pho pronounciation

Vietnamese noodle soup – heaven!

Poutine pronounciation

From Quebec, Canada – made with french fries, topped with brown gravy and cheese curds

Prosciutto pronounciation

Dry-cured ham, usually thinly sliced and served uncooked

Oh and hors d’oevoures?

Just say “or derves.”


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