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written by Sam Greenspan

A guacamole served on a black bowl.

We’ve all been saying these culinary terms wrongly, from bruschetta to guacamole to bouillon. Let’s discover the correct food pronunciations.

This list is dedicated to all the people who pronounce “Chipotle” as chip-poh-tul, the Brittas of the word who prounouce “bagel” like it rhymes with “haggle,” and, of course, the people from Louisiana who will literally cut you with a huntin’ knife for saying pray-leen.

That’s not all. Because food pronunciations can be as exquisite as the food itself, many people find themselves caught in a web of linguistic confusion. It’s a phenomenon that transcends borders and cultures.

In fact, the world of food pronunciations has become a playground for linguistic enthusiasts and a source of endless debates, just like what I’m about to start right now.

This is your chance to get even on your grammar nazi guy (or girl) who constantly corrects you out of the slightest mispronunciation. Yeah, you can beat him by becoming a bigger grammar nazi AND food nazi at the same time.

So go on, take that person to a restaurant where you mastered all the food pronunciations in their menu.

Food pronunciations that you’ve been saying incorrectly

Here are 11 food and drink terms that are commonly mispronounced. My criterion for the list: If I’ve been pronouncing the word wrong without realizing it, it made the list. (That’s why quinoa and gnocchi are nowhere to be found.)

And if I’ve been mispronouncing these food words, there’s a pretty good chance that you have been as well.

1 | Buffet

Common mispronunciation: buh FAY
Real pronunciation: boo FAY

Yes — Cousin Eddie has been saying it right all these years. Try the yellow.

And if I were to give a dollar for every food pronunciation that I’ve been saying incorrectly, I’d probably be broke by now, especially when I’m going to a buffet restaurant. It’s always those seemingly innocent and easy French words that manage to trip me up every time.

2 | Guacamole

Common mispronunciation: gwah kah MOH lee
Real pronunciation: wah kah MOH lee

So the 7,000 times a day that the staff at Chipotle says, “Guacamole is $1.75 extra, is that ok?” they should really be pronouncing it without the “g.” Just pronounce it as if you’re at a Mexican arcade, and you want to play whack-a-mole.

And no, Eduardo, Gru, and the rest of the Despicable Me production team, it’s not “gwak-a-mole” as you hilariously depicted. The correct pronunciation of this delectable avocado dip is “wah-kah-MOH-lee.”

A guacamole served on a bowl in the middle of the table with other food assortments.

3 | Muffuletta

Common mispronunciation: muff ah LET tuh
Real pronunciation: moo fah LET tuh

Sorry. But if I see the word “muff,” I’m saying “muff.” I blame my friend Nathan, whose favorite word from 1998 through present was muff.

4 | Sriracha

Common mispronunciation: sur AH cha
Real pronunciation: shree Ra cha

This fiery red sauce has taken the culinary world by storm. But when it comes to its pronunciation, things can get a little more spicy, pun intended

Sriracha is one of those things that became a “thing” out of nowhere, and now people discuss it as if the world would cease to spin without it. It’s the Downton Abbey of condiments.

5 | Pinot noir

Common mispronunciation: pee no no ARR
Real pronunciation: pee no NWAHR

This elegant red wine has captivated wine enthusiasts around the globe. But when it comes to its pronunciation, even the most seasoned wine connoisseurs can stumble over this delicate name.

I’m not a wine connoisseur, but I never knew I was pronouncing “noir” wrong. I guess I’ve also been pronouncing it wrong in the phrase “film noir.” How I’ve been mispronouncing it for two decades — that’s a mystery. The kind of mystery that walks into your office on a slow day with red lipstick and gams that just seem to go on for weeks.

The correct pronunciation of Pinot Noir is “pee-no NWAHR.” Yes, it’s a combination of a soft “pee” sound followed by a quick “no” and a slightly emphasized “NWAHR” that rolls off the tongue.

6 | Bruschetta

Common mispronunciation: broo sheh tah
Real pronunciation: broo SKEH tah

Mispronouncing bruschetta is as common as the enjoyment of this delicious antipasto. With its Italian origins, it’s no surprise that its pronunciation has been subject to some confusion…

The correct way to say bruschetta is “broo-SKEH-tah.” Yes, it’s a delightful combination of a soft “broo” sound followed by a quick “SKEH” and a gentle “tah” at the end…

Oh yeah, Internet? I pronounce “bruschetta” incorrectly? Then how come the servers at Buca di Beppo have never corrected me?

Delicious bruschetta served in a row.

7 | Bouillon

Common mispronunciation: bull YON
Real pronunciation: boo YON

Bouillon is a French word for broth. It is a flavorful liquid made by simmering meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables in water.

Turns out, the little cubes you drop in soup aren’t the same as the gold coins they sell during 3:00 A.M. infomercials. Arguably because bouillon and bullion are different words.

8 | Sake

Common mispronunciation: SAH key
Real pronunciation: SAH keh

Fascinating. Who knew sake followed the same pronunciation schematic as Jackee?

9 | Mascarpone

Common mispronunciation: marz kah PONE
Real pronunciation: mas kar POH nay

Mascarpone is the creamy Italian cheese that adds a luscious touch to our favorite desserts.

When you pronounce it right (and don’t gets pwn3d by the last syllables), it lends itself so nicely to an Italian accent. (Which then, sadly, leads to me being unable to resist banging out a few more sentences of generic Super Mario dialogue. “Mascarpone. Let’s-a go! It’s-a me, Mario.” And so on.)

A slice of cake whipped with mascarpone cream.

10 | Horchata

Common mispronunciation: HORE cha tuh
Real pronunciation: ORRRRRRR cha tuh

Drop the “h” and give that “r” the full-on Hispanic news anchor treatment. Bonus: If you roll the “r” for long enough, perhaps your tongue will go numb and actually allow you to briefly tolerate the taste of horchata.

11 | Hummus

Common mispronunciation: HUMM us
Real pronunciation: HOOM us

After writing this, I’m going to start properly saying the food pronunciations of 10 out of the 11 words on this list. This is the exception.

I refuse to be a hoom-us person. Because hoom-us people wear scarves in the summer and buy lillies and talk about the pros and cons of montessori education. I will NOT become a hoom-us person.