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"Ooh! You Made Bruschetta!"

I'm not sure who out there has seen the new Nabisco Sociables cracker ad, but it makes me INSANE.

A couple of housewives are getting ready for their monthly book club meeting. As they are talking about the food, one of them comments, "Ooh! You made bruschetta!" and the other one talks about how easy it was to make... just dice up some tomatoes and onions, and add your favorite Italian dressing (gasp!) Then... this is the worst part... they talk about putting the "bruschetta" on the new Sociables crackers one of them brought over.

As far as I was schooled, bruschetta is grilled bread brushed with olive oil and whatever toppings you want to put on it, whether it's tomatoes and onions (and NOT with Italian bottled dressing, shudder!) or something else (chopped olives, prosciutto, etc.) It got me thinking... maybe I am confused. Am I thinking of Crostini? I always thought Crostini were little toasts, also to be brushed with olive oil and topped with whatever you want. Is bruschetta really diced tomatoes and onions? Or are the Nabisco marketing people IDIOTS? (I think I already know the answer to this question.)

Every time I see this commercial it makes me crazy... I had to share my feelings with fellow 'hounders, the only other people in the world who might be bothered by something as "trivial" as the true meaning of bruschetta. :)

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  1. and they mispronounce Bruschetta, too! like Bru-shetta instead of Bru-sKetta! I'm with you! Makes me nuts!

    Bruschetta is toasted bread. The topping is the topping, not the bruschetta! I often top mine the Tuscan way with sauteed chicken livers, and friends are surprised that it is "bruschetta!" they've seen too many of these incorrectly used references.

    TGI Fridays' ads talk about "Brushetta Chicken" What the Sam Hill is THAT???

    20 Replies
    1. re: ChefJune

      Just saw this post, and the first thing I wondered about was whether they pronounced Bruschetta correctly!
      I haven't seen the commercial, thank goodness, I wonder if it's a national ad, or if they've targeted certain areas.
      Bruschetta is bread rubbed with garlic (slice a clove crosswise and rub), brushed with olive oil and grilled. We know it as also topped with something like tomatoes.
      Crostini are small and thin slices of bread brushed with olive oil and toasted. Could also be topped, ie for a pass-around appetizer.

      Edit: btw I also hate it when culinary schools say CULLinary in their ads.

      1. re: slacker

        Do you say "Kyool"? I think that might just be regional.

        1. re: slacker

          "Edit: btw I also hate it when culinary schools say CULLinary in their ads."
          Why? While "kyoo-luh-ner-ee" is preferred, but both are acceptable pronunciations. I've always used the "kyoo" format, but I've heard "cull" a lot on cooking shows.


          cu·li·nar·y Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation [kyoo-luh-ner-ee, kuhl-uh-] –adjective of, pertaining to, or used in cooking or the kitchen.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            I'm in the CULL-i-nary camp... but mostly because in my other mother tongue, "cul" pronounced the other way is not a very nice word.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              It's culinary, not CULLinary. Just like Forte is "fort," not "fortay." The secondary pronunciation is an evolution of misuse.

              1. re: slacker

                Yes, I'm aware of that. That's why I said "kyoo-luh-ner-ee" is the preferred pronunciation - however, secondary pronunciations get used often enough that they often show up as accepted pronunciations, albeit secondary. That happens with evolving languages. I guess you (and I, as I learned and prefer the original pronunciation) will continue to use "kyoo" instead of "cull" - but once it's accepted, not much you can do about it. Other than pronounce it the way you wish to.

                1. re: LindaWhit

                  Preferred by whom? All three of my dictionaries (M-W, OED, and American Heritage) show either pronunciation as acceptable.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    I always understood that the first pronunciation is usually the preferred one (or at minimum, the original pronunciation).

                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    The 1963 Webster's shows "cul" with a schwa (unstressed mid-central vowel) as the preferred pronunciation. It's probable that the use of the "kyoo" became more common because Americans in certain regions often pronounce the U this way, so later dictionaries would reflect a shift to a different pronunciation.
                    The word derives from the Latin "culinarius" so the "kyoo" would have been incorrect originally and not used by educated speakers who were also exposed to other Romance languages. Unfortunately, most Americans no longer are. Now so many have used the "kyoo" for so long that it has become accepted.

                    1. re: MakingSense

                      Fair enough. I don't have a 1963 version of Webster's to refer back to. :-) However, push come to shove, it eventually comes down to personal preference or personal learning and use of a word. Right or wrong as someone else might think it is if both pronunciations are listed as acceptable.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        Plus English had this little thing called 'the Great Vowel Shift', in which 'u' was diphthongised (as in the 'kyoo'). Just because a word can be traced back to Latin does not mean it should be pronounced with a French or Spanish accent.

                        This linguistics blog may be of interest


                        1. re: paulj

                          If you are "curious" enough, you'll find lots of exceptions to any pattern in the English language. That's why it's so difficult to learn.

                          It really is pretty useless to argue over minor pronunciation and regional differences in the US (and it's surprising that the Duke linguist would cite anything as one common "US speech style") when you can drive from the Bronx to Charleston before the sun sets. There simply isn't one. As our population becomes more mobile, we have to recognize that different pronunciations aren't necessarily ignorant or uneducated.

                    2. re: slacker

                      The correct French pronunciation is actually "for", no T. Forte can certainly be "for-tay", especially if one is Italian. I do say "kyoolinary", but being British I also say "tyoona" (tuna) and "dyoo" (due) as opposed to the American "toona" and "doo". I also say "ama-turr" (amateur), I'm still baffled as to how it came to be commonly pronounced "ama-choor".

                2. re: ChefJune

                  In some areas of Italy, it is pronounced "bru-shetta." Just like we have regional pronunciations in the US...

                  1. re: MakingSense

                    <In some areas of Italy, it is pronounced "bru-shetta."> Curious which regions you have heard that? I don't think so, but I haven't traveled the whole length and breadth of Italy, so please..... tell us where they say that?

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      In southern Umbria near Lazio. It is the common pronunciation in Orvieto and in the small towns as you drive through Baschi, Terni, Narni, around Lago di Corbara. People kept correcting me. I finally asked friends and was told it was common throughout that region and some other pockets in Italy.
                      I don't see why this should seem odd. The US has regional differences in speech patterns and pronunciations. New Jersey and Texas? The Bronx and Charleston?

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        gotta say - i've lived there and never heard it pronounced as "shet" except by tourists....and i'm so happy that i've never seen the commercial - it would make me crazy too.

                  2. re: ChefJune

                    That commercial makes me cringe too. IMHO it is far easier to slice and toast some baguettes and have the guests put as much 'bruschetta topping' on than it is to put small dollops of topping on small crackers. Seems tedious to me. The commercial further irked me when they wanted to use hummus on those crackers. I am thankful that they didn't make their own rendition of hummus.

                    1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                      wouldn't it make the crackers soggy if it sat for more than a couple of minutes?

                  3. Gawd that ad makes me insane too. There's something very odd and surreal about those ladies' conversation. It makes me feel like, you know, don't drink the water (or, I suppose, eat the crackers). My husband I and I saw the ad for the first time the other day, and as the coven cackles at the end about how FUNNY the book is as how TASTY the crackers are, my darling and I just looked at each other silently with expressions of confusion and horror. Nice to know we're not alone.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: litchick

                      Yes, how dare that "coven" of "housewives" "cackle" and incorrectly use the word bruschetta? Don't they know that language matters?

                      1. re: clepro

                        there are no housewives. there is no coven. there is Nabisco, who does not care that language matters.

                    2. Yeah, wow, that commercial makes me want to scream! "I thought that mistaken identity part was a little farfetched." Oh, you mean someone mistook them for the Stepford wives!! Very scary commercial! I think I've heard Bru-shetta so many times now that I have to think how it's really pronounced! Kind of like when you read the same word over and over again and it starts to look mispelled!

                      1. I've only ever had bruschetta with either tomato/garlic or garlic/cheese... but it's always toasted! I just saw that ad last night and thought 'what a bunch of IDIOTS...'

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kajikit

                          Pronounced idjit.

                          That commercial makes me want to boycott Nabisco products. I'll bet there's a picture of Wretched Ray somewhere on the box as well.

                        2. I hear you. fayefood.com

                          1. Hated the commercial but had to laugh that I saw it on the Food Network. Of course, a lot of FN recipes seem to be on the same level lately, but that's a different thread....

                            1. Ohhhhh, you made muffeletta.

                              It was easy, just take and olive, add your favourite meat, like salami, add a slice of American cheese and place it on a Sociables cracker. Don't for get a touch of Pam on the top.

                              The worst part is, they'll have housewives everywhere calling it, brusechetta.


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Davwud

                                Here is a proper definition of it:

                                Bruschetta (help·info) is a food originating in central Italy. It was eaten during the 15th century. It consists of grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Variations may include toppings of spicy red pepper, tomato, vegetables and/or cheese. Bruschetta is usually served as a snack or appetizer. In Tuscany, bruschetta is called fettunta, meaning "oiled slice".

                                Here is the definition of crostini:

                                A piece of thin crisp toast.
                                An hors d'oeuvre made with a crostino and any of various toppings.


                                [kroh-STEE-nee] 1. Meaning "little toasts" in Italian, crostini are small, thin slices of toasted bread, which are usually brushed with olive oil. 2. The word also describes canapés consisting of small slices of toast with a savory topping such as cheese, shrimp, pâté or anchovies. 3. Sometimes crostini refers to the equivalent of a crouton used for soups or salads.

                                I found this web site that clarifies the difference:


                                This is an excerpt:

                                Somewhere along the way, from the time we first borrowed the words “bruschetta” and “crostini” from the Italian lexicon, we blurred their distinctions and obscured their true identities.

                                The original Italian meanings of the words are fairly clear. Crostini means, “Little toasts,” and traditionally referred to small, thin slices of Italian bread, toasted and used as a base for canapés, generally with a savoury spread such as tapenade, liver pate, or cheeses. They were even sometimes grilled or fried, and used as garnish in soups and salads. The key here is that they were crispy and small.

                                Bruschetta comes from the Italian word, bruscare which means “roasted over coals”. In Tuscany, thick slices of farmers’ bread were lightly toasted, rubbed with garlic cloves, seasoned with salt and pepper, and then drizzled with the new crop olive oil. It was meant to focus on the flavour of the new oils and only the oil. Sometimes, a tomato salad with chopped fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar was heaped on top of the warm bread.

                              2. so glad i have tivo. no seriously, I also thought about the stepford wives. bruschetta cannot be on a cracker-- must be on grilled bread no matter how you say it.

                                1. Why the surprise and indignation? Modern cooks seem to change everything. It gets trendy and each cook puts their own stamp on it.
                                  American spaghetti sauce is a kitchen sink version of the Italian classic ragu. Cream cheese and chocolate in Key Lime Pie? Can I leave the red food coloring out of Red Velvet Cake? Is it still a quiche when there's no crust or should you call it a fritatta or flan then? Oreo pizza? Asian enchiladas? Cajun potstickers?
                                  How many changes can you make before something isn't what it started out to be and you have to call it something else?

                                  29 Replies
                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                    You're talking about the evolution of a dish. We are talking about calling a chair a table. Calling the salad on top of a bruschetta "bruschetta" is not about a dish evolving - it's calling it something it's not.

                                    It's like getting a dish of shrimp fettuccine and referring to the shrimp as the fettuccine instead of the pasta.

                                    1. re: pgokey

                                      Then why can't bruschetta evolve?
                                      The definition you posted above is simply oiled bread that may include a variety a toppings, served as a snack. Tuscan bread, rye, Sociables, Wonder Bread?

                                      If you want the freedom to mess with other dishes, why won't you let others innovate, change their versions of bruschetta to please themselves?

                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                        Just for the record, my issue is not with what they put on the crackers or what they called it, but the cheesiness of the commercial! It is gag-me cheese all the way!

                                    2. re: MakingSense

                                      I think that if what you're making is different enough that someone who ordered it without seeing it would be likely to be surprised by what they received, it deserves its own name, if only an adjusted name (cracker bruschetta? that doesn't really sound so great does it....)

                                      As an aside, you definitely can leave red food coloring out of the RVC, and although it's less red, it's the cocoa and buttermilk that give off a faint pink glow (it used to be brighter red before they started alkalinizing cocoa which prevents this red glow from happening as much) and of course, the product tastes almost exactly the same without the dye.

                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                        I agree that classic names are often used inappropriately by those who are unfamiliar with what the terms mean and this leads to confusion. They work their way into common usage and lose their original meaning. But it's wrong to get upset about one term without realizing how common this is across the board.

                                        The recipe for Red Velvet Cake has included red food coloring in Southern and Canadian cookbooks as far back as the 40s and possibly the 30s. It's in the Waldorf version too. It's only very recently that some have tried to eliminate food coloring from the classic recipe for their own reasons. My family and others who know the classic version would be very disappointed if they were served this pale substitute under false pretenses. Maybe it should be renamed Pink Velour or something.

                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                          According to the Times and Wikipedia (granted, that doesn't make it true) in the old days before they knew how to preserve cocoa the way they do now, it had a greater amount of acid and therefore the cocoa itself turned bright red. When they started "dutch process"-ing cocoa, people swapped food coloring in. Of course I have no proof that this is the case. But it sounds plausible to me.

                                          1. re: Adrienne

                                            All of that may well be true but unrelated to the use of red food coloring in Red Velvet Cake. The cocoa commonly used in American home kitchens after its introduction in 1894 was the non-alkalized Hershey's. The recipes, dating back to the 30s and 40s, still called for that extra jolt of color. Alkalized (Dutch processed) cocoa was first made available by Droste in the Netherlands in the 1860s, long before Red Velvet Cake, so there wasn't any "swapping out food coloring." It just wasn't a product commonly available or used in the US. Hersey's didn't introduce it until 1989. It was only recently when some cooks wished to change the original recipe to eliminate the food coloring that the discussion began over alternate ways to get red color in the cake.

                                            Red Velvet Cake is just one of those odd American recipes that "is what it is." Probably not intended to be health food. Those who love it cherish its bright color and don't think the recipe should be messed with.

                                            There are those who don't think that bruschetta should be crackers with stuff on them. There are those who might think that's an improvement.
                                            Makes me shudder just like Red Velvet Cakes with no food coloring.
                                            Why can't they just make something else?

                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                              Sorry, when I was responding to your previous post, it didn't occur to me that you meant the *18* 30s and 40s.

                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                Red Velvet Cake recipes started appearing in print in the 1930s and 40's although they probably existed before then. The commonly used product in American kitchens was Hersey's cocoa, a non-alkalized product, introduced in1894. The icing on that cake did not use cream cheese, another recent alteration.
                                                There are few codified cake recipes from the first half of the 19th century and few American ones used chocolate products of any kind as it was an expensive import.

                                      2. re: MakingSense

                                        you should call it something else when it no longer resembles the original dish. the chef should invent a new name or at least add a list of adjectives, the latter of which is the most practical:
                                        American-style spaghetti sauce
                                        Cream cheese-chocolate key lime pie
                                        "Black velvet" cake
                                        oreo-cookie dessert ___(how does it resemble pizza?)
                                        asian enchiladas? please enlighten me. cajun potstickers? how aobut fried dumplings with cajun spices?

                                        calling a food something it isn't is misrepresentation.

                                        1. re: fara

                                          Do you think I make this stuff up? Obviously not in the media that the average CH pays attention to but there's a lot more out there. One of the national pizza chains offers that Oreo Pizza. Wrap some Chung King mass market canned Chinese stuff in a flour tortilla - everybody is doing wraps now, right? - and what do you you have? Saw that one in a tabloid while I was stuck in a supermarket line.

                                          Fusion is fashionable and it gave license to everyone - not just chefs. Won ton skins for make-your-own raviolis. Flour tortillas for Middle Eastern wraps. Make pesto from whatever herb. Call cold soup gazpacho. Why can people at the high end do it and then criticize when people in trailer parks do something that crosses some line they don't like?
                                          I agree that it should be called something different but who's going to enforce it? How? Will you go into every kitchen in the country? There are no legal definitions for any of these things.

                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                            no, I was not saying you made it up. I was giving suggestions as to what I thought those foods should be called. however, I don't run the world.
                                            I would not dare misrepresent food like that, but I have no control over what Nabisco does. I WOULD however, complain if I were served something that was misrerpesented at a restaurant.

                                            1. re: fara

                                              It is a pity that more restaurants, media and cooks don't do as you suggest and clearly label their changes. They haven't been for a long, long while. Some honestly don't know the difference. Others do believe that they have creative license.
                                              There's an entertaining book, Fashionable Food - Seven Decades of Food Fads, by Sylvia Lovegren, that traces many foods and dishes of the 20th century that became "trendy" and how they were "translated" into common everyday menus, just like the "bruschetta" that we've been discussing. Some are still around, far from their origins, in almost unrecognizable form. It's a fun read that can put things into perspective. Still doesn't solve the problem...

                                            2. re: MakingSense

                                              On the topic of how to pronounce Italian words...

                                              Ravioli is already plural. There is no need to say ravioli. The singular would be raviolo.

                                              Drives me nuts with panini. You don't eat one panini. You eat one panino and you don't eat multiple paninis (even if you're really hungry).

                                              1. re: Avalondaughter

                                                I could kiss you.

                                                I pointed the panino/panini thing out in a blog post a couple years ago (among other silly things, like "carne asada steak") because a place opened up nearby talking about "wood-grilled pizza and paninis".

                                                Even if you can put aside the concept of "wood fired panini" for a moment, I might have cut them some slack had they said "paninos". But to have a double plural... and then I got my head battered around because I was being too picky. An emailer actually said, "Their food is so good that they can spell whatever they want however they want to."

                                                Sometimes it simply doesn't pay to be a stickler for details.

                                                1. re: Panini Guy

                                                  No, you should learn to pronounce and call things correctly. It's just one of the things that bothers other cultures about Americans. They don't care what they do to other countries languages.


                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                    I don't think Italians and other Europeans took much care when they adopted New World foods and their names. If I recall the Tomato article on Wiki correctly, the Italian word means something like 'golden apple', and 'tomato' actually derives from a Mexican Indian word for the tomatillo.

                                                    Yes, if you are speaking Italian in Italy, you should try to pronounce it correctly. But if you are speaking English, and using words that are in the process of being adopted into that language, you do not have to slavishly follow the usage and pronunciation from the source language. The English language has been borrowing words (and mangling them in the process) since the days of Norman conquest, and the process isn't going to stop now. In fact it is rare that a word doesn't get changed in some way or other when it moves from one language to another.


                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                      You can't compare the bastardization of words a few hundred years ago to today. Explorers or traders to far off lands would have to remember or relate the terminologies and spellings of things with crude means. It could become a game of broken telephone. Today, everything you need to know is right at your finger tips.

                                                      Also, I doubt there were any Mexicans living in Italy way back when to help with the correct pronunciation. Now, the planet is so integrated we have a much better chance of getting it right.

                                                      As I posted below:
                                                      "The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names."

                                                      - Chinese proverb


                                                      1. re: Davwud

                                                        I don't see why I can't compare linguistic processes two hundreds of years ago with ones that happen now. Human nature hasn't changed that much.

                                                        Prior to reading it here, I did not know that 'panini' was plural, 'panino' singular - at least in Italian. But once the word is adopted into English, must it abide by Italian pluralization rules? The normal plural rule in English is add an 's'.

                                                        In some languages there are 'royal academies' that rule on whether a word can be borrowed, and how it can be used. English doesn't have such an authority. This is both its strength and weakness. It borrows readily, but in the process ends up with a confusing mix of grammatical rules (especially when it comes to spelling).

                                                        Speaking of 'right names', the wiki article on Confusius has nearly a screenfull of text talking about his names. So even within one language such as Chinese (which Chinese language/dialect?) it is difficult to settle on one 'right name' for some things.


                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          I understand what you're saying and if it had been in suburban Tulsa or some mall stand or Denny's, it wouldn't be that bothersome. But it's a place on a well-traveled road in an area with lots of Italians that is trying to market itself as artisinal "Italian".

                                                          You can't get the words wrong when you're doing that. It is simply a sign of disrespect to the origins and to the people who actually are artisinal Italian.

                                                          Still, it's not as bad as Stouffer's marketing frozen microwaveable panini...

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            There is no "Chinese" language. Period. This is a highly political question, I realise, but none of my Sinitiphone friends consider Mandarin, Cantonese,Toysun, Etc., Etc., to be dialects.

                                                            1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                              Which raises the question of whether, in the Chinese context, does 'right names' deal with pronunciation and plural endings, or with names as represented by certain written symbols, or is the focus on concepts.


                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                That's an excellent question. I do not know. Perhaps this deserves its own thread. I'd love to know.

                                                    2. re: Panini Guy

                                                      Have you noticed restaurants that list a beef sandwich as coming "with au jus"? They're saying "with with juice"! That's just like saying what Panini Guy pointed out: "carne asada steak," meaning "meat grilled steak". Or how about restaurants that list one tamale for a price. The singular of this food is "tamal" and the the plural is "tamales". There is no such thing as a "tamale," although I confess that I have given in to popular usage on the "tamale" pronunciation only. To do otherwise, just makes me sound affected, but I know it's wrong. Ah, the power of popular culture!

                                                      1. re: gfr1111

                                                        Excuse me, but in English we normally put the adjective before the noun. So 'carne asada steak' should translate as 'grilled meat steak', or maybe even 'grilled-meat steak', since 'carne asada' is being used as an adjective modifying steak. Is that any less natural than 'chicken fried steak'?

                                                        Yes, I am being picky, but isn't that what this thread is all about?

                                                        Often when a word or phrase crosses over into another language, the individual parts loose their meaning. 'au jus' becomes a noun (or adjective) as opposed to prepositional phrase (there are other 'au ...' French phrases in English). 'carne asada' becomes an adjective. 'tamales' gets treated as a normal English plural.

                                                        An older example is 'algebra' - how many of us recogize the Arabic 'al' article? Or the 'al' in alcohol? Do you say 'the alcove'?


                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                          Carne asada steak - Isn't that "meat grilled steak" following the modifier in after the noun (grilled meat changes to meat grilled), same as Italian "pomodoro fresco" = fresh tomato, and French "boeuf hache" = chopped beef?
                                                          Gotta' love linguistics.
                                                          Paulj - I respectfully disagree still. The world has evolved so much and globalization is making a lot of words anglocized. What a pity. We should be able to keep food names from middle eastern, european and south american countries no problem. You just have to look at Hawaii and how different their phonemics are; what a shame to standardize everything. I love the ethnicity found in North America; can't really be matched in many other places in the world.

                                                        2. re: gfr1111

                                                          (to gfr1111)
                                                          Heh...you're right, seeing as it's French, it should be, "avec au jus"...Heh Heh.
                                                          No, seriously, being a martinet about food lingo as it emigrates and immigrates is like trying to hold back the sea.

                                                          1. re: gfr1111

                                                            I just learned from Good Eats that there is another food item with a messed up plural: pease.

                                                            As put in the wiki article for 'pea':
                                                            "According to etymologists, the term was taken from the Latin pisum and adopted into English as the mass noun pease, as in pease pudding. However, by analogy with other plurals ending in -s, speakers began construing pease as a plural and constructing the singular form by dropping the "s", giving the term "pea". This process is known as back-formation."


                                                            1. re: gfr1111

                                                              Actually it means "of juice". Still incorrect as you say, but just wanted to jump on the bandwagon in the spirit of this thread ;)

                                                  2. Hi katiepie,

                                                    No, I've never seen that commercial. I never watch commercials, period. Not bragging. Not at all. I admit to watching a whole lotta TV, but I just channel surf when a commercial comes on. A practice your current situation prompts me to heartily recommend to you.

                                                    Now, let's get down to business. You are confused by the fog of disinformation the fine people at Nabisco can afford to constantly bombard the innocent snack vulnerable (addicted?) viewer with because of all those unconscionable tax breaks major corporations have been wallowing in for the last few years...

                                                    As usual I digress, or I'm confused - but I'm not at all confused about the difference between a delicious, crusty, chewy piece of locally produced french bread and a nondescript - nondescript except for the word "tasteless" - mass produced and mass marketed cracker. And I suspect what's really got you confused is NOT the difference between bruschetta and crostini - which is probably negligible or at least moot, but why would an agribusiness mass produced cracker try to call itself either crostini OR bruschetta in the first place? (hint: to sell more crackers) Only foodies would debate the absurdity of the fine points of distinguishing crostini from bruschetta anyway, and we're not foodies here - we're chowhounds, right?

                                                    So, we don't care WHAT you call it, we just care how it TASTES. And this so-called "socialble" cracker has absolutely no business calling itself EITHER bruschetta OR crostini. Whatever it calls itself, or whatever it's nouveau riche social climbing aspirations. But BOTH bruschetta AND crostini have the God given ability - with the right toppings of course, of tasting divinely delicious. And despite its sad crackerish aspirations to be more than what it is - a mass produced little rectangle full of refined starches, simple sugars, partially hydrogenated fat and chemicals - "Socialble" crackers are never going to rise any higher in the edible class structure than Ritz crackers - well, maybe if you were to top them with beluga caviar.

                                                    34 Replies
                                                    1. re: niki rothman

                                                      Niki, the point is that they are calling the salad/topping bruschetta rather than referring to the leavened product.

                                                      1. re: pgokey

                                                        Same as all the people who call "sashimi" (raw stuff) "sushi" (vinagared rice plus stuff).

                                                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                          Does that mean that if friends ask me to "go out for sushi" we can't eat some sashimi too? It's become a catch-all word for a whole class of food. Words change their meaning as they're adopted into general use.
                                                          That's going to keep happening now that we have let "the masses" into the food game. Not just for elitists anymore. There isn't a rulebook, dictionary or penalty box. No arbiter of what "is and isn't."
                                                          What I find appalling might not upset you in the very least. My classic is your stuck-in-the-mud. We're all probably lucky there's no Food Police.

                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                            Unfortunately, there are all too many foodies whose egos are so fragile that they need the reassurance of thinking they are more sophisticated and intelligent than the chowhounds who just care about deliciousness and how to obtain it. I've been sneered at (she actually used the word) by a fooodie food police patrolwoman here who needed to feel superior by correcting my use of the word "yam" when apparently there are no such things outside of mainland Africa, and "high" tea, when apparently what gets served in the States should be always be called "afternoon" tea. My response was, that in case of yams versus sweet potatoes, I really needed to be able to have some simple method, like a word (!), so my husband would easily understand for shopping list purposes, as most markets sell light skinned sweet potatoes and the dark skinned, pardon my French - "yams", which I wanted him to bring home. In the case of "high" tea versus "afternoon" tea, the person who asked me to find "high" tea for her was an authentic Englishwoman who had a good laugh when I told her how I had been "sneered" at here by the superior American foodie food policewoman. Personally, if I had the choice, I'd much rather have dinner with a chowhound than a foodie!

                                                            1. re: niki rothman

                                                              Chowhound? Foodie? My grandfather always said that he didn't care what we called him as long as we called him for dinner!

                                                              There is a place and a reason for knowing correct food terminology but there are so many of the self-appointed food police who really are quite provincial, like your Patrolwoman. Sweet potatoes are commonly called yams in much of the South where they're grown - says so right on the crates. Probably because there's so much African influence from the past that continues today through the ports in major Gulf cities. Maybe because we see no reason to use a bunch of syllables when one will do. So whether they're technically yams or not, too bad. That's what we call 'em, Ms. Police Smarty Pants. The purpose of words is to communicate.

                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                "The purpose of words is to communicate."

                                                                Thank you. That point is lost so often.

                                                            2. re: MakingSense

                                                              MakingSense, you can eat anything you want and call it anything you like. I was just pointing out that calling "sashimi" "sushi" was the same as calling the salad/topping "bruschetta". These words don't come from English; and while you might change their meanings as you adopt them, it won't change the use of the words in the countries or origin. I don't think it is elitist to learn other languages.

                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                Hi Sam,

                                                                I'm curious, as Italian is a language my understanding of which is mostly limited to what I've picked up watching "The Sopranos" (I wonder how "gabagool" is actually spelled and what it is - some sort of cold cut deli meat, but I've just never been bold enough to go into an Italian deli and request it!), but more to the point - what is the difference between bruschetta and crostini anyway? Honestly, I'm not ashamed of my ignorance. However, I do know the difference between a yummy piece of Italian bread and a "socialble" cracker! I'm guessing bruschetta might be related to the English word "brush" as in brushing some olive oil on bread, and crostini sounds like "crust" but as to what the fine points are that distinguish them - I'm clueless.

                                                                  1. re: niki rothman

                                                                    gabagool is really capicola (sp)....either hot or sweet and its a ham product used in sandwich making or in antipasta

                                                                    1. re: janebono

                                                                      That makes me think of how those of us with Southern Italian roots say mozzarella, sorpresata, and best of all MANICOTTI.

                                                                  2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                    Sam, I understood exactly what you meant. The discussion in this thread has been about the problems we're having increasingly between "purists" who know what certain foods are and would perhaps like to see them prepared in the traditional manner and the way the names of those foods have started to be casually applied to bastardized versions of those foods.
                                                                    Ultimately, it's about language which can't be controlled. As much as it pains you to see "sushi/sashimi" confused or others to see "bruschetta" misapplied, the horse is out of the barn.
                                                                    When we popularize things, we contribute to their mass appeal. People latch onto them without really understanding them and make whatever changes they desire. Who's to say they can't? A lot of people like California Rolls...

                                                                    1. re: MakingSense

                                                                      I agree with that point in theory, but I think in this particular commercial, we're not seeing a populus using a word incorrectly -- rather, we're watching Nabisco try to pull one over on unsuspecting viewers. Even cheap chain restaurants serve bruschetta that is made with BREAD. It's just freaking bread! I think that's what's so annoying about this commercial -- the fact that NO ONE calls crackers bruschetta. Correct me if you've ever heard anyone say that before, but I have known plenty of non-Italian, non-foody, non-wordy folks who still know that bruschetta involves sliced bread.

                                                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                                                        This has been an interesting tangent you've been on here.
                                                                        I like both sides of the equation. Tasty food is tasty food no matter what the name of it is. Bastardized or not. OTOH, I think that far too much of society is going through a "Dumbing down" lately that sometimes you have to set a benchmark of what something is so that things don't get too confusing. Not to mention, unintentionally misrepresented.
                                                                        I for one would've been happier to see them call them bruschetta crackers rather than hijack the word bruschetta.

                                                                        Just my 2c worth.


                                                                        1. re: Adrienne

                                                                          We shouldn't judge by our circle or even by the food media.
                                                                          Someone has already given the example of "bruschetta chicken" at a chain restaurant, which is probably an indication that "bruschetta" has come to mean "the topping" in the much broader common vernacular. Advertisers study every word they put in expensive campaigns like this before they spend millions. They're not aimed at the educated food world. Even within the "gourmet" sector, I've seen jars labeled "bruschetta" at expensive shops and farmers' markets for those who don't want to make their own. Those people may well put it on grilled bread but perhaps they'll use it as dip, stuffings, or toppings - Bruschetta Chicken anyone? Might make a great omelet...

                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                            I posted this once before but was censured - probably b/c I was so incensed I really went off ...

                                                                            but I was at a 4th of July cookout where I brought bread to grill and bruschetta topping of eggplant,tomatoes, and basil that had been well macerated. (it was good :)
                                                                            anyway, so my first response to what i was bringing "oh you call it the snotty way, americans call it bru-shetta, you just call it that." i don't know how serious my friend was but i responded with a laugh and "that's what we (italians) call it."
                                                                            next, i was at the cookout, and one of the few people who actually tried it said
                                                                            - oh -what's this?
                                                                            -I saw that Italian cook on food channel say it doesn't matter "bru-schetta" or "bru-shetta."
                                                                            -well, it's SPELLED bru-schetta, but no one's policing it.
                                                                            the next day, still incensed by my well-educated friends telling me how to pronounce something in my father's native language - ok, not going to digress too much - but then I saw this post. ok, so it's not just with me.

                                                                          2. re: Adrienne

                                                                            Sometimes the one with the most money wins. Advertising repeated often enough to the point of becoming a meme has the potential to change language.

                                                                            Sometimes you don't even need outbound advertising, just ubiquity of presence. Starbucks has forever corrupted "macchiato" with that caramel concoction of theirs - every indie shop has to qualify what new customers "mean" when they ask for a macchiato.

                                                                            Likewise, Starbucks, Dunkin', Panera and countless gas stations with automatic dispensers have taken ridiculous liberties with cappuccino - a drink which, when served in anything larger than a six-ounce cup, is a caffe latte, or just "latte" (which means milk, of course).

                                                                            Everyone else just has to live with it. I'm actually surprised Starbucks hasn't given Sesame Street a billion dollars to replace "20" with "venti".

                                                                          3. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                            To expand on Sam, here is a point some of you may not have considered: how altering a word's name leads to altered expectations. The difference between sushi and sashimi is an example I deal with regularly.

                                                                            When I tell some people I'm having sushi for lunch, they'll respond "how can you eat raw fish? I'd never eat sushi." Granted, I then have an opportunity to educate them, but how many opportunities have they missed to experience ths wonderful food -- based on a common misperception?

                                                                            How many people will eat the "brushetta" above, not like it -- and avoid actual brushetta, based on this misinformation?

                                                                            1. re: Richard 16

                                                                              The bigger problem is that they'll probably like it just fine. It's sort of a lowest common denominator type food. Simple tastes that everybody already likes that are easy to fix. Not far off the regular off-the-rack salsa that already out-sells ketchup in the US. Sounds a little more high-brow and hooks into the Italian trend. Now "bruschetta" is starting to show up in jars already prepared like salsa. Another marketing triumph. Another food product to sell.
                                                                              Mostly, this is because American cooks have bypassed learning technique and have gone straight to watching TV cooks show them how to do single dishes on the Food Network. "Oh! I can make Bruschetta!" And they have no idea what it is. They make substitutions, deletions, and alterations at will and still think it's the real deal. No reason why you can't add some jalapenos and cilantro to that bruschetta for a little Mexican flair is there?

                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                Two of Bittman's (How to Cook Everything) 19 variations on bruschetta is:
                                                                                2: Minced fresh or how chiles, especially with tomatoes.
                                                                                3: Chopped fresh herbs
                                                                                Since jalapenos are chiles, and cilantro is a fresh herb ...

                                                                                Now replace the toasted bread with totopos, and you get 'nachos' :-)

                                                                                Add some smoked paprika and you've got a tapa :-) In fact one of my Spanish cookbooks does list a number of tapas 'canapes' that are served on toasted baguette rounds.

                                                                                It is hard to keep the 'real deal' in Tuscany anymore.


                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                  Tapas "canapes" on toasted baguette slices are all over Spain -- in Basque they're called "pintxos".

                                                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                    I just tried to say "pintxos" about 100 times out loud - with a slightly different pronunciation, inflection, and syllable stress each time (I'm alone, thank God). Once I got started I just could not stop myself! And no doubt I was mispronouncing it every time. Reminds me that it's much more fun to pronounce French "pintxos" as "hore doove rez". But, I don't care what you call me, just don't call me late for dinner (or any other chow!).
                                                                                    It's no wonder linguists still cannot agree on the origins of the Basque language! My own theory is that the Basque highlands were the last lonely redoubt of the Neanderthals about 50,000 years ago when our more modern human species ancestors drove them to extinction. In any case, whether it bears traces of atavistic Neanderthal influence or not, Basque cuisine is among my very favorites!

                                                                                    1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                      It's a funny word, but just in case you needed to know, it's pronounced "PEEN-chos". "Tx" in Basque is "ch" in English... so Txakoli, the wine that tastes like the bastard child of vinho verde and cava, is "chah-koh-LEE".

                                                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                        Thanks Ubergeek! And thanks to the SF chowhounds who so kindly responded to my most recent query there about where to find tongue, we'll be going to some Basque restaurants around SF for their tongue specials very soon. So, now, thanks to you, I'll be sure to start the meal by asking what kind of PEEN-chos they have. I can't wait. I really do love Basque food. Honestly, I like it better, in general, than either French, Portugese, or Spanish food - the closest other cuisines. Why is that? Such a broad generalization but I do love their flavor profiles. One of the best meals I ever ate consisted of Basque soup, sweetbreads, and osso bucco. So homey yet sophisticated.

                                                                                        1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                          Pinchos in Colombia are skewered meats.

                                                                                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                            Hi Sam,
                                                                                            My Spanish dictionary says "pincho" means thorn, and the verb "pinchar" means to wound or prick. Interesting, no? You can see the connection. With the skewered meat, but not with the appetizers a la Basque. Linguistically, as I noted above, the Basque language does its own thing completely.

                                                                                            1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                              Niki, the Mods will kick us right off if you keep that up but don't make assumptions from modern dictionaries. A substantial number of Spanish words are from Arabic, dating to 800 years of occupation of the Iberian peninsula by the Moors. The Spanish verb "pinchar" could easily have also derived from Basque. Might have been a transliteration of a spoken word when people first began to write. Languages develop over time from many sources. Basque affected French as well as Spanish and there are many traces of it in the dialects near that region.

                                                                                              1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                Oh, I dunno - it seems the subject, as in plain grammatical structural subject, of my little etymological post was actually skewered meat and appetizers. But in any case, I appreciate your concern for pertinence. In my world there is only one thing more important than food, and that is kindness. We must be kind to the chow monitors. They aren't getting paid enough to put up with all the non-food related tangents that we ALL have such a hard time keeping out of our discourse. Someone should launch another fallback website for chowish threads that take off into the non-food related universe.

                                                                                                1. re: niki rothman

                                                                                                  Seems like we end up on a lot of tangents with food words. This whole thread started with "what is brushetta or brusketta?" anyway.
                                                                                                  I'll bet there are more problems over food words than any other words because wherever people go - whether they're fighting or vacationing or as merchants or whatever - they gotta eat. When they find something they like, they ask "Hey, what is this stuff?" and "How do you cook it?" When they get back home, they cook something like it. OK, so they miss - not quite the same. They don't have exactly the same ingredients. And they maybe mess up the word a little too, so in their own language, it gets changed and pretty soon it's a different word.

                                                                                                  That's why I've always thought that the "who invented pasta" and other "authenticity" arguments can get pretty ridiculous. At its roots, most of the food we eat is related in more ways than we suspect, linguistically and otherwise, if we look far back enough.
                                                                                                  Looking at Paulj's posting on Pinchos Morunos, it's possible that the Moors might have even influenced the Basques, who just spelled the word differently than today's Spanish spelling. The Moors moved across the Pyrenees in the early 700s. Then of course you do wonder if European explorers carried those tapas to Asia or if they saw satay there and carried the idea to Latin America where Sam finds pinchos everywhere...

                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                    Making Sense, you're REALLY making a LOT of sense. That's a very pleasureable and mind boggling insight. Is Basque food really as distinctive as one might assume, given the liguistic oddities, or is it more a heterogenous amalgam from perhaps even as far as Asia, from where traders on the silk route shared many a dinner with Moors. Recently there was an interesting article in the NY Times about how chickens were long thought to date in the New World from the time of the Conquistadores, who did indeed bring them on their galleons. But carbon dating of chicken bones that were probably part of a Pre-Columbian funeral feast were dated at hundreds of years prior to Columbus! Now archeologists think chicken (yum! chicken!) actually arrived on Western Hemisphere shores via Polynesian canoe, and before that from early Asian explorers of Polynesia who probably came all the way from China. I guess the world indeed was round long before Columbus figured it out!

                                                                                            2. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                              In 'The New Spanish Table', Pinchos Morunos are translated as Moorish kababs, and grouped under tapas.

                                                                                              P Casas in her original Tapas books describes the comon tapas of San Sebastian (Basque country) as pinchos, 'that is foods that you can easily pickup with your fingers and eat without the need for a plate'.

                                                                                              I'm tempted to think of the English 'pinch' but the dictionary definitions are:
                                                                                              (aguijón) prickle, thorn
                                                                                              (de aduanero) sampling stick (of customs agent)
                                                                                              (brocheta) skewer
                                                                                              (tapas) hors d'oeuvres


                                                                                      2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                        I'm not sure that's correct. Pintxos is the basque term for tapas (or little bites, or whatever). The "canape" on bread is called a montadito. I'm not sure if the word pintxos has come to mean something closer to canape or if this is what they tell the tourists for simplicity, because this isn't the first time I've heard this.
                                                                                        Here's some pages with photos from about.com with examples of pintxos, many of which don't include any bread: http://gospain.about.com/od/basquecou...

                                                                        2. Did anyone see Hell's Kitchen on Monday? One of the cheftestants decided he would make mac and cheese and then call it cassoulet. Despite the fact that neither of them include any common ingredients.

                                                                          One one hand, yes, we all are demonstrating that we have too much time on our hands ;> On the other hand, if this trend continues from the home to the restaurant, it gets confusing. I was dining out and saw "Peking" duck on a menu when they meant "Pekin". Best I know is that Peking is a preparation and that Pekin is a breed.. And this was in a fairly upscale place that should have know better. Nitpicky? Yes. However, I am expecting the people who prepare food in a professional atmosphere to live up to their supposedly superior knowledge in the same fashion that I expect not to have to point out where the dipstick is on my car to a mechanic at Jiffy Lube.

                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: dalaimama

                                                                            The Sociables ad (I haven't seen it) is, by definition, for marketing purposes. It is not like a three star restaurant has made a travesty out of a classic Italian food. BIG distinction that was not appreciated by some folks who take things too seriously.

                                                                            1. re: Gosh

                                                                              I totally get your point, however it is a slippery slope and I am tired of common usage replacing proper terminology and proper grammar. As a nation, we don't seem to care any more and if we do care, we are "taking things too seriously."

                                                                              Marketing is responsible for shaping the perceptions of the populace and, frankly, is going to have a far stronger impact that a travesty created by a three star restaurant. Major marketing of "bruschetta chicken" (chicken with tomato salad on top) at chain restaurants and the Sociables "bruschetta" will turn the original and correct usage of the term as a grilled slice of bread with olive oil on it into a reference to tomato salad of some sort. Tomato salad and a piece of bread are not the same thing at all. Not by a long shot. Mac and cheese is not cassoulet.

                                                                              Ketchup isn't a vegetable either.

                                                                              As someone upthread said, it's like calling a chair a door. Banana Republic offered a "Fair Aisle" sweater last fall. Aisle and Isle being obviously the same thing since they sound the same.

                                                                              Just call me Conan the Grammarian

                                                                              1. re: dalaimama

                                                                                Especially when that chicken could be called "chicken a la checca" (which nobody can ever pronounce) and it would be just as fancy-sounding and more correct.

                                                                                1. re: dalaimama

                                                                                  True that mass marketing, unfortunately, serves as education for way too many Americans. However, as I see it, Nabisco does not have an obligation to keep the spirit and definition of bruschetta accurate.

                                                                                  1. re: Gosh

                                                                                    Nabisco's a food company, I don't see why they should have to be accurate. If we can't hold professionals to some standard, well then...

                                                                                    The only reason they get away with it is that most Americans don't know the difference between bruschetta and the tomato topping. And I don't think Nabisco does, either, sadly.

                                                                                    Nabisco couldn't get away with such lazy culinary language if they were advertising, say, fondue, and called bread cubes rather than the stuff in the pot "fondue". Americans know better, and would probably not buy the product. Gosh, would it not irritate you then? Or with my previous example of the shrimp fettuccine - if Nabisco called the shrimp the fettuccine rather than the pasta, would that not be irksome?

                                                                                    1. re: pgokey

                                                                                      I don't get irritated by things that are unimportant. If millions of Americans think bruschetta is the topping, what the big deal?

                                                                                      1. re: pgokey

                                                                                        "Nabisco couldn't get away with such lazy culinary language..fondue...Americans know better, and would probably not buy the product."

                                                                                        HUH? We're not going to buy something just because it was given a funny name? If it's marketed right, it hardly matters what it's called. Care to explain why the makers of TWIX, Magic Shell, Tater Tots, etc. haven't all gone out of business?

                                                                                        1. re: pgokey

                                                                                          Sure, stuff like that can drive you crazy but what good does it do?

                                                                                          Like your shrimp fettucine, consider Shrimp Scampi. ShrimpShrimp. Dumb, huh?
                                                                                          Google it and you get 696,000 references for lots of recipes with that name including from Epicurious, the Food Network, Wild Oats, Martha Stewart Allrecipes and Saveur - all sources frequently quoted and linked to on CH. And it's all over restaurant menus, prepared frozen foods, and in common use as the name of a dish.

                                                                                          People like something that tastes good - just like CHs do - and they love that something sounds a little fancy and they can serve it for company or a special meal. Tomatoes on toast sounds sooooo ordinary while Bruschetta - ah! that's Italian and a little special. Make it easy with crackers and they're in heaven. Same thing in their eyes because they have never been exposed to the real thing.

                                                                                          We accept lots of things that have been changed. Versions of classics that are low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, "deconstructed," made with completely different ingredients and still called the same name. Many of these are done by high-end chefs. Not that we would want to eat this "cracker bruschetta" (no slur intended) or all of the things that are done in the name of "innovation," but why do we accept some and castigate Nabisco for democratizing the process?

                                                                                    2. re: Gosh

                                                                                      The mistake is not limited to the socialables ad - it's quite common, actually.

                                                                                      What's "too seriously", anyway? What's the brightline between simply not liking it when a word is misused, and taking it "too seriously?"

                                                                                  2. It is Sandra Lee style "gourmet". Kraft and Nabisco can't touch anything without making some food abomination out of it.
                                                                                    I can't wait until they come up with parmesan cheese whiz. It will open up whole new ways of totally grossing me out with food.

                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                      For some reason, in our old house we used to get a Kraft recipe magazine. It was always great bathroom reading. "Oh HONEY! Let's make Ritz cracker 'apple' pie even though Ritz crackers cost more than apples!"

                                                                                      "Hey, what's this month's shockingly bad Mexican-inspired recipe?" "Enchilada rice casserole!" "Yum. Mole for dinner?"

                                                                                      1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                        Parmesan cheese whiz!! There is something so wrong with that picture. And yet, it has a strange appeal like something you might sneak home from the grocery store in a small brown paper bag so that you don't get caught with it!

                                                                                        1. re: Hooda_Guest

                                                                                          Ever had Fromage Fort? Centuries-old French way of using bits of left over cheese to make a very tasty cheese spread. French Cheese Whiz?
                                                                                          Jacque Pepin recently wrote an article about it that was in some newspapers. We've been making it for years in my house and have done it with ends of blocks of Parm combined with a little milder soft cheese. Great spread.

                                                                                          1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                            No, I have never heard of this but, I'm going to see if I can find the article. I certainly have a fridge full of left over cheese odds and ends. Thanks so much for the tip!

                                                                                            1. re: Hooda_Guest

                                                                                              Several threads on CH w/in the past year on Fromage Fort so do a search. You can scrape off the moldy stuff and cut off dried parts from your odds and ends of cheese. Add a bit off wine, garlic if you like, herbs maybe. Into the Cuisinart. Stuff is really good, especially once you get the hang of how to best mix the leftovers you have and season them right.

                                                                                              For all we know this could have been the inspiration for the original Cheese Ball or Cheez Wiz. Not like Kraft and Nabisco are terribly creative. They just take good ideas and mass market them - like bruschetta.

                                                                                            2. re: MakingSense

                                                                                              Made a batch of this the last day of our stay in France, we'd been loading up at all the local markets on brilliant cheeses for a couple of weeks. Cleaned out the fridge, added all the herbs and a bit of the local wine and mustard. Took it with us on the plane with a couple of baguettes, food of the gods.

                                                                                              1. re: Scrapironchef

                                                                                                Not only have you all educated me, you have made me very hungry!! I did manage to find the article by Jacques Pépin (or at least his recipe from the article) and now I have a project for when my lovely work week comes to an end. Thanks so much for all the input on this-I have really learned something new.

                                                                                                  1. re: itryalot


                                                                                                    here's a link to a discussion, with recipe. It is really delicious.

                                                                                        2. All this mislabeling and shaving the truth in the name of marketing is a slippery slope. If we can accept something as trivial as the nabisco ad as 'correct', then we can also accept anything else shoved down our throats by politicians and any one else for that matter who has an agenda. The truth doesn't matter, it's only the packaging that counts!

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: katnat

                                                                                            It's not so much "shoving down our throats" as eating quite willingly because we often don't question. Think of the recent trend toward whole grain foods. So many people jumped on the bandwagon without thinking critically. Adding whole grains was good regardless of where you added them, right? So food manufacturers were more than happy to provide sources including whole grain chocolate chip cookies and whole grain snack crackers with lots of fats. Those things were loaded with calories and artificial flavors and the whole grains hardly made them healthy choices but people piled them into shopping carts. We can't blame the marketers if we don't think for ourselves.

                                                                                            1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                              Hallelujah to this MakingSense. All the hype about organic and slow foods and "natural" medicines is not based on any hard data. It's just good marketing. Let's face it, we're all gullible at a certain level.

                                                                                              Katnat, I tend to agree with slippery slope arguments. However, ads for products like Sociables are regulated by FTC so, if there were substantive untruths being conveyed, they would do something. Yeah, that's counting on the gummint which is always a bad idea. However, Nabisco's competitors would surely bring it to FTC's attention if there were a mistruth that was significant. Ergo, while this may offend the sensibilities of some of the sensitive and persnickety posters here, it is not important. If we learn that FTC took an action against Nabisco for the ad, I'll eat these words.

                                                                                              On the other hand, generalized hype about organics, herbal medicines, etc. is not really regulatable. Yeah, there are regulations regarding how much pesticide, fertilizer, etc. can be used to grow the stuff but the general hype about how much "better" organic is cannot be subjected to any kind of objective review.

                                                                                          2. I'm sitting here thinking that those marketing guys at Nabisco are geniuses- what a great way to get people talking about a product!

                                                                                            1. Here is what I know...or at least was told. My best friend was the Proprietor of a local Carrabbas (don't hate...at least she works. God forbid its for a chain!) and they were given hours upon hours of training in every aspect of it. One of the specifics she was taught was that the correct pronounciation is brusKEtta. BruSCHetta is a womans va-jay-jay, hoo-ha, ying, peachatootie or any other term you choose for the private areas of a woman.

                                                                                              Call up Carabbas Corporate to complain...thats what they were told.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: chelleyd01

                                                                                                Boy, am I glad that I scrolled down to the end of this thread before putting my two cents in-- I was getting way too worked up, and you have provided me with much-needed comic relief! I laughed out loud. Now I will go back and make a more tempered version of my original comment!

                                                                                                1. re: chelleyd01

                                                                                                  Attention: I will give $100 to any Chowhound who wins next year's Pillsbury Bake-Off with a dessert called a "peachatootie."

                                                                                                2. I haven't seen the commercial in question, but the description immediately reminded me of the Kraft Foods commercials that ran from the 1960s to the '80s.... horrendous, nausea-inducing recipes involving mayonaise, cream cheese, CheesWhiz (sp? certainly tm). THis thread made me laugh.

                                                                                                  1. Ok, so we have established that in proper Italian usage, 'Bruscheta' refers to the toasted bread. Is there a particular name to the tomato relish or sauce (salsa?) that is often served on top of that toast?

                                                                                                    Nabisco is not inventing any usage here. It is just make use of terminology that has become wide spread in the USA. I first became aware of the word some years ago when I bought a container of the topping at Trader Joes. In fact, I just bought a jar labelled 'Trader Joe's Mixed Grilled Vegetable BRUSCHETTA', and there is no toast in the jar. So why pick on Nabisco? Why didn't you authenticity police stop TJ from miss using the term five years ago? In all likelihood they didn't pioneer the misusage either.

                                                                                                    What probably happened was that restaurants used the word to apply to the toast with the topping. Since the topping is more distinctive than the toast customers came to associate 'bruschetta' with the topping itself. It is possible that early on groceries sold the premade topping as 'bruschetta topping', followed by the inevitable shortening of the term. This kind of thing happens all the time when words pass from one language to another.


                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                      To me it's just marketing. You give something that is familiar and approachable a cool European or other foreign sounding name and people will flock to it and gleefully and proudly serve it to their friends. People want to be associated with "classy" things so if you as a marketer can make it easy for them it can be a slam dunk (hopefully). Note: Before someone tells me, I'm aware that bruschetta is not fancy or "classy" per se but to many it could be perceived that way.

                                                                                                      1. re: paulj

                                                                                                        Because TJs isn't advertising it on TV.

                                                                                                        As for me, I am deprived in living no where near a TJs. Never been to one so I have no idea what they sell. Wish they'd build one here, though!

                                                                                                        1. re: dalaimama

                                                                                                          Come to think of it, I've never seen this Nabisco ad. Must because the low-brow channels that I like to watch don't receive attention from these big advertisers. :-)


                                                                                                          1. re: dalaimama

                                                                                                            Write them an email and get your neighbors to do the same. TJ's is so good that if there IS one someplace you drive for family vacations it's well worth it to stock up the car, or get a U-Haul trailer to bring home the goodies! I'm serious. TJ's has low prices, best quality, wonderful delicious house brands of most things the chowhound needs to eat, serious commitment to no dyes, weird chemicals or preservatives, envoironmental goodness, and I even hear they treat the workers very well.

                                                                                                        2. I will leave you all with this.

                                                                                                          "The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names."

                                                                                                          - Chinese proverb


                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Davwud

                                                                                                            Here's one for you.

                                                                                                            "Much ado about nothing"

                                                                                                            Bill Shakespeare

                                                                                                          2. Maybe we should be happy that the Nabisco commercial used 'brusheta' rather than 'bruschetta' (the word isn't spelled out, is it?)

                                                                                                            Then we could define:
                                                                                                            'bruschetta' - the Italian word for burnt toast (ok - charcoal grilled bread) used to taste olive oil
                                                                                                            'brusheta' - the American word for an Italian STYLE tomato relish eaten with crisp bread or crackers
                                                                                                            'bruschetta crowd' - a British term for certain political or social discussion/blogging etc.


                                                                                                            1. I think it comes from the growth of Foodie culture. The Sociables crackers may be delicious, but are not inherently "Foodie". Nabisco knows this so they try to throw Foodie buzzwords at housewives to make the product more marketable amongst those who want to impress their friends. It's worse than Sandra Lee in my opinion!

                                                                                                              1. From the Nabisco recipes website

                                                                                                                "Bruschetta" TRISCUIT (quotes are theirs)

                                                                                                                Actually there are 3 versions

                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                  Instead of going to the trouble of making your own topping to put on those Rachel Ray Triscuits, you can buy jars of Bruschetta from Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Walden-Farms-Br...
                                                                                                                  The product description recommends "using it on pasta, to make your own pizza, to create a California style omelette or anywhere else tomatoes are used."

                                                                                                                  1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                    What's a California style omelette? I know what a Santa Barbara omelette contains - avocados and olives.

                                                                                                                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                                                      Those words were in quotation marks because they were written by some marketing people from Walden Farms to sell their jars of Bruschetta. I suppose they thought a "California style omelette" sounded jazzy or something. I've never heard of a Santa Barbara omelette.
                                                                                                                      As far as I'm concerned, if you want to name an omelette, it can take it name from wherever you are when you make it. I usually just include whatever happens to strike my fancy at the market or have in the fridge. Sort of improv food.

                                                                                                                      1. re: MakingSense

                                                                                                                        "Vegetable crisper omelette"
                                                                                                                        "Back of the second shelf omelette"
                                                                                                                        "Scary science experiment Tupperware omelette"

                                                                                                                        Certain names imply certain ingredients, though, viz. a Denver omelette. In California, "Santa Barbara" usually means avocadoes and sometimes olives, but in the Midwest it's often just "California" (and may contain icky sprouts).

                                                                                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                          You are TOO funny!!! Is there anything more ad hoc than an omelette? Mine never last long enough to name.

                                                                                                                2. As I scrolled thru this thread, I couldn't help but be reminded of my "favorite" word mis-use. It's deeply food-related, and I didn't notice that anyone mentioned it earlier (but I'm not going back to confirm that).

                                                                                                                  It is the constant mis-use of the term "gourmand" when the writer means "gourmet." It's everywhere. It drives me up a wall.

                                                                                                                  Just my little rant.

                                                                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                                                                                    Hear, hear. (As opposed to here, here.)

                                                                                                                    1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                      Fascinating thread. Ignorance about food seems to be epidemic these days. I'm all for being adventurous and creating our own takes on recipes, but I think the classic recipes are just that, classic. This changing recipes, definitions, etc is just life these days I'm afraid. Why can't we say "Would you like to come with me?" instead of "Would you like to come with?" Why does everything have to be an acronym now? Are we just getting lazy or dumb? And no,,, I don't think red velvet cake is red velvet cake if you take out the red! I was once corrected by a chef from Sardegna on the pronunciation of bruschetta. I was embarrassed, but I'll never forget the proper pronunciation and I appreciated being told.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Texchef

                                                                                                                        Here's to you, Texchef. (I'm raising a glass.) The fact that you accept correction (as *all* of us should), and go forth and sin no more, rather than being an ego-centric culinary/linguistic anarchist, I think makes you a hound after my own heart. I'm all for innovation, but for whatever reason, some people refuse to recognise that one can innovate a dish out of existence. It does get to the point of calling a zebra a horse (however delicious both are).

                                                                                                                        1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                          Thank you, Hungry and Tex, for underlining that there is, in fact a linguistically correct word, phrase, and pronunciation for everything, including food. Innovation can be good, but not when the price is ignorance.

                                                                                                                          1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                            I know it is expected in academic writing that you give full credit for the ideas you build on, but I didn't know that was a requirement in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              Not a reqirement, but certainly a way to avoid unnecessary argument. If, say, you're discussing a "ragu", saying that you got the recipe from someone in Puglia, Calabria, Brooklyn, or Woodbridge goes a long way to clarifying what is being discussed. For that reason, when I quote a recipe, I state the provenance, not only because it clarifies things, but in terms of human interaction, it also allows eveyone an escape hatch. Cuisine in "exile" often undergoes some sort of metamorphosis, and to expect otherwise is unrealistic. It is, however, different when a name is continually misused, without innovation, in the geographic and cultural context.

                                                                                                                              1. re: hungry_pangolin

                                                                                                                                I agree. It is the continued unchecked misuse of words, whether for "trend" value or any other purpose, really, that bothers me about this commercial. The national audience for which this advertisement is intended is not only being miseducated, but the (innocent) ignorance of those Americans who either do not know what bruschetta is, or who already use the SH pronunciation, is reinforced.

                                                                                                                              2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                Yes. Just the other day I wanted to use the phrase "stick up their xxxs" while discussing this conversation with my sous chef, but I couldn't because I didn't know where that phrase originated. And since I couldn't give proper credit, I chose to remain silent.
                                                                                                                                Wait! Is that "sooz" or "sue"?

                                                                                                                              3. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                                There isn't ONE "linguistically correct pronunciation" even in the US. If we decided by consensus that the nice flat Mid Western tones of TV broadcasters were the chosen one, the speech of those in the NE from Philadelphia through NJ to Boston and Maine, especially in New York, would clearly be out of the mainstream. Educated English speakers in England, the US, Caribbean, India, Hong Kong and Australia all use different words and accents. Certainly not ignorant or inferior, just different.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Texchef

                                                                                                                              Do you want to come with?
                                                                                                                              Oh. My bad.

                                                                                                                              See? It all goes together.

                                                                                                                              1. re: salutlemonde

                                                                                                                                Oh, like the Jersey abbreviations.

                                                                                                                                California conversation:

                                                                                                                                "Excuse me, where's the soda?"
                                                                                                                                "Aisle eight, would you like me to show you?"
                                                                                                                                "No, thank you, I think I can find it myself."

                                                                                                                                New Jersey translation:


                                                                                                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                                                                                                  Or one of my favorites of Jersy-speak, near and dear to CHers: "Jeet?"

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Richard 16

                                                                                                                                    That reminds me of a 1960s Woody Allen routine about his feeling Jewish persecution everywhere he went...

                                                                                                                                    "So I asked him, 'Did you eat yet?' And he replies, 'No, Jew?'"

                                                                                                                          2. re: johnb

                                                                                                                            my favorite mispronunciation is vinegar-ette, instead of vinaigrette

                                                                                                                          3. I was just reading the 'End Vowel Ommission in NJ Italian Restaurants ' thread in 'not about food'. It got me to wondering whether the ad made another error by including the final 'a'. Should it have been 'brusket'?

                                                                                                                            Of could it be that 'bruschetta' does not exist in southern Italy (Naples and Sicily)? Is anything like this served in old Italian neighborhoods in the USA, or is a more recent import?


                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                              Bruschetta exists all over Italy in the same way that, say, dinner rolls exist all over the U.S. It is simply toasted or grilled bread that is paired with any variety of toppings, from the famous tomato and basil to truffled cheese spread to tapenade. I am guessing here, but I would say that the fact that this item is so simple is probably what kept it out of the public eye here in the U.S. for so long. You are correct when you note that the classic Italian-American red sauce restaurant in NY or Philly or Boston probably never would have put something like this on a menu... until mainstream America starting traveling to Italy in significant numbers, and thus the hunt for "authentic" Italian began, and even something as simple as toast with Italian toppings became a staple here. In fact, the more I think about it, the more intrigued I am by your observation. None of the Italian-American restos i ate in NY as a kid served bruschetta... and yet it has been served all over Italy for some time. I bet there are plenty of Italian foodss we could apply this theory to, including parmigiano reggiano. Parmigiano comes from northern Italy, and would definitely not have been the pasta cheese of choice or habit for the predominantly rural southern Italian immigrants who came here-- most of them put some sort of sheep's milk (pecorino) cheese on their pasta (not to mention that parmigiano would have been too expensive for them). My family is from Abruzzo, and I know they still prefer pecorino romano. So why and when did Parmigiano become the cheese of choice in U.S. restaurants? I think its because those first generations who traveled to Italy went to Roma, Firenze, and Milano, and picked up the habit.

                                                                                                                              1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                                Just want to point out that, while bruschetta exists everywhere in Italy, it is Roman by origin. I neglected to include this in post above. I don't know if that helps anyone in their consideration of this contentious issue (!), but I would argue that it provides a compelling argument that the Roman pronunciation (SK) if the correct one.

                                                                                                                                1. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                                  Thanks vvvindaloo for teaching me something today!

                                                                                                                                2. re: vvvindaloo

                                                                                                                                  Good points. The classic Italian joints I grw with in Brooklyn in the 50s and 60s might have offered a small plate of garlic bread, in addition to the universal plate of celery, olives, and radishes. At home, we never had it, either, though we always had a plate of freselle (or pane biscottato, those eternal dried rusks) damped with a little water, oil, garlic, oregano, and vinegar. The transformation of the Italian table in the US since the 1960s is a fascinating story: just as the Italian-American table began to fade, new immigrants came in via the loosened laws in the 60s, Americans traveled to Italy in droves, Italy itself got fat and happy, and all those once taboo imports like prosciutto started coming in.

                                                                                                                              2. On throwdown with Bobby Flay a couple of nights ago, he was doing a crepe challenge. Both he and the ladies he was challenging repeatedly said "crapes", not "creps" (rhyming with steps). How can this be??? This is right up there with "brooshetta" and "eyetalian"(Don't even get me started on that one where I follow that word saying they do not live in "eyetaly"). Not that I expect all ethnic pronunications to be perfect, but come on - these are pretty mainstream words!
                                                                                                                                Flay butchers ethnic words. This, to me, makes chefs (and the average person) sound uninformed. I don't mind when people correct my pronunciations, I welcome it. I don't want to sound stupid if I can help it. Slang is different, that is why I can accept the "fazzol" over faggioli as long as the quotation marks are around it; that way I know that they know the correct pronunciation.

                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: itryalot

                                                                                                                                  Well put. I also prefer to be (gently) corrected, but my experience has been that most people do not, and are more likely to be offended, or become defensive, when you tell them that they are incorrect.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: itryalot

                                                                                                                                    The correct French pronunciation of crepes rhymes with steps. In America most say "craypes," but that is incorrect, so Flay was right.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: briaberger

                                                                                                                                      Huh? Aren't you saying it should rhyme with steps? Flay said craypes.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: itryalot

                                                                                                                                      This whole argument is rather silly. We don't speak French, we speak English (we as in Bobby Flay, the pie ladies and a majority of Food Network viewers.) Crepes are French, but have become common enough so that the word "crepe" is well understood and is as much an English word as 'hamburger" (German.) If people say crape, that's probably what they heard growing up. Maybe someday we'll all be saying crape. I don't see why people get so upset about pronoucing adopted foreign words, especially when they don't speak the original language where the word was born.

                                                                                                                                      If we're going to be so rigid about pronunciation, then we should recognize that crêpes rhymes more closely with "step", as the final -s in French is rarely pronounced. Also, we should make sure to replicate the French 'r', which is pronounced in the back of the throat, a guttural sound similar to Scottish 'ch'. "Why don't we go to the café for lunch and get some krrhep?"

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Agent Orange

                                                                                                                                        I think that using the exact French pronunciation is nice, but not necessary. If the French can speak English with a French accent, why can't we speak French with an English or American accent?

                                                                                                                                    3. I've never seen the ad the OP mentions, but I recently saw a bag of bruschetta flavored chips in the store. They're potato chips flavored with "real tomatoes, basil and olive oil." So I'm afraid that plenty of Americans think bruschetta is a flavor. Very strange. It reminds me of a TV ad for pizza that refers to julienne peppers. I bet a lot of people have no idea what that means, or think it's a type of pepper. The ad writers put it in because it sounds "chefy," flatters the consumer, makes him/her feel sophisticated.

                                                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                        reminds me of "peperoni" which means peppers in Italian, not small little hot salami.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: fara

                                                                                                                                          I have a cousin in Italy who is fiercely vegetarian (strange, I know), and who likes to sample other "cuisines". On one of her visits to the US, she decided to stop at Pizza Hut for lunch. She ordered a personal pizza with pepperoni, expecting peppers... she was horrified by what they brought her! Funny how food gets lost in translation.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                          <plenty of Americans think bruschetta is a flavor> more than just "plenty" Americans think that... and about the same number have no clue that "Panini" in Italian is plural of sandwich.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                            I cringe whenever I see "Paninis" listed on the menu of a local cafe.
                                                                                                                                            I'm equally irritated that all appetizers seem to now be labeled "tapas."

                                                                                                                                            The biggest faux pas I've ever seen was at a Pampered Chef party. The sales rep made a "tiramisu" consisting of a brownie, topped with Cool Whip and coffee crystals. The result was gooey and tasty, but it was anything but tiramisu. To top it off, the rep was unable to pronounce tiramisu and discussed one Pampered Chef chicken recipe as "tasting exactly like something from the Olive Garden." It took me a few minutes to figure out that she considered that a positive.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                              I just saw a commercial for some frozen sandwich (lean cuisine maybe?) and they are all coo-ing over the "paninis". I burst out laughing and thought of this thread. It just sounds so wrong.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: Glencora

                                                                                                                                              Quizno's new Chicken Carbonara sandwich was probably thought up by the same folks: Chicken, bacon, mozzarella, mushrooms, creamy bacon alfredo sauce.

                                                                                                                                            3. This sounds like the inspiration for a cookbook. Sample recipes:

                                                                                                                                              10-Second Quiche -- take plain ice cream cone, fill with Cheez-Whiz.
                                                                                                                                              Bachelor Flame-Crisped Pork Belly -- take slice of bacon, ignite with Zippo.
                                                                                                                                              Boquerones Rapidos -- open can of sardines, eat directly from can with fork while standing over sink.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                                                                                                                I'd like to add a recipe for your book, Slim. "Authentic Brushetta"- take slice of white bread, pour some ready-made salsa from a jar on it... Presto!