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What's your latest food quest? Share your adventure


josquared Jun 10, 2011 06:16 PM

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".)

  1. globocity Aug 14, 2013 06:41 PM

    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. l
      lseavey Jun 21, 2011 10:33 AM

      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
        greygarious Jun 21, 2011 10:55 AM

        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
          menton1 Jun 21, 2011 05:24 PM

          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
            paulj Jun 21, 2011 08:01 PM

            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. tommy Jun 21, 2011 09:17 AM

        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
          paulj Jun 21, 2011 10:09 AM

          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
            tommy Jun 21, 2011 10:20 AM

            Know doubt ewe our write.

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

        2. mamachef Jun 20, 2011 06:10 PM

          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. t
            thimes Jun 20, 2011 08:04 AM

            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.

            4 Replies
            1. re: thimes
              menton1 Jun 20, 2011 12:32 PM

              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
                BobB Jun 20, 2011 02:46 PM

                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
                  josquared Jun 20, 2011 02:47 PM

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

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

                2. re: thimes
                  odkaty Jun 20, 2011 04:55 PM

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

                3. tatamagouche Jun 19, 2011 05:33 AM

                  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.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: tatamagouche
                    greygarious Jun 19, 2011 10:14 AM

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

                    1. re: greygarious
                      thursday Jun 19, 2011 05:00 PM

                      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. EWSflash Jun 18, 2011 10:12 PM

                    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
                      paulj Jun 18, 2011 11:29 PM

                      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. o
                      ola Jun 15, 2011 06:34 PM

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

                      1. c
                        ceekskat Jun 14, 2011 11:05 PM

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

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ceekskat
                          gaffk Jun 15, 2011 06:39 PM

                          I guess they were sourced from working lambboys?

                          1. re: ceekskat
                            chowser Jun 20, 2011 11:19 AM

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


                          2. CindyJ Jun 14, 2011 03:34 PM

                            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
                              Ruth Lafler Jun 14, 2011 06:29 PM

                              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
                                CindyJ Jun 14, 2011 06:48 PM

                                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
                                  woodleyparkhound Jun 14, 2011 07:26 PM

                                  "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
                                    EWSflash Jun 18, 2011 10:08 PM

                                    Glad I'm not the Lone Ranger here.

                              2. re: CindyJ
                                thursday Jun 19, 2011 05:07 PM

                                <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
                                  linguafood Jun 20, 2011 02:02 AM


                                  just sayin'

                                  1. re: linguafood
                                    thursday Jun 20, 2011 10:35 AM

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

                              3. raytamsgv Jun 14, 2011 02:50 PM

                                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. c
                                  comestible Jun 14, 2011 11:22 AM

                                  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
                                    woodleyparkhound Jun 14, 2011 02:58 PM

                                    Now that's just plain entertaining!

                                  2. Ruth Lafler Jun 13, 2011 05:17 PM

                                    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
                                      menton1 Jun 13, 2011 10:10 PM

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

                                      1. re: menton1
                                        Ruth Lafler Jun 14, 2011 09:40 AM

                                        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. menton1 Jun 13, 2011 05:11 PM

                                      Often seen:

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

                                      Grammar 101. Very annoying...

                                      1. i
                                        Isolda Jun 13, 2011 11:20 AM

                                        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!

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: Isolda
                                          fourunder Jun 13, 2011 11:36 AM

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

                                          1. re: fourunder
                                            BobB Jun 16, 2011 07:14 AM

                                            What, no mens sana in corpore sano?

                                          2. re: Isolda
                                            odkaty Jun 13, 2011 04:23 PM

                                            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
                                              Isolda Jun 13, 2011 04:44 PM

                                              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
                                              invinotheresverde Jun 15, 2011 01:01 PM

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

                                              1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                Isolda Jun 15, 2011 06:24 PM

                                                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
                                                  invinotheresverde Jun 15, 2011 07:26 PM

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

                                                  1. re: invinotheresverde
                                                    chowser Jun 20, 2011 11:16 AM

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

                                            3. greygarious Jun 13, 2011 09:01 AM

                                              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
                                                inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 09:08 AM

                                                Good point.

                                              2. sunshine842 Jun 12, 2011 10:19 PM

                                                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. greygarious Jun 12, 2011 12:43 PM

                                                  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
                                                    piccola Jun 12, 2011 06:45 PM

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

                                                    1. re: piccola
                                                      tatamagouche Jun 13, 2011 06:24 AM

                                                      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
                                                        piccola Jun 14, 2011 05:46 PM

                                                        Yeah, not quite making me hungry.

                                                      2. re: piccola
                                                        eclecticsynergy Jun 14, 2011 11:07 PM

                                                        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
                                                          inaplasticcup Jun 15, 2011 06:57 AM

                                                          Haha. CUTE!

                                                    2. grayelf Jun 12, 2011 12:19 PM

                                                      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
                                                        inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 12:24 PM

                                                        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
                                                          grayelf Jun 13, 2011 03:58 PM

                                                          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
                                                            linguafood Jun 14, 2011 10:10 AM

                                                            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. woodleyparkhound Jun 12, 2011 10:21 AM

                                                        "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. babette feasts Jun 12, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                          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. mrbigshotno.1 Jun 12, 2011 08:07 AM

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


                                                            Today spechial ....."

                                                            4 Replies
                                                            1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                                                              ipsedixit Jun 12, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                              One of my favorites ...

                                                              "Close Today"

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

                                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 09:48 AM

                                                                They would be... to opening. :D

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                  Ed Dibble Jun 12, 2011 10:43 AM

                                                                  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
                                                                    ipsedixit Jun 12, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                                    Well said, professor.

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

                                                              2. s
                                                                smartie Jun 11, 2011 04:54 PM

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

                                                                and of course potatoe and tomatoe written on menus.

                                                                27 Replies
                                                                1. re: smartie
                                                                  chefathome Jun 11, 2011 06:14 PM

                                                                  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
                                                                    babette feasts Jun 12, 2011 09:15 AM

                                                                    The apostrophe is for the missing e. :)

                                                                    1. re: chefathome
                                                                      tommy Jun 13, 2011 08:55 AM

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

                                                                      1. re: tommy
                                                                        paulj Jun 13, 2011 09:47 AM

                                                                        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
                                                                          small h Jun 14, 2011 09:59 AM

                                                                          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
                                                                            paulj Jun 14, 2011 07:16 PM

                                                                            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? :)


                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                              small h Jun 14, 2011 07:26 PM

                                                                              Somewhere, Dan Quayle is smiling.

                                                                              1. re: small h
                                                                                sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 02:05 AM

                                                                                both spellings are and always have been acceptable.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                  small h Jun 15, 2011 04:47 AM

                                                                                  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.


                                                                                  1. re: small h
                                                                                    sunshine842 Jun 15, 2011 02:44 PM

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

                                                                                    1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                      small h Jun 15, 2011 03:40 PM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        Steve Jun 15, 2011 05:46 PM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                thew Jun 15, 2011 05:09 AM

                                                                                "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
                                                                                  MGZ Jun 15, 2011 07:36 AM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    tatamagouche Jun 15, 2011 07:57 AM

                                                                                    No kidding? That's fascinating. Examples?

                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                      MGZ Jun 15, 2011 09:06 AM

                                                                                      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/the-adventure-of-english/the-evolution-of-the-english-alphabet 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...

                                                                                  2. re: thew
                                                                                    paulj Jun 15, 2011 08:55 AM

                                                                                    Some attribute the spelling issues to the Great Vowel Shift
                                                                                    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
                                                                                      tatamagouche Jun 15, 2011 09:10 AM

                                                                                      Again, fascinating. Thanks.

                                                                                      1. re: paulj
                                                                                        Ruth Lafler Jun 15, 2011 11:26 AM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          MGZ Jun 15, 2011 11:43 AM

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

                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                                                            paulj Jun 15, 2011 11:50 AM

                                                                                            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.

                                                                                            This lists some common exceptions to the 'silent e' rule, like come, done, give, love.

                                                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                                                              Ruth Lafler Jun 15, 2011 02:57 PM

                                                                                              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: thew
                                                                                          Ed Dibble Jun 19, 2011 10:02 AM

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

                                                                                        3. re: paulj
                                                                                          EWSflash Jun 18, 2011 10:02 PM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                        inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 08:57 AM

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

                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                          woodleyparkhound Jun 13, 2011 02:00 PM

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

                                                                                          1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 13, 2011 03:11 PM

                                                                                            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. paulj Jun 11, 2011 03:10 PM

                                                                                      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. m
                                                                                        mpalmer6c Jun 11, 2011 02:59 PM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          tatamagouche Jun 12, 2011 06:59 AM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 07:08 AM

                                                                                            I do too. :)

                                                                                          2. Will Owen Jun 11, 2011 12:04 PM

                                                                                            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. tatamagouche Jun 11, 2011 09:28 AM

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Jun 11, 2011 02:43 PM

                                                                                                beautifully stated. bravo.

                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                  inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 07:06 AM

                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                    CapreseStacy Jun 12, 2011 09:56 AM

                                                                                                    ----"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
                                                                                                      tatamagouche Jun 12, 2011 11:35 AM

                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                        inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 12:05 PM

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

                                                                                                        1. re: inaplasticcup
                                                                                                          tatamagouche Jun 12, 2011 12:10 PM

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


                                                                                                          1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                            woodleyparkhound Jun 12, 2011 12:28 PM

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

                                                                                                            1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                              inaplasticcup Jun 12, 2011 12:30 PM

                                                                                                              OMG. Thanks for the cackle. :P

                                                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                operagirl Jun 13, 2011 11:02 AM

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

                                                                                                                1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                  CapreseStacy Jun 13, 2011 06:49 PM

                                                                                                                  Spectacular. Thank you, I enjoyed that immensely.

                                                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                    jcmods Jun 14, 2011 12:40 PM

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

                                                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                      eclecticsynergy Jun 14, 2011 10:58 PM

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

                                                                                                              2. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                piccola Jun 12, 2011 06:43 PM

                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                  tatamagouche Jun 13, 2011 06:21 AM

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

                                                                                                                  1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                    invinotheresverde Jun 15, 2011 12:54 PM


                                                                                                              3. jcmods Jun 11, 2011 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                Suggested reading
                                                                                                                "From greasy spoon menus to national park signs..."

                                                                                                                1. f
                                                                                                                  fourunder Jun 11, 2011 07:30 AM

                                                                                                                  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

                                                                                                                  38 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: fourunder
                                                                                                                    chefdaddyo Jun 11, 2011 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                      fourunder Jun 11, 2011 08:01 AM

                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                        ipsedixit Jun 11, 2011 12:00 PM

                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                          fourunder Jun 12, 2011 06:28 AM

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

                                                                                                                        2. re: fourunder
                                                                                                                          TuteTibiImperes Jun 19, 2011 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                            tommy Jun 19, 2011 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                              TuteTibiImperes Jun 19, 2011 12:16 PM

                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                tommy Jun 19, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                  greygarious Jun 19, 2011 12:57 PM

                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                    tatamagouche Jun 19, 2011 01:47 PM

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

                                                                                                                                    1. re: tatamagouche
                                                                                                                                      sunshine842 Jun 19, 2011 02:18 PM

                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                        tommy Jun 19, 2011 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                                        It really bothers you in daily life?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: tommy
                                                                                                                                          TuteTibiImperes Jun 19, 2011 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                            tommy Jun 19, 2011 02:35 PM

                                                                                                                                            Punching someone might lead to unwanted consequences.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                                                                                                              tatamagouche Jun 19, 2011 02:45 PM

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

                                                                                                                                            2. re: tommy
                                                                                                                                              tatamagouche Jun 19, 2011 02:44 PM

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                tommy Jun 19, 2011 02:51 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                1. re: tommy
                                                                                                                                                  tatamagouche Jun 19, 2011 02:53 PM

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

                                                                                                                                            3. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                              paulj Jun 19, 2011 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                woodleyparkhound Jun 19, 2011 03:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                  sunshine842 Jun 19, 2011 11:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                    thew Jun 20, 2011 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                      tommy Jun 20, 2011 07:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                      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.


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tommy
                                                                                                                                                        thew Jun 20, 2011 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                          tommy Jun 20, 2011 09:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I should clarify: the person sounds ridiculous saying that.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                                      paulj Jun 20, 2011 08:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        tatamagouche Jun 20, 2011 08:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                          linguafood Jun 20, 2011 09:32 AM

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

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                            tatamagouche Jun 20, 2011 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                            paulj Jun 20, 2011 06:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                              tatamagouche Jun 21, 2011 06:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                          paulj Jun 20, 2011 07:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                          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?).

                                                                                                                                            4. re: TuteTibiImperes
                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Jun 20, 2011 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                TuteTibiImperes Jun 20, 2011 06:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Jun 20, 2011 06:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                    TuteTibiImperes Jun 20, 2011 09:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                    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
                                                                                                                                                      paulj Jun 20, 2011 10:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                          josquared Jun 11, 2011 06:41 PM

                                                                                                                                          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. :)

                                                                                                                                        3. ipsedixit Jun 10, 2011 09:21 PM

                                                                                                                                          Do ethnic restaurant menus count?

                                                                                                                                          Sometimes the tell-tale sign of authenticity are misspellings.

                                                                                                                                          24 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Jun 10, 2011 09:51 PM

                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                              Jay F Jun 11, 2011 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                                              >>>>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
                                                                                                                                                goodhealthgourmet Jun 11, 2011 09:19 AM

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

                                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                Steve Jun 15, 2011 11:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet Jun 15, 2011 04:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                                                                    tommy Jun 15, 2011 04:22 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tommy
                                                                                                                                                      goodhealthgourmet Jun 15, 2011 04:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                      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
                                                                                                                                                        tommy Jun 15, 2011 04:51 PM

                                                                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                                                                          goodhealthgourmet Jun 15, 2011 06:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            tommy Jun 15, 2011 06:29 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                              goodhealthgourmet Jun 15, 2011 08:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                tommy Jun 16, 2011 05:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                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
                                                                                                                                                              thew Jun 15, 2011 06:44 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                            thew Jun 15, 2011 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                                                                                                          paulj Jun 15, 2011 04:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            gaffk Jun 15, 2011 06:32 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                                              EWSflash Jun 18, 2011 09:45 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: paulj
                                                                                                                                                              mbfant Jun 19, 2011 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                          mbfant Jun 19, 2011 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                                                          (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
                                                                                                                                                            linguafood Jun 19, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                              mbfant Jun 19, 2011 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                              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
                                                                                                                                                                linguafood Jun 19, 2011 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Their loss. '-)

                                                                                                                                                        4. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                                          josquared Jun 11, 2011 06:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                          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
                                                                                                                                                            tatamagouche Jun 12, 2011 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                                                                        5. LorenM Jun 10, 2011 09:13 PM

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

                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LorenM
                                                                                                                                                            goodhealthgourmet Jun 10, 2011 09:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                                                                              fourunder Jun 11, 2011 07:40 AM

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


                                                                                                                                                          2. Will Owen Jun 10, 2011 06:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                            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 ...

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