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Jul 19, 2006 10:03 PM

PEI Mussels; pronunciation

Okay, ridiculously dumb question coming up...

Is 'PEI' a written abbreviation only (i.e., people would still say 'Prince Edward Island?' Or is it actually pronounced like 'pay' or 'pie?'

I've just been picked up as a waiter at an upscale restaurant and having worked mainly in dives and not being a huge fan of seafood, I'm a little clueless and slightly too intimidated to ask.


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  1. I suggest asking your captain. You will make a much better impression and go further in the industry and learn more if you ask for clarification immediately. I work BOH, but remember one server telling me that he had just seen the report from a "secret diner" who noted that waiters were using "kitchen phrases" in the front of the house, which caused the servers scores to be lowered.

    If PEI is written in your notes for the day for a special, I'm 99% sure it's just out of efficiency for the staff. Because really, how many people order like this:

    I'd like the old strip black and blue, sans pepper, S.O.S

    (Translation--aged strip steak, as rare as possible, no pepper, with the sauce on the side)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Non Cognomina

      The abbreviation actually appears on the menu as 'Pei mussels,' hence my confusion. However, your point about asking for clarification is well-taken.

    2. Pronounce each letter separately (P.E.I.) or say "Prince Edward Island" but never "pay" or "pie." The question also comes up in reference to potatoes (PEI spuds are considered some of the best).

      1. No, really, it is pronounced pee-eee-eye, just like the letters. Prince Edward Island is a great source of shellfish, little pollution because their ocean currents carry all the junk offshore, but saying "Prince Edward Island" every time sounds pretentious.

        Good luck in the new job.

        1 Reply
        1. re: checkman

          I totally disagree. Every "upscale" restaurant I've worked at or dined at takes pride in sourcing its ingredients. While checkman is from New England where "PEI" mussles may be well known to the point of being passe, someone in the Baltimore/DC area where asiege2 works may not be as familiar with the vernacular abbreviation. I think it would sound more pretentious to use "PEI" in this situation.

          That's why you should ask your captain....

        2. Thank you so much for the replies! I'm sure to have more stupid questions in the near future (as I try to memorize this menu asap), and I appreciate all the help I can get.

          Thanks again.

          1. There is no place like PEI (Prince Edward Island) for mussels. Having spent many summers as a child on Cavendish beach on the Island and visiting one on the many Church lobster suppers.....there is nothing like it!
            What a wonderful childhood memory!
            A vacation spot not to miss!