Speak Up

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Help me! or Potayto, Patawto

Something has been on my mind ever since I moved to the East coast. Growing up I called that ball of soft cheese that goes on pizza, mozzarella. Said like: mots-er-ella. But I have heard so many odd variations that I need to know the right way to say it. I've heard it called mutz or mutzzarell. What the heck? It's spelled M-O-Z-E-R-E-L-L-A. So why not pronounce the rest? Is one pronunciation for Italians, one for Americans and one for Italian-Americans? What do you say? Oh! And don't get me started on ricotta, also heard as ri-gut. Huh, what's with these Italian cheeses? And you know I never heard any pronunciations like this back in California. So is it a New York, New Jersey thing? An Italian-American thing? I've asked my chefhusband and he's heard the heard the same strange cheese talk I have, but not from food professionals.

Help, this is driving me crazy!
DCW_NYC
-Hilary-

7 comments:

ctina said...

this bothers me too! i hear it most from italian new yorkers, especially native brooklynites. i used to think it was some melding of italian accent and english, or maybe a sicilian thing, but i don't think so anymore. the correct italian pronunciation is much closer to the mots-er-ella - at least in rome.

palombino said...

Italian-American Goombahs drop the last vowel on words like mozzarella and calamari beacause they think it's "Italian". So few actually speak Italian, but they want others to think that they do. These are the same people who think Chicken Parm is a good Italian meal. I'm not knocking Chicken Parm, but...

ChefWife said...

speaking of parm...Once someone asked me, "Does Perry St serve regular food? You know, like chicken parm?"

Yep, that would be REGULAR. But I guess it's what you're comfortable with.

It seems like you have both experienced the same thing with the dropping of the last syllable to appear more Italian. But isn't that stereotyping? I mean, should my half-Korean husband start making up his own version of Korean?

Anonymous said...

I have heard these variations as well.....

Speaking of Perry...check this out...

http://thedish.amexnetwork.com/restaurant/351/search

PassionFoodie.

Becke (Columbus Foodie) said...

I think it's a NY/NJ thing - they do the same thing with "prosciutto" - pronounce it as "proshoot" and capicola - as "gabagool"

Since I moved to Ohio, I don't hear the mispronounciations anymore. Go figure.

Julia said...

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proseandconverse said...

Phew, it's not just me! I don't hear those words conversationally very often, but dude. Have you heard Giada DeLaurentis? Everything out of her mouth goes against everything Italian I've ever said. Ok, I am willing to concede that she's actually Italian and probably knows the correct pronunciation more than little ol' SoCal me, but it annoys me to no end. I swear, no matter how "right" it is, I will never say words the way she does- just comes off way too pretentious.

Oh, I guess Mario Batali does it too. But I'm too busy being annoyed with his orange crocs to be annoyed with his speech.

:)
Chef Wife So Cal,
nikki

PS: Go team Motz-er-ella!