Yesterday I caught this uber-viral tweet from Amna @AGlasgowGirl on Twitter that made me laugh. She wanted to remind us all that when we order “naan bread” in an Indian restaurant, we’re actually ordering “bread bread.”
naan bread means “bread bread” just say naan or bread or cancel brexit thank you for coming to my Ted Talk
— Amna (@AGlasgowGirl) August 31, 2018
It made me think of all the foods we frequently order wrong. And by we, I mean you.
(Ha, kidding. I get them wrong too.)
Naan Bread – Naan is already bread. So while westerners may think of it as a kind of bread…you’re still saying “bread bread.”
Chai Tea – This is like ordering “tea tea,” because in India, “chai” is the word for any kind of tea. If you want to order that warm, milky spiced tea, the proper order is Massala Chai.
Macaroons – We’ve been through this before! Macaroons are not macarons. If you are looking for the delicious French cookie sandwiches made with almond flour and exotic flavored fillings, that would be a macaron. If you want the traditional Kosher for passover coconut based cookie, that would be a macaroon. If you’d like the president of France — that’s something else entirely.
Paninis – In Italian, “panino” is a diminutive of “pane,” or bread, making a panino a little bread roll. If you are ordering more than one, you’re ordering “panini” — no s. Kind of like how there are no mooses or fishes. (Then again, Italians like to say “fishes” so maybe that’s payback for “paninis.”) I will note that in fairness, “paninis” has become acceptable as the plural, but it’s still nice to get it right when you’re ordering from actual Italians.
Look, I get annoyed by pedants who insist that hummus should be pronounced hoo-mus, or swear there is only one acceptable pronunciation of “caramel.” We’ve got so many regional dialects in the US, which is one of the cool things about having such a diverse population. But I still think it’s nice to know what’s truly right and wrong. Good language matters!
Just please, please don’t say cruh-sant for croissant. Even if you grew up on “croissandwiches.” Shiver.
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