Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Amuse-Biatch's Handy Clip-N-Save Pronunciation Guide

Here at Amuse-Biatch we're not just about serving it up, we're also about serving (though we won't deny a fondness for dishes best served cold).

We have been asked why we harp on mispronunciations by cheftestants, guest chefs, and hostesses alike. We assure you that there is a method to our folie (and not just of the La cage aux variety). We do it not just because we're haughty, anal, obsessive compulsive, neo-Victorian, post-Carson Kressly mini-despots with a twinkle in our eye.

We do it because these are people who ought to know better, who are supposed to be food professionals, and that entails being knowledgeable about food. And we would feel a lot better if the people making our food knew enough about it to at least pronounce it correctly.

We won't make fun of our Aunt Lavinia for mispronouncing "amuse-bouche" at the Thanksgiving table. But when a self-described "egghead" polyglot married to a Booker Prize-winning novelist and possessed of a penchant for displaying her breasts to all and sundry repeatedly mispronounces "amuse-bouche," even after Chef Suzanne Goin pronounced it correctly in her presence several times, why yes, at that point, the yellow dogskin gloves come off.

And so, without further ado, and in the interest of service and avoiding further bloodshed, we present our handy clip-n-save pronunciation guide.

Amuse-bouche, pronounced (can you hear us, Padma?), "ah-MEWS boosh." Not "AH-moos." Not "ah-mew-SAY." "ah-MEWS boosh." Got it? Good.

Gelée, pronounced "zhell-AY," and not, as certain meringue-headed cheftestants who ought to know better insist, "jell-EE."

Lychee, pronounced "LEE-chee," a fruit of the soapberry family which, when mispronounced "LIE-chee," is known to cause lying, cheating, spasms of self-righteousness in flat-chested pastry chefs, and reality tv hara-kiri (yes, yes, bushido-heads, we know seppuku is more accurate, but we're writing for the masses here).

Offal, pronounced "AW-ful," and pronounced awfully by a couple of the cheftestants, one of whom, after pronouncing it "ah-FALL," suffered a fall from grace and was told to pack her knives.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I was going to give my lame argument again in favor of diversity in the pronunciation of litchi, since Webster's lists both ways. But then I checked the OED and it only has the one pronunciation (but with litchi as the preferred spelling) so I'll defer to the OED and accept defeat. I never should have doubted you!

Anonymous said...

hm. i myself, as a chinese foodie, get irked when i hear people pronounce lychee as 'leechee', as in cantonese we do pronounce it as LAI-CHEE. i doubt leechee is the proper pronounciation. or perhaps, both ways are right.

Anonymous said...

It's pronounce li-zhi (lee-zhih) in Mandarin Chinese, and Lai-chee in Cantonese.

Anonymous said...

So, speaking of Suzanne Goin, what is the correct pronunciation of "Lucques"?