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Misspellings

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Here's something of an odd question - does spotting a misspelling of a food item on a printed menu, sandwich board, etc. outside of a restaurant at which you've never eaten ever keep you from trying it out?

I've seen several spelling errors outside various places I've never tried along my travels of late. Some I take as proofreading oversights (e.g. misspelling "gyro" as "gryo") and some really have made me wonder enough to considering something else (e.g. misspellings such as "nocchi" or "appel pie".)

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  1. If misspellings on a board, or even on a printed menu, were to dissuade me from eating someplace I'd surely have missed an awful lot of really swell meals. One of the pleasantest dinners I had with my in-laws, just a year before Papa died, was at Restaurant Taix, a VERY old-school French place in LA, to which he had last gone in the '60s. It had obviously been an awfully long time since anyone who spoke French had been on staff, and while the food was quite good the menu was a French disaster. Everyone at the table but me was a fluent Francophone, and even I was catching some howlers. Our waiter (who didn't speak French either, though he was very sharp) took great delight in writing down our corrections and our often-ribald comments, which he promised to present to management the next day. As it happened, he intended to resign on that occasion as well ...

    1. On a Chinese takeout/ delivery menu, I am automatically suspicious if correct grammar and spelling ARE used.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LorenM

        when i lived in NYC i worked as an editor, and one day i joked that i was taking a solemn vow never to get takeout/delivery from a place with errors on the menu. well, it may have started as a joke, but guess who didn't order Chinese takeout even once in 5 years...

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          You must not like Chinese food at work or home......

          :0)

      2. Do ethnic restaurant menus count?

        Sometimes the tell-tale sign of authenticity are misspellings.

        28 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          despite my earlier post, as the years have passed i've learned to be far more tolerant of errors on any menus that require translation from a language that uses an entirely different set of characters than ours...but it still really bothers me when i see misspellings on French, Spanish, Italian, American or Mexican menus. if you take pride in your business, pay a proofreader a few bucks to make sure you're representing yourself and your product accurately.

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            >>>>if you take pride in your business, pay a proofreader a few bucks to make sure you're representing yourself and your product accurately.<<<<

            I used to edit and proof menus for a good Italian restaurant in exchange for food. What a great deal that was.

            1. re: Jay F

              sounds like it. i honestly considered going door-to-door offering my editing/proofing services to all the places whose menus needed work :)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Me, too.

              2. re: Jay F

                Wow- where do I sign? I want in on that action.

              3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                What about pluralization? Italian restaurants are always charging me for ordering cannoli, and then they serve me only one. What a ripoff!

                1. re: Steve

                  seeing/hearing errors in pluralization and misuse of apostrophes drives me batty in ANY arena, not just on restaurant menus. i cringe when crostini or panini is used singularly, or when i hear or read "crostinis" or "paninis." frittata/frittate is a problem too...but hey, at least the menu doesn't offer "cannolis!"

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    I'm a bit more forgiving with non-english words.

                    1. re: tommy

                      why? if a restaurant that serves "American" food offers a grilled cheese "sandwhich" or pie made with local "apple's," how is that any more egregious than an Italian restaurant screwing up the words i used in my example?

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Italian restaurants are in Italy. I'm guessing most of the rules of their language sorted out. Perhaps more so than English speaking countries.

                        1. re: tommy

                          Italian restaurants are in Italy.
                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~
                          you lost me there.

                          anyway, we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. doesn't matter to me whether the restaurant is in Italy, Outer Mongolia, or the good 'ol US of A...if you're serving Italian food and the dishes are traditional staples of the cuisine, i personally don't think it's too much to ask that you use accurate terminology on your menu.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I guess I appreciate that people aren't as smart and worldly as you and me. And I don't get annoyed by that fact.

                            1. re: tommy

                              but that's why i said farther up-thread that i just think restaurants should have someone give the menu a once-over. i don't expect everyone to get it right. heck, i make my share of mistakes too...which is precisely why i always have another pair (or two) of eyes look over any professional documents i prepare.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                You are not talking about typos. You are talking about having an understanding of a foreign language.

                                Regardless, I'm happy and smart and not bothered by it.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              it is accurate. it is accurate in english - the language the menu is in.

                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            because words and the rules change when they migrate from language to another. in italian, to stay with your example, panini is a plural. but the singular sandwich in english is called a panini.

                            the word banana is neither english nor german in origin - yet you are probably not offended by either "bananas" or "bananen" as the plural.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              It's just as egregious.

                          3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            If you want to lessen the discomfort, think of them as English words, borrowed from Italian, but now subject to English grammatical rules.

                            When Italian's borrow English words, what rules do they use for plurals?

                            1. re: paulj

                              Italian's or Italians? (Sorry, after reading this thread I couldn't resist ;)

                              1. re: gaffk

                                As long as it isn't pronounced Eye-talians, or worse, Eye-talian's...

                              2. re: paulj

                                The rule in Italian, not always observed, is not to change the borrowed word. Two weekend (pronounced weekEND), several hamburger (pronounced ahmBOORgur). Euro is not supposed to have a plural in any language, but English-language editors quickly decided it could be euros in nontechnical material. In Italy it is written euro but on the street one hears the occasional "euri". French is as bad as English with les médias and spaghettis.

                              3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                I'm starting to notice "cannolis" on numerous menus.

                                Next time, maybe I should ask for a cannolis.

                            2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              (This is meant to be in reply to goodhealthgourmet.)

                              You raise a question I have been asking for years, and I would dearly love to hear some theories or real answers why restaurants seem to think paying a competent translator, editor, or proofreader to polish the menu is an unnecessary expense, when they will spend a fortune on ephemera, such as cut flowers, and take care of every other detail of the establishment.

                              1. re: mbfant

                                Hear, hear. I specialize in translations for restaurants, catering companies, etc. - mostly food-centered / and/or related stuff, and you'd be surprised -- or not -- how many restos will try to save a buck (and it really doesn't cost *that* much) by having someone 'in house' translate their website or menu, with pathetic results.

                                1. re: linguafood

                                  Yes, I'm in Italy, a hard-working writer/translator, mostly about food, and I see these in-house translations all the time. Of course, the "professional" translations aren't much better (they almost never ask ME to do it). And, as you say, the price difference between what a printer provides (the source of many bad translations) and even the in-house (possibly provided by an English-speaking apprentice cook, who is probably not a word-person as well as a cook) is not that much. Are they SO miserly or do they not know the difference or do they just not care? Oh well, these are rhetorical questions. The answer is all of the above.

                                  1. re: mbfant

                                    Their loss. '-)

                            3. re: ipsedixit

                              Ethnic menus (mainly from countries that use different alphabetic or character sets) for me are different. I figure there's going to be many variations in spelling of those words when translated to English and I just leave it at that.

                              It would be interesting if someone who knew Japanese script, for instance, and saw a bunch of typos using that script on a Japanese restaurant menu, would be put off by that.

                              1. re: josquared

                                Agreed. The difference between this scenario and the one I'm assuming the OP is referring to is usually a looser grasp of English/difficulty in transliteration rather than a looser grasp of the given culinary terminology.

                            4. Are you confusing *misspellings* with *typos*......that actually may have been proofread first, but missed entirely? Or do you consider there is not a difference?

                              If I applied the same questions and standards to family or friends for invited dinners at their homes ......I bet that would have meant I should not have attended one holiday meal or special gathering in the last 50 years.

                              There's an argument here, where as to which is correct in a restaurant name *Grill* or *Grille*......

                              There's also the argument of which is correct for naming a restaurant, or referring to it. Using the fictitious place as an example:

                              @ Smith Restaurant......as opposed to @ Smith's Restaurant

                              43 Replies
                              1. re: fourunder

                                It does make me really suspicious. If an owner spends $$$ to have the menu professionally printed, why not have your college student/server proof read it first? I mean, it's like the 'window' to your establishment! Zero pride. Italian place at the Jersey shore listed "tira mia Sue". Probably made that with spongecake and cream cheese. Also "garlic nots". Yeah, kind of pisses me off.

                                1. re: chefdaddyo

                                  How about this? Let's use this as an example. As far as as I know, Peter Luger has no misspellings or typos on their menu or signage.

                                  Let's say you or someone else make reference to Peter Luger in your comments here or elsewhere where the world can read it......but you reference as *Peter Luger's* is the best or your favorite. Does that make the comments suspicious or insignificant.......is that opinion any less credible?

                                  1. re: fourunder

                                    Let's say you or someone else make [sic] reference to Peter Luger in your comments here or elsewhere where the world can read it......but you [sic] reference as *Peter Luger's* is the best or your favorite. Does that make the comments suspicious or insignificant.......is that opinion any less credible?
                                    ___________________________

                                    Good thing we are only talking about spelling and not grammar, eh? :-)

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Proper grammar in above my capabilities......or even English, for that matter, as evidence by my history here.

                                    2. re: fourunder

                                      What's wrong with Peter Luger's ? The apostrophe indicates possession, which should be correct here, as it is the steakhouse of Peter Luger. There isn't more than one 'Peter Luger' (the man) so Peter Lugers wouldn't be right. Keeping it non-possessive doesn't sound right for a restaurant named after a person either, you might say you are going to Nobu for dinner and keep it singular non-possessive, but if you are going to Morimoto, calling it Morimoto's should be just as acceptable, as it is his restaurant.

                                      1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                        Why wouldn't you say Nobu's?

                                        The restaurant is called Peter Luger. That's the way I say it and type it. Not to mention the man is long gone and it's not his restaurant.

                                        1. re: tommy

                                          Actually, Nobu was a bad example, I didn't realize it was named after someone, so, you're right, Nobu's would probably work. Take 'The French Laundry' as a better example, you wouldn't say you were going to eat at 'The French Landry's' but eating at Alain Ducasse's sounds just as right as eating at Alain Ducasse.

                                          Of course, then you have Ruth's Chris throwing a big old wrench into things. I realize that the name came about by someone names Ruth buying someone named Chris's steakhouse, but 'Ruth's Chris' just sounds like an abomination of language. 'Ruth Chris's' probably wouldn't be correct since there was never a Ruth Chris, and 'Ruth's Chris's' is just too difficult to say.

                                          1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                            I don't put possessives on restaurant names, which I think was the point being made by others and me. Peter Luger. Nobu. Ruth's Chris. Alain Ducasse. All correct, and all more pleasing to my ear.

                                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                              Although I know how the chain came to be named, I declined an invitation to dinner at Ruth's Chris SOLELY because of the awkward punctuation and iffy grammar. The name just sounds so wrong that it made me doubt I'd like their food. I've learned to trust my gut instincts, pun intended.

                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                The possessive form doesn't sound "just as right" if that's not the restaurant's name. Another personal peeve.

                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                  ugh, yes. I get so sick of hearing "Target's - Walmart's - Costco's" etc.,e tc., etc., I want to just shriek.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    It really bothers you in daily life?

                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                      We all have our pet peeves. I have to fight back the urge to punch someone in the face every time I hear someone use the term 'forever home' (usually used in reference to adopting animals, i.e. 'Help give this 8 year old Chihuahua a forever home', it's not fracking forever, it's probably for another two years until the darn thing dies).

                                                      1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                        Punching someone might lead to unwanted consequences.

                                                        1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                          That is pretty corny indeed. Haven't heard that one.

                                                        2. re: tommy

                                                          Not to answer for sunshine842, but that question could be asked of everything on this thread (but then, what's the point?). As Tute says, we all have our peeves.

                                                          Does it bother me as much as, you know, the income gap between rich and poor? No. Am I lucky to have such problems? Sure.

                                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                                            You must *really* want to punch rich people. LOL!

                                                            1. re: tommy

                                                              Come to think of it, I totally do! (Except the ones who might whisk me off to Nobu or Peter Luger.)

                                                        3. re: sunshine842

                                                          Are you sure you aren't hearing "Targets - Walmarts - Costco(e)s"? :)

                                                          How many Targets are there in your area? What do you think of Walmart's price on .... ?

                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                            I'm with sunshine842. This is also one of my (admittedly many) pet peeves. Just this week at work I asked someone where she bought the birthday cake we were eating and she said, "I got it at Costco's." Ugghhh.

                                                            And as an aside, while not as good as homemade, it was better than Whole Foods!

                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                              No, it's not being used as a plural, nor is it being used as in "Walmart's price". It's used like "I bought it at Walmart's, or "Costco's has xxx" or "Target's is running a sale on yyy" Ugh.

                                                              I live where there AREN'T any of those stores around, so it's now a non-issue. (no, I didn't move to get away from it)

                                                              and is there some reason why everybody jumped on me? Tatamagouche made the point; I was just agreeing.

                                                              1. re: sunshine842

                                                                that is the possesive as in walmart's price... the implied word is store or place - i bought it at walmart's store -

                                                                1. re: thew

                                                                  I went to K-Mart's. I'm going to Kings'. I'm getting chicken from Stop and Shop's. I love Burger King's.

                                                                  Ridiculous.

                                                                  1. re: tommy

                                                                    ridiculous is assuming language is a static thing, only practiced in some pure form. Even french, which attempts to curtail vitality in language with its L'Académie Française, cannot freeze language from the influence of the street. The power of english has always been its scope and mutability. hamstringing it does no one any good

                                                                    1. re: thew

                                                                      I should clarify: the person sounds ridiculous saying that.

                                                                2. re: sunshine842

                                                                  Don't take the replies personally. You just stated the peeve most forcefully (' I want to just shriek').

                                                                  Since the practice is widespread, a descriptive linguist would say it is a real part of the English language, at least as spoken around here. It's not just an error or 'bad English'.

                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                    Whether or not the error is understandable or widespread, it's still an error when it comes to a restaurant's name.

                                                                    My last name is Tobias. It's pronounced with a long i, but I live in a region where there are lots of Spanish speakers. They are naturally inclined to pronounce it Toh-BEE-ahs. I understand that, but that doesn't make it my name. Same goes for restaurants whose names do not end in 's. If it's Peter Luger, it's Peter Luger, not Peter Luger's.

                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                      Tobias is pronounced the same in German: ToBEEas. Maybe English pronounces it the "wrong" way? '-P

                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                        Ha, maybe—but the point is it's a name, a proprietary thing, and names are different from common nouns in that sense. What the namee says goes.

                                                                      2. re: tatamagouche

                                                                        Though the Spanish pronunciation is closer to the Greek original Τοβίας. What you call the 'long i' is a diphthong that's a product of the Great Vowel Shift in English. Your preferred pronunciation is 5-6 centuries old (assuming English roots), but the other is 20 centuries old. :)

                                                                        How a personal name is pronounced in another language depends on personal preferences and sometimes comes down to practical factors. Some insist on retaining the name and pronunciation, others find it more convenient to use a transliteration or even translation. I have no problem with a Spanish speaker calling me Pablo. For my last I'd go with a transliteration, pronounced as though it were written in Spanish. It would be just too much of a pain to insist on the English pronunciation. Plus the English is itself a variation on an Danish original (courtesy of US immigration officials a century ago).

                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                          As you say, though, personal names involve personal preferences. And the logical assumption to start with is that the namee would be prefer to be called the name that he/she/it has chosen, put on signage and business cards, e.g., Nobu, not Nobu's. (I would certainly never make the assumption, in the reverse scenario, that I could call a Spanish speaker named Pablo "Paul".)

                                                                          The linguistic insights are fascinating and no doubt correct, but I nonetheless object to the notion that a person's collective memory gives them license to get names wrong.

                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                      Could it be that 'Targets' (with or without the apostrophe) is neither plural nor possessive?

                                                                      I don't think I'd use it, but I can imagine a person who is used to stores named for their owner being in the habit of adding that 's'. Joe's Hardware, Marshall Field's, Tom's five and dime. Is "Marshall Field's" possessive or a contraction for "Marshall Field & Company"? Macy's full name as "R. H. Macy & Co., Inc". The parent corporation for Target as Dayton-Hudson Corporation, commonly called Dayton's.

                                                                      So people who use words like Target's may have retained a memory of days when stores commonly were named for people. It does not have to be a personal memory; it could be a practice they learned from their parents. I'd also like to know if this a regional practice (e.g. small town South v big city NE?).

                                                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                                                    This is a mandatory rule in "How to speak Buffalo (NY)": all restaurant names end in 's, including Olive Garden's and Red Lobster's.

                                                                    I finally figured out that a coworker was going to a very nice Italian eatery called Mangia, but she pronounced it man-jahs.

                                                                    1. re: WNYamateur

                                                                      My dad (Illinois, Indiana) always did the 's on grocery stores. He was well-travelled and spoke with people from all over the world on a daily basis in his work. But the grocery store was "Cub's".

                                                          2. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                            but if you are going to Morimoto, calling it Morimoto's should be just as acceptable, as it is his restaurant.
                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                            but he didn't name the restaurant Morimoto's. do you call his Beverly Hills restaurant Matsuhisa's? or refer to Daniel in NYC as Daniel's?

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I wouldn't have a problem with Matsuhisa's or Daniel's in NYC. Places named after a person just sound more natural in the possessive.

                                                              That jewelry store Jared drives me nuts with the name 'Jared - The Galleria of Jewelry'. It should be 'Jared's Galleria of Jewelry'. The first sounds pretentious and wrong, the second naturally rolls off the tongue. If a place doesn't manage to name itself in the way I feel is correct, I have no problem correcting it for them whenever I mention it.

                                                              1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                If a place doesn't manage to name itself in the way I feel is correct, I have no problem correcting it for them whenever I mention it.
                                                                ~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                wow. okay then.

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  You, of course, are free to call it whatever you like. If you prefer Peter Luger to Peter Luger's, I have no qualms with that. I just don't feel it's inappropriate to say Peter Luger's as it is (or at least was) Peter Luger's restaurant. I wouldn't go to the management and tell them their sign is wrong, they can call it whatever they want, but as a customer I can refer to it as I like as well (within reason).

                                                                  1. re: TuteTibiImperes

                                                                    The full name, as shown on the sign and website is
                                                                    Peter Luger Steak House, not Peter Luger's Steak House. It may sound better to add a The at the start. However, as I noted with some well known department stores, it is common practice to shorten a formal company name to something like Lugar's. That 's', at least in the spoken language, does not necessarily indicate possession.

                                                                    We are all balancing technically correct ways of saying things with what sounds natural to our ears. Sometimes the correct way sounds pretentious, unusual, or just plain awkward.

                                                                    English speakers have always changed names to make them shorter or more 'comfortable'. I just learned that 'Boston' is short for St. Botolph's stone (or town), the original name of a small town in Lincolnshire, and site of one of many churches dedicated to this saint.

                                                      2. re: fourunder

                                                        Fun discussion so far :)

                                                        The "gryo" example I used originally I figured was a typo, as it was on a sandwich board but on a page that had been produced by a print shop of some sort.

                                                        The other two I mentioned were from a sandwich board I used to pass from one particular place from work to my transit stop. The specials of the day were always written in chalk, and it seemed like there would be one or two misspelled food items per week. Interestingly enough, after a few months of this, the place announced they had acquired a new chef and the spelling errors on the sandwich board ceased soon afterward.

                                                        I did see an interesting one today - cherry stands have been popping up left and right on the roadsides near my home of late. Most of them had handwritten signs simply saying "Cherries" or "Sweet Cherries", but one of them had a sign saying "Rainer Cherries." Ironically, that misspell almost encouraged me to stop my car and try a few. :)

                                                        1. re: josquared

                                                          Be sure to duck when the cherries rain down.

                                                        2. re: fourunder

                                                          A typo is a misspelling, no matter where it comes from or who missed it

                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                            but at least a typo is usually made by someone who ackshully knows better, but just managed to fat-finger the keys.

                                                            (sic)

                                                        3. Suggested reading
                                                          http://www.amazon.com/Great-Typo-Hunt...
                                                          "From greasy spoon menus to national park signs..."

                                                          1. I've written about this subject (on the boards & elsewhere) on many an occasion. It may not keep me from trying the place, but it does make me suspicious, just as mispronunciations do, at least within the context of restaurants of English-speaking chefs who purport to be knowledgable about a particular type of cuisine. If you profess to know your Italian cuisine, then you should know that it's "gnocchi," not "gnocci," or "prosciutto," not "proscuitto." Negligence in one area makes one wonder about negligence in another, fairly or not.

                                                            Same goes for fourunder's analogy. When a poster adds an apostrophe-s to a restaurant name that doesn't have one, again fairly or not, it's a step backward in terms of my trust in their ability to absorb the details.

                                                            Typos happen to all of us, but there's a point at which your grasp of the terminology you're employing should be firm.

                                                            15 Replies
                                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                                              beautifully stated. bravo.

                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                tatama, I understand where you're going with this, but I've been privileged to work with some brilliant people who simply cannot spell - not even the jargon in which they conduct business. And I think it might even be a result of a certain, perhaps mild, form of learning disorder.

                                                                A chef might pronounce gnocchi the correct way and make a beautiful rendition of it but due to a lack of a certain kind of linguistic ability not be able to wrap his mind around the phonetics of the Italian language. Hell, he might even be an Italian who can't spell in his own language.

                                                                I think that I do look out for these things when I'm in a more upscale environment where attention to all kinds of detail is necessary, but my experience has been that there are some people who produce amazingly tasty food that they can't spell for crap and apparently don't care that they can't. :)

                                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                  ----"I think that I do look out for these things when I'm in a more upscale environment where attention to all kinds of detail is necessary" ----
                                                                  That's exactly how I feel about it. The only menu/sign errors that REALLY get to me are when the place is seems to be (intentionally or not) cultivating a pretentious atmosphere. "We deign to allow you to eat our food that you are probably not sophisticated enough to understand or fully enjoy." When I get the snotty vibe off of a place, any sign or menu errors that jump out at me give me a little giggle.

                                                                  1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                    Yes, absolutely, a person can be an amazing chef and a poor speller. But I think such chefs do themselves a disservice as well as their customers if they don't bother to a) try, just as we all have to try to learn the jargon of our professions (well, as you note, most of us!), or b) get their printed/online menus proofread by someone who *can* spell. Misspellings look careless, and carelessness gives me pause.

                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                      This is true, too. They would absolutely benefit from a proofread. :)

                                                                      1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                        This remains one of the funniest blogposts I've ever seen.

                                                                        http://www.rahoi.com/2006/03/may-i-ta...

                                                                        1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                          That is HILARIOUS!! That is the worst mangled menu I've ever seen!

                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                            OMG. Thanks for the cackle. :P

                                                                            1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                              Holy hell, I just about died laughing. Thanks for sharing!

                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                Spectacular. Thank you, I enjoyed that immensely.

                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                  Yes, I have seen that. Laugh out loud funny.

                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                    Thanks, that's the best mangled English I've ever seen!

                                                                            2. re: tatamagouche

                                                                              I'm with you on this one, at least when it comes to a restaurant's ability to spell (or staff's ability to pronounce) culinary terms. I can't trust an Italian restaurants that lists "paninis" on the menu.

                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                I was somewhere the other day that referenced both "a panini" *and* "paninos." Twofer.

                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                  Fantastic!

                                                                            3. Some misspellings simply seem to be matters of habit. I don't know how many times I've seen "Alpha Romeros" advertised for sale by people who have the car right there to look at, proper spelling on the trunk-lid and all! And how many Chowhound posts do we see every day concerning "sandwhiches"? (Now watch: someone will post a reply asking, "So what about sandwhiches?")

                                                                              1. depends. My favorite Vietnamese
                                                                                place in S.F. has always had "noddle"
                                                                                soup on the menu and I find that
                                                                                rather charming.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                                                  Different scenario though—assuming the place is run by native Vietnamese speakers, that typo doesn't suggest they haven't learned the terminology of the cuisine they're serving, it suggests they might not be perfect spellers of English. If it were a joint run by an English speaker, however, I'd have a bigger problem with "noddle." Or, if they were using the Vietnamese terms, I'd want them to be transliterated correctly. If they've truly absorbed the culture of the cuisine, one would hope they wouldn't be mangling the language too much.

                                                                                  1. re: mpalmer6c

                                                                                    I do too. :)

                                                                                  2. Is avoiding a place (or people) that has misspellings a way of protecting yourself from possibly inferior food, or a way of punishing them for a sin against the language (and all that is perfect in this world)? :)

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                      To me, it's the former, completely the former.

                                                                                    2. I love potato's and tomato's for sale signs

                                                                                      and of course potatoe and tomatoe written on menus.

                                                                                      29 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: smartie

                                                                                        That is exactly what I was going to say. It is one of my pet peeves, that is for certain. Funny how a menu can have "tomato's" and yet "onions" is pluralized correctly. I do not quite follow the logic.

                                                                                        1. re: chefathome

                                                                                          The apostrophe is for the missing e. :)

                                                                                          1. re: chefathome

                                                                                            I suspect is has to do with people being afraid to add an 's' after a vowel.

                                                                                            1. re: tommy

                                                                                              Why do we write 'tomatoes' instead of 'tomatos'? I can't detect anything in the spoken word that demands the extra 'e'. Why can't English be spelled as it sounds? In Spanish the only thing spelling competitions can focus on are a few ambiguities like a silent 'h', and similar sounding pairs like 'c' and 's', 'b' and 'v'.

                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                I can sort of see why the "e" is in there - makes it obvious that the last syllable is pronounced "toes" and not "toss" or "tahs." Then again, Cheetos. No "e."

                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                  While trying to dig up some history on shortcake and shepherd's pie, I found a 1850 cookbook. That has 'tomatoe' and 'potatoe' - so that must be the origin of the 'oes' in the plural. For how many generations have we been misspelling the singular form? :)

                                                                                                  http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/c...

                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                    Somewhere, Dan Quayle is smiling.

                                                                                                    1. re: small h

                                                                                                      both spellings are and always have been acceptable.

                                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                        If you're suggesting that potato and tomato can also be correctly spelled potatoe and tomatoe, I'd like to see a citation from a reputable source that says so. 'Cause I think you're way wrong.

                                                                                                        http://dictionary.reference.com/brows...

                                                                                                        1. re: small h

                                                                                                          no, that potatoes and potatos are equally correct. 'es' is the preferred spelling, but 'os' isn't wrong.

                                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                            Oh. Well, I won't pursue this any further, but my usual m.o. in situations like these is to google both terms and see which one gets more hits.

                                                                                                            Potatos: 11,300,000
                                                                                                            Potatoes: 92,700,000

                                                                                                            So I'd say "es" is quite strongly preferred. I'm gonna keep spelling it that way. It's served me well so far.

                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                              I'm not sure where you are getting your info from by saying they are equal. Dictionaries tend to disagree with you.

                                                                                                              You're not Dan Quayle, are you?

                                                                                                    2. re: paulj

                                                                                                      "Why can't English be spelled as it sounds?"

                                                                                                      because english is cobbled together from disparate languages with radically different phonemes. Add that tot he fact english was fairly new when the printing press was invented, so the spellings did not have a chance to normalize before they solidified by being printed

                                                                                                      1. re: thew

                                                                                                        Perhaps the most important impact of printing on spelling was the fact that the early presses used an alphabet that was missing certain characters/letters used in contemporaneous English. Consequently, "new" combinations of letters were created.

                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                          No kidding? That's fascinating. Examples?

                                                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                            Typesetting on early presses was restricted to the 24 letter Latin alphabet. I can't "type" the retired English letters using my keyboard, but most are shown in this blurb: http://athenalearning.com/programs/th... The "yogh" character, for example, was replaced by the "gh" combination. Another interesting, albeit familiar, old character was the ampersand used as a letter in words.

                                                                                                            There's some more discussion around page 8 of this paper: http://research.ncl.ac.uk/ARECLS/vol4...

                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                              Thank you for that reference. I've always wondered about the ampersand being used so much in old written documents

                                                                                                        2. re: thew

                                                                                                          Some attribute the spelling issues to the Great Vowel Shift
                                                                                                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Vo...
                                                                                                          That is, spelling became standardized about the same time that pronunciation was changing. An easy way to see the changes is to compare English vowel sounds to the corresponding Spanish letters. Some of our so called 'long vowels' are really diphthongs.

                                                                                                          1. re: paulj

                                                                                                            Again, fascinating. Thanks.

                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                              In addition, some consonant sounds have changed since the regularization of spelling: the "k" in "knight" and "knife" is silent now, but was pronounced in Middle English (as anyone who has been forced to recite Chaucer using historically accurate pronunciation will attest, IIRC the Middle English pronunciation of "knight" is something like "cuh-nick-tuh" but with a slight aspiration on the "ck" sound).

                                                                                                              Most people aren't taught (or have long forgotten) the reasons why things like silent "e" and double letters exist: silent "e" changes the preceding vowel from short to long, and a double letter counteracts the silent "e" -- for example:

                                                                                                              din -- short "i"
                                                                                                              dine -- long "i"
                                                                                                              diner -- long "i"
                                                                                                              dinner -- short "i"

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                A function that had been accomplished through the use of the ancient letter "ash" - the "fused" ae looking ligature.

                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                  I recall the silent e and double consonant business well from grade school. I wonder if they always functioned that way. That 'long i' is not a pure vowel sound, it's a diphthong ( /aɪ/ ). In orthography they are the same letter, but in the spoken language they are entirely different phonemes.

                                                                                                                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_e
                                                                                                                  This lists some common exceptions to the 'silent e' rule, like come, done, give, love.

                                                                                                                  1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                    The silent "e" in those examples still affects the vowel sound, though: "com" and "don" aren't pronounced the same as "come" and "done" -- the phonemes expressed by the letter "o" seem to be particularly problematic. I have no idea why "give" doesn't have a long "i" though.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                    I haven't forgotten and was taught that in grade school. Thank you, Ruth.

                                                                                                                2. re: thew

                                                                                                                  Not to mention that English sounds different in Edinburgh, Boston MA, Atlanta GA, and New Delhi

                                                                                                                3. re: paulj

                                                                                                                  I actually remember learning the rule to that when I was in grade school from a really good English teacher, but I can't remember what it was. Sorry.

                                                                                                              2. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                Depends on what follows "tomato's". Maybe that tomato owns something...?

                                                                                                                1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                  In that case, it would be "the skin of the tomato" not "the tomato's skin".

                                                                                                                  1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                    LOL. I'd say one belongs in a fine dining establishment and the other in a folksy, down home-sy kind of place in my mind where people wearing flannel work shirts and cowboy hats chew on wheat stalks as they greet you and further spell it "tomater".

                                                                                                            2. The craziest ones are when they put them up on reader boards or electronic signs, for all the world to see.

                                                                                                              "HAMBERGERS"

                                                                                                              Today spechial ....."

                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                                                                                One of my favorites ...

                                                                                                                "Close Today"

                                                                                                                Always made me wonder if they would be "Closer Tomorrow" ...

                                                                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                  They would be... to opening. :D

                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                    Past participles are a dying breed. Ice tea and ice cream are considered standard these days, but I also see toss salads and mix vegetables. Not to mention people who have went somewhere and have ate a wonderful meal. Shudder . . .

                                                                                                                    Also common is using plural pronouns to reference singular nouns. On Chowhound many people (myself included) will write something like "Lotus of Siam is my favorite Thai restaurant in the US. They serve a wide variety of dishes and have a great wine list centered around German rieslings."

                                                                                                                    And the majority of English speakers (at least in the US) have no idea how to use apostrophes. In the town where I live, a carpet dealer had "Were Cheapest" on his signboard for a year, but nobody explained to him what the sign actually meant. Or maybe, the owner was just being honest.

                                                                                                                    As an English professor, I notice these things, but I also know enough to realize that grammar should be descriptive, not proscriptive. Whether we are comfortable with it or hate it, language constantly changes.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                                                      Well said, professor.

                                                                                                                      As long as you've communicated your point, I guess it's all water under that proverbial bridge ...

                                                                                                                      1. re: Ed Dibble

                                                                                                                        I know this is an old post, but isn't it "descriptive vs. PREscriptive"?

                                                                                                                  2. While I have worked with some very talented cooks with varying levels of dyslexia and understand that cooking ability and spelling ability come from different parts of the brain, I am suspect of misspellings and poor grammar. If you know you have a weakness with language, you should still care enough about your business to find someone to proofread things for you. The menu should be proofread by at least 2 people before printing. It comes down to the attention paid to detail, and if you don't care if your menu is correct, is there going to be sloppiness in the kitchen as well? It amazes me when things more permanent than laser printed menus get misspelled. There used to be a coffee shop with a neon sign in the window with 'cappuccino' missing a p or a c or maybe both. I can understand the neon artist not knowing how to spell it, but the coffee shop should have known!

                                                                                                                    1. "Cold Slaw" is one of my favorites.

                                                                                                                      If it's a low cost Vietnamese or Chinese place, and if it seems obvious that it's an ESL situation on a hand-lettered sign, I am forgiving - but I still notice and find it annoying. In higher cost places, I'll still eat there, but I'm more annoyed by it. As other posters have said, it really isn't difficult to get a couple of native speakers, or people with a greater facility for English than you have to proof read for you.

                                                                                                                      But if there is an error in a very permanent / expensive sign, that is unforgivable. I remember when I lived in Japan in the 80's, we went to a very expensive, high tech exhibit in the new Panasonic building. One of the exhibits had on the wall, in large, burnished silver lettering, "What is Microcomputer?" I was appalled. Thousands of English teachers running around Japanese companies and Panasonic couldn't manage to get that together.

                                                                                                                      1. I know that I am a bit obsessional about misspellings so I try not to stress over them on menus, particular "ethnic" ones which as other posters have said can be endearing. We still refer to a particular cut of meat as tenderlion in our house in honour of a lovely such typo on a Cantonese restaurant's menu in Toronto years ago.

                                                                                                                        The one I can't abide is Ceasar (or Ceaser) for Caesar salad. Just can't eat in a place that has either of those on the menu.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                          Oh my gosh. There's probably another thread that discusses misREADings of a menu, but this reminds me of the time we went to dinner at a Chinese place with the Man's family and his father, perusing his options, says "Human scallops?!? Oh dear..."

                                                                                                                          1. re: inaplasticcup

                                                                                                                            I knew I shouldn't have posted my Caesar misspelling pet peeve. I ended up in a bar the very next night that had it misspelled on the menu. Argh.

                                                                                                                            1. re: grayelf

                                                                                                                              I translate menus for a living (well, not exclusively - that would be a rather frugal living) - and CEAsar is the most notorious mistake. I see it ALL the freaking time here in Germany, and I cannot explain why that is the case.

                                                                                                                              Hate proscuitto. I'm a bit of a language nazi myself, but I'm not sure I'd avoid a place b/c of typos or misspellings. I've been to too many excellent restos with typos in their respective menus to not care. But I do find it unprofessional.

                                                                                                                        2. Several years ago I started a thread entitled "Amusing Menu Gaffes", which grew to be very long. The impetus was a string of errors on the menu of a new, upscale Italian restaurant operated by American-born restaurateurs. There were enough mistakes to make me doubt their attention to detail and, indeed, they didn't last long. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/512308

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                            I once went to a Korean restaurant that had a "vagetarian" menu. True story. And no thanks. ;)

                                                                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                              Oh wow.

                                                                                                                              There's a corollary for all this in publicity. This reminds me of the time I got a press release back in Boston for a restaurant called Pho Republique (now defunct)—whose PR rep left out the "L" in the name in the subject line. Ouch.

                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                Yeah, not quite making me hungry.

                                                                                                                              2. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                When I was young I knew that people who eat primarily vegetables are called vegetarians, and I was a little scared of people who were called humanitarians.

                                                                                                                                1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                                  Haha. CUTE!

                                                                                                                            2. when you live in a country where the common language is something other than your native tongue, you get to a point where you don't even notice it (or start using the local-language menu -- the translations are usually so bad that they're next to impossible to figure out, anyway)

                                                                                                                              1. The discussion of awkward translations on menus is a digression from the OP's point. Mis-translation on ethnic menus is a different magnitude of error, and far less troubling, than typos and poor spelling on a menu when you and the owners speak the main language of the area in which the restaurant is located..

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                  Good point.

                                                                                                                                2. I don't mind misspellings on ethnic menus (because I'm pretty sure I'd misspell a menu I had to write in Spanish!) but what I really detest on menus and just about any other piece of literature written by native speakers of English is EXTRA APOSTROPHES! What gives? If a regular English noun is merely plural, it doesn't need one!

                                                                                                                                  Sometimes I am convinced that the overuse of apostrophes is directly tied to the price of oil. The more "pant's altered with purchase of suit" and "choose any two menu item's" we see, the more we will pay for a tank of gas. So do what you can to stomp out apostrophic excess!

                                                                                                                                  9 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                    mens, men's or men' ...... only the last one survives spell checker

                                                                                                                                    1. re: fourunder

                                                                                                                                      What, no mens sana in corpore sano?

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                      This drives me batty. My eyes bug out at extra apostrophes. I've contemplated carrying a big fat red marker, but I'm sure that people who misuse apostrophes won't comprehend basic proofreading marks!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: odkaty

                                                                                                                                        My daughter was at a young writers' conference for high school students up in Middlebury, VT. As they were waiting in line for food (which was fantastic, by the way--the cook managed to feed 300 kids with excellent homemade omnivore and vegetarian meals every single day), one of the boys ahead of her in line noticed a sign with a misused word. He immediately jumped out of line, circled the word with the sharpie he carried in his pocket, and wrote, "What the HELL?" All the grammar nerds behind him applauded.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                        I'll drink a few margarita's to your health!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                          No, no, vino, please stick to wine! Hard liquor is detrimental to punctuation. I've NEVER seen "wine's by the glass" but I have seen many "margarita's" and "martini's."

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                            How did I forget about martini's? Must be too many margarita's.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: invinotheresverde

                                                                                                                                              If an Italian order only one, would he order a martino?;-)

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                          When my son was very young he named the extra apostrophes "unemployed apostrophes".

                                                                                                                                        3. Often seen:

                                                                                                                                          "Closed Monday's". (Or any day)

                                                                                                                                          Grammar 101. Very annoying...

                                                                                                                                          1. To sum up the points many other people have been making, here's my Dad's maxim: "Never eat at an 'American' restaurant that has typos on the menu, and never eat at a Chinese restaurant that doesn't."

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                              Nice, but a "typo" is a totally different error than a misspelling...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: menton1

                                                                                                                                                Yes, but it isn't always obvious just looking at something whether it's a typo or a misspelling. And anyway, I'm not much more forgiving of typos -- to me it indicates a lack of attention to detail and a lack of commitment to quality. Why would I want to spend my money in a place that exhibits those characteristics?

                                                                                                                                            2. The Sri Lankan place in my neighborhood has big slogans painted on the front window.

                                                                                                                                              One is: "Taste Yourself -- You'll Always Have a Story to Tell."

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: comestible

                                                                                                                                                Now that's just plain entertaining!

                                                                                                                                              2. Misspellings don't bother me. I'm paying for the food, not the spellchecker. Besides, I love eating in Chinese restaurants, and half the time, I don't quite understand what the order is until I actually get it. It has certainly resulted in some surprising dishes (good and bad).

                                                                                                                                                1. On a related note, I recently received a "customer appreciation" email from a local restaurant. It reads (in part) "Join us for dinner during the week of Tuesday, June 14th through through Tuesday, June 28th, and enjoy 15% off your total bill on Tuesday's, Wednesday's, Thursday's and Sunday's."

                                                                                                                                                  Okay, so maybe I'm just a stickler for this kind of stuff, but when I see all those incorrect apostrophies, it makes me think that whoever wrote this copy isn't very bright, and that leaves me thinking that whoever owns the place must not be very bright, either.

                                                                                                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                    Even worse, what is "the week of Tuesday, June 14th through through Tuesday, June 28th" -- isn't that two weeks (and one day)?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                      I noticed that, too. I wonder, do people who send these types of messages truly not know they're not making sense? Or do they just not care? Or does the fact that it bothers me reflect my generation's thinking? For better or for worse, I DO judge people by the way they speak and especially by the way they write.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                        "For better or for worse, I DO judge people by the way they speak and especially by the way they write."

                                                                                                                                                        I hear you, CindyJ!

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                                                                                                                                          Glad I'm not the Lone Ranger here.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: CindyJ

                                                                                                                                                      <quote>Okay, so maybe I'm just a stickler for this kind of stuff, but when I see all those incorrect apostrophies, it makes me think that whoever wrote this copy isn't very bright, and that leaves me thinking that whoever owns the place must not be very bright, either.</quote>

                                                                                                                                                      This is my thinking as well. ESL translations I can handle, and even grammar from foreign languages doesn't bother me (I didn't know panini, ravioli, etc. was plural until CH, shamefully...), but words that have been used in English for long enough to be considered English, like zucchini, and poor basic grammar drive me NUTTY. I truly won't go to a restaurant with a permanent sign that has possessive-plurals as I call them. It makes me too suspicious of the intelligence, education, or attention to detail of the proprietor, and then I worry about my food...It's silly and a massive leap, I know, but I feel like if they're too lazy or cheap to proofread their permanent material, they're probably taking shortcuts elsewhere, like sanitation rules.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                        apostrophies?

                                                                                                                                                        just sayin'

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                                                          I cut and pasted! Don't blame me! =P

                                                                                                                                                    3. I know a pretty good no frills Indo-Pak restaurant which serves tasty tandoori lamb
                                                                                                                                                      chaps : )

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ceekskat

                                                                                                                                                        I guess they were sourced from working lambboys?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ceekskat

                                                                                                                                                          Maybe it was run by humanitarians that eclecticsynergy was worried about long ago.

                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7895...

                                                                                                                                                        2. Spelling errors on Chinese menus kept my children busy until the food arrived.

                                                                                                                                                          1. My favorite neighborhood Japanese restaurant had a "Giant Cram" special last time I was there. It made me giggle and I didn't think anything more about it

                                                                                                                                                            For years one of the lunch specials at the hospital cafeteria at work was "Chicken Cordon Bleau". I never did get up the nerve to try it.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                              To a Japanese person without a strong training in English, 'clam' and 'cram' sound the same. Japanese has one flap where English has two.

                                                                                                                                                            2. So there's this very good dessert bar here in Denver that tends to give cutesy names to its creations. Last night they had an apricot creme brulée that some genius decided to call a "crapricot."

                                                                                                                                                              Not a misspelling, just a mistake.

                                                                                                                                                              http://www.ruthtobias.com/blog

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                                                                                                Maybe it IS a misspelling. Perhaps it was supposed to be the less-risible "crepricot". :>)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                  I used to work at Starbucks when we still called drinks to the barista and customer rather than writing on the cup and using names. We were very specifically instructed to call the new Frappuccino by its full name even though cappuccino was shortened to 'cap' - the first summer they were introduced, there were a lot of "grande crap!" calls...=) Most were accidental at first, but no one liked using the blenders.

                                                                                                                                                              2. Loved reading the responses - proofing your own stuff is always so hard, you tend to read what you think it should be rather than what it actually is. Unfortunately (and this an excuse I know) most of the software that people may use to create these menus (e.g. Illustrator) doesn't have spell check incorporated. So I often wonder if "cheap/young" designers can't spell or just don't ever see little red squiggles under anything so just assume they typed everything correctly . . . still makes for a fun read sometimes.

                                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, misplaced apostrophes are rampant in signage today, as well as the written word. Confusion, the difference between possessives and plurals.

                                                                                                                                                                  And then, the exception. (Isn't there always an exception in English?) "Its". (Possessive) No apostrophe. Incorrectly spelled much of the time!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: menton1

                                                                                                                                                                    It's in a class with his, her/hers, our/ours, your/yours and their/theirs. But yes, it's a tricky word, its. I feel sorry for people learning English.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: menton1

                                                                                                                                                                      Boy, I can think of one heck of an ad slogan now:

                                                                                                                                                                      "It's its own "it" factor - It's It Ice Cream Sandwiches" :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: menton1

                                                                                                                                                                        My grade school English teacher explained "its" by saying that an inanimate object cannot show possession. Recent reading provides the reasoning that "it's" means only "it is".

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: thimes

                                                                                                                                                                        CS5 has spell check. I want to say it's been in the last 3-4 versions.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. It really and truly depends on my bullshit tolerance for the day, if that makes any sense at all. Usually such things make me laugh and keep moving on, but now and then a misspelling is just so ill-timed or -placed that it just doesn't even warrant the laugh. "Fresh Steamed Crap" is the most recent example I can come up with.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. The amount of time that has been spent defending and rationalizing the abuse and outright incorrect use of language and words and punctuation is more troubling than any typo on any menu.

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tommy

                                                                                                                                                                            You have just illustrated the tension between a prescriptive view of language and the descriptive one, the tension between 'how a language should be spoken' and 'how a language is spoken'.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                                              Know doubt ewe our write.

                                                                                                                                                                              The thread illustrates this. The concern in my post goes much deeper.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. There's a restaurant here that serves a Sonoma salad - with "mescaline" greens...maybe the chef spent too much time in Berkley in the late 60s!

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: lseavey

                                                                                                                                                                              And a Boston area supermarket chain, Market Basket, that has for years sold and advertised them as "mesculin". I am never sure whether to think of the greens as a drug, or as the opposite of "femunin". ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, "mesclun" greens (Originating in SouthEast France) is one of the most misspelled ones...

                                                                                                                                                                                N.B. Chowhound Moderation refuses to correct spelling, even in a thread title. They say it's one of their mantras, and it might be embarrassing. I thing that leaving the misspelling might be MORE embarrassing!!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: menton1

                                                                                                                                                                                  Guess I'll have to stick to foods that I can find on the spell checker! I wouldn't want to embarrass you, or make another poster scream.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. Just silently made a pact to avoid an upcoming restaurant with the word " krepes" in it. Guess I should alert the French Academy although we have our own problems with the ever-living substitution of "k" for "c".

                                                                                                                                                                              1. New English pub lots of money spent on décor - thought I'd have a look at the menu online and found the first starter:

                                                                                                                                                                                "Honey Drew Melon & Cantaloupe With Red Collis"

                                                                                                                                                                                Not sure what to expect there!

                                                                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: simonwhitwick

                                                                                                                                                                                  am I missing something, or did someone actually do an income investigation on the prawns? Maybe they were stolen from Victoria Beckham?

                                                                                                                                                                                2. I am a former copyeditor.

                                                                                                                                                                                  If the food is good, the atmosphere is good, the service is good, I frankly don't give a rat's patoot about the spelling on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. On a Chinese restaurant menu: HUMAN CHICKEN. No, I did not order it.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Yes. And Food Network and Cooking Channel make me mad, too, for allowing rampant mispronunciation (marscapone, anybody?). I am a spelling and punctuation snob from day 1, and if you're going to serve a dish you ought to be able to at least spell it properly.
                                                                                                                                                                                      One caveat- misspellings at restaurants run by people who don't speak my language as their first get a pass. Around here it's either Mexicans or Asians, usually. And when eating in Mexico, I've dined on "clems" and "snnaper" and found them both to be wonderful. And there was once the Chinese restaurant in Mexico that served "friend rice", which had a nice neighborly feel to it.
                                                                                                                                                                                      One last thing- everybody, can we please all spread the word that eating one single panini is wrong? You eat one panino, or go all out and have a couple of panini. Also tamales- you eat a tamal, or multiple tamales.

                                                                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                        Quero un tamal, por favor. No habla Espanol? Then, I'd like a tamale, please.

                                                                                                                                                                                        If I was in the company of Italians speaking broken English, I'd probably use 'panino'. But when around English speakers without significant Italian roots, I'd use 'panini'. Or 'grilled cheese'. No point pretending a linguistic know-it-all if it doesn't communicate anything useful.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                          Remember, too, that a lot of those Mexicans are from Guatemala or El Salvador or Nicaragua or....

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                                                                            This has been discussed to death but are we going to do that w/ all Italian words now, eg. Pizze, lasagne, paste, parmiggiani, prosciutti, raviolo, etc. And should we do that w/ all languages? Learn how to make words singular and plural in Chinese, Japanese, French, Norwegian,...? When I'm speaking English, I go by English grammar rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                              Hear hear! (Here?)

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think "hear, hear" is "hears".

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Or is it "hear squared" or "(hear)^2?" We should also strive to be mathematically grammatically correct.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                                                                Generally, there is no singular/plural in Japanese unless special constructions are used. Just get the name right and you should be fine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The same with Chinese but I don't expect Americans to know that.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Recent sightings:

                                                                                                                                                                                              canale
                                                                                                                                                                                              caradmom
                                                                                                                                                                                              flafill

                                                                                                                                                                                              The first two were at a new trendy place that should know better. If you have the skills and tools to produce a nice cannele, why wouldn't you care enough to spell it correctly on the menu? (I grudgingly accept one n, but definitely not two a's!) I know plenty of very good cooks and chefs who are dyslexic or just lousy spellers, all they have to do is admit that then find the one person in the organization who is willing and able to spellcheck before printing menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                                                                                                                I used to work with a guy who couldn't spell much beyond his own name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                As he was in the marketing department (!) I asked him once why he didn't use the spellchecker on his computer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                he said that all those squiggly red lines just pissed him off, so he turned the spellchecker off. (!!!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                I couldn't even form a response to that.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I still want to eat (and lunge) there, but this makes me think they wrote their own web site: "Herb and Soul is an all natural and organic cafe, lunge, and carryout in the Towson, MD area, specializing in serving fresh, superior quality food at affordable ..."