Food Words I Still Can't Pronounce

June 24, 2016

If anything is spelled wrong here, let's just amend the title to "...and Can't Spell, Either":

And thanks to the whole Food52 team for their contributions. Your shame will remain anonymous.

List any words you still stumble over in the comments below.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • ChefJune
  • Winness
  • Kim O
    Kim O
  • Nancy
  • Sarah -
    Sarah -
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


ChefJune February 7, 2017
Sarah, if you're still having pronunciation problems with French terms, call me up and I'll be glad to help. :)
Winness July 22, 2016
If anyone is fanatical about correct pronunciation of words, foodwise or otherwise, use this website to hear it verbally:
It is multilingual, by the way. Has saved my behind a few!
Kim O. July 18, 2016
Nancy July 4, 2016
I have trouble with Hungarian food names.
Goo-lash or guyl- yash?
Rakott kapostza?
Sarah -. June 28, 2016
it took me about a year to be able to say "quinoa" correctly.

but please say the word "schnitzel" correctly. it's not "snitzel"
Courtney J. June 27, 2016
I live in Brazil, and this is how to say caipirinha, broken into syllables: cay (rhymes with eye), purr, EEN, nyuh (the nh in Portuguese is like the ñ in Spanish. There! Did I totally confuse everyone?
Cindy A. June 27, 2016
Love this! I hope to pronounce words correctly but if I'm incorrect or someone else is there are more aggravating problems in the world. I figure if somebody knows what you're talking about it's good enough!
Amy June 26, 2016
I always hear people pronounce asiago as ah-SAH-jio instead of ah-see-AH-go
HalfPint June 25, 2016
Is the e silent in rabe (broccoli rabe)?
702551 June 26, 2016
Yes, that's correct.

If you want some sort of substantiation, just visit or Wikipedia. Both sites will confirm this pronunciation.
702551 June 26, 2016
Oh, it's worth noting that the "rabe" has an alternate spelling: "raab."

Enjoy your correct pronunciation!
pierino June 26, 2016
Rabi is the correct spelling as in brocolleti rapi (RAH-pee). It's a Sicilian word that's been anglicized to a degree---in England Rochetta (arugula) is called rocket Raab like ROB is how it's pronounced in America.
pierino June 26, 2016
Sorry, I was a little trigger happy with the keyboard there. The full Sciilian is "broculi rabi". And here in the US it's sometimes called rapini.
702551 June 26, 2016
Broccoli raab (a.k.a. broccoli rabe) is the common American name for rapini and is most commonly sold that way here in the USA.

Unsurprisingly the vegetable has different names in different languages. Even in Italy, it has different names in different regions.

Fun trivia: its scientific name is Brassica rapa.
Jan W. June 25, 2016
'Schiacciata' is definitely a tongue-twister for the average English-speaking person. If you're of Italian background or hang out around people who are, you might have a better time with words like that.

Also a lot of these simply have 1-to-1 substitutions of digraphs that have exact equivalents in English - for example:
"Tx" in Euskara/Basque is the exact same thing as "Ch" in 'chunky'.
The 'nh' in caipirinha is a little more complicated but in Portuguese the nh digraph is exactly the same as 'ñ' in Spanish. So if you can pronounce "mañana", you can pronounce Caipirinha (Kai-pee-REE-nya) or picanha, etc.

Pączki - Polish is one of the most unwieldy language orthographies in Europe, like trying to hammer a Slavic round peg into a Latin square hole. In fact, the A with ogonek doesn't even show up in Food52's text.
'Ą' in this word is pronounced like "aw" would be in English. Then 'cz' is pronounced like the English "ch" as in chunky just like before, and this is true for most West Slavic languages.
Therefore, Pączki is pronounced "PAWCH-kee".

I hope this demystified a little of your list up there.

702551 June 26, 2016
Since Jan cleverly did not divulge how to pronounce schiacciata, I will make an attempt:


Right? ;o)
Jan W. June 26, 2016
I think we have a winner! Standard Italian apparently does this thing where it severely reduces 'i's in words like this, have no idea why.
mary M. June 25, 2016
Ceviche? How did this not make the list? It grates on my nerves every time I hear someone mispronounce this one. And there's a lot of different ways people do mispronounce it.
penelope June 25, 2016
Okay, I got some of these.
Dulce de leche: DOOL-say day LEH-chay
Manchego: Mahn- CHAY- go [long o, like the /o/ in 'boat']
I can't decipher the name of the chef, but Txikito is Chee-KEE-to [long o]
Farro: FAH- ro [long o]
Prosciutto: Pro-SHOO-to [long o]
Worcestershire: WOOS-tur-shur
Fuchsia Dunlop: FEW-shuh, like the color
Huitlacoche: WEET-lah-KO [long o]-chay
Chilaquiles: CHEE-lah-KEEL-ayss
Some of these I suspect are your co-workers taking the piss, though. Farro? Angostura? They're phonetic!
daryn June 24, 2016
Prix Fixe
702551 June 24, 2016
"Pree feeks" is close enough
Nancy July 4, 2016
Wonderful misunderstanding using this term. Once, discussing a menu I'd had while traveling with my now late father, who had no French, he listened the whole time in English, hearing "pre-fixed" and finally asked, why is it so special if it was already cooked?
Talking and listening at cross purposes.
pierino June 24, 2016
spiedini (plural): spee-a [like hay]-DEE-knee: skewers or brochettes. You would not say one spiedini or a panini.
702551 June 25, 2016
Yanks don't understand Italian grammar, spelling, or pronunciation which is why they slaughter words like "bruschetta" or use "bravo" for female performers (it's "brava").

The rules are actually pretty simple, however only a handful of Americans really care about such matters.

Sorry about that.

(I still get confused with the uovo/uova thing though.) ;-)
pierino June 24, 2016
Bolognese = bo=lo-ny-A-zay
Pappardelle = pah-par-DAY-lay
Guanciale = gwan=CHA-lay

ChefJune June 27, 2016
pierino: the nedings of those words is not really "ay". Italians say those last syllables more line an "eh." Like "pah-par-deh-leh" and also "lat-teh", not "lat-tay!"
pierino June 27, 2016
Chef June, actually it's somewhere in between. Transcription is inexact at best. And then you get into regional pronunciations etc. "Standard" Italian is based on Florentine dialect. Even so there is a distinct Tuscan accent that is different than say, Milanese or Roman. And then when you travel further south it blurs even more.
Heather |. June 24, 2016
penelope June 25, 2016
4 syllables: Chee -chah- RO -nayss . The O is a long O, like the 'o' sound in boat.
ChefJune June 27, 2016
that's phonetic!
penelope June 27, 2016
@ChefJune: It sure is -- in Spanish. I've heard non-native Spanish speakers say things like "chih-chu-rOnz".
bellw67 June 24, 2016
Jan W. June 24, 2016
^problem is that you used a c instead of cedilha 'ç', and forgot the accent on the í. In Portuguese this would cause you some bewilderment.
açaí = ah-sah-EE. It's even weird for some Lusophone people because its a Tupi-Guarani word that's not really familiar outside of Brazil.
702551 June 24, 2016
You can learn the pronunciation of most of these words at Wikipedia. They provide pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).

An unreliable way is watch a YouTube video. The top YouTube video when you search for "bruschetta" features a presenter who mispronounces the word.

If you are choosy about your video presenters, you might have better luck. Search for Mario Batali videos when seeking Italian pronunciations, Jacques Pepin videos for French pronunciations.

If you want to sound like a Yank, look up the word at Their audio pronunciations are super duper American.
amysarah June 24, 2016
The names of many German wines, beyond Riesling. French, Italian and Spanish wine labels are easy - I speak those languages to varying degrees - but German ones always look indecipherable. The consonant to vowel ratio seems way too high ;-)
Alexandra S. June 24, 2016
Before listening to Kenzi's podcast on chicken paprikash, I was definitely not saying it correctly, something like pa-PREE-kash. And even though I was so grateful to learn the correct pronunciation — maybe PAP-ree-kash? — I have zero confidence I will ever get it right.