Lost in Translation – No Culinary Exceptions!

This is for those lexophiles out there, with a culinary twist.

English is a funny language. Unlike many other languages, there aren’t any hard and straightforward rules. As a high school teacher of mine demonstrated years ago, words that contain “ough” in it are all pronounced differently: “bought” [bwa-t] is not pronounced the same as “dough” [d-oh] or “through” [th-ru]and if you don’t like it, well “tough” [t-uf].

The complications of the English language are no exception in the culinary world. Depending on where you are from, some words are completely different and others have unique pronunciations. Here’s a list that I have compiled:

    • Some say zuccini, others say courgette
    • Some say eggplant, others say aubergine
    • Some say to-may-toe, others say to-maaah-toe
    • Some say po-tay-toe, others say po-tah-toe
    • Some say scallions, others say green onions
    • Some say peppers, others say capsicums
    • Some call it flan, others call it crème caramel
    • Some say bay leaf, others call it laurel leaf
    • Some say care-a-mel, others call it car-mel
    • Some say okra, but others call it lady fingers…but lady fingers are also known as biscuits?! So are we talking about the vegetable or the cookie here?

Weird redundancies to note:

  • Chai tea is definitely a tea, but chai means tea. So really we are saying tea tea if we say chai tea.
  • Similarly, some say naan bread but naan means bread, so it’s like saying bread bread.

Like I said, the English language is a funny thing! Do you know of any others that can be added to the list?

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