Monday, January 31

The "what a silly gringo" smile

I was reminded this week that I had promised (while writing about a pizza adventure) to rant a bit about restaurants that name their dishes things that I can't pronounce.

First, I am all for funky named dishes.  Want to call your triple bacon pizza a Porky the Pig? Fine.  Want to call your vegetable pizza a Vegotarian? Go for it.  Mama's special? Awesome. Bloopbleepbloop? Silly, but whatev.

My problem comes in when they try to teach me other languages through the menu.  I get it! You're authentic Italian food!  Exciting! I would like to be able to order without provoking that "what a silly gringo" smile from the waiter/counter person.  I bring as an example Mandola's Italian Market.  We ordered the Pugliese.  It's a pizza with mozzerella, tomato sauce, sausage, onions, and mushrooms.  I don't know what the fuck a pugliese or how to pronounce it, but I went with "puhg-lee-..........." trailing off into mumbling and pointing at it on the menu.  The counter man just smiled like everyone else mispronounces it as well.  He didn't repeat it back properly pronounced (can't decide if them doing that is better or worse), so I still don't know how it's supposed to go.

Living in Texas, I'm used to menus (and everything else) with English/Spanish translation.  Is it too much to ask that they put the Italian word (if they insist on trying to culturally educate me and/or remain "authentic") they translate it so that I can order using those words and not feel like a dumbass?

5 comments:

Jessica said...

Poo-yee-ay-say

Gli in Italian makes a "yee" sound.

Pizza Girl said...

I would not have guessed that pronunciation at all. I was wavering between pug and pewg.

The Book Guy said...

I always thought the sandwich gyro was pronounced like gyroscope. I refuse the say it "properly" now.

Nick said...

I hate that, too. Reflects a lack of understanding about the purpose of the restaurant, imo...Too often the menu is constructed as a means of expression for the constructor, rather than as a tool for the customer...

Something else that annoys me is a lack of clarity re:—well, just about anything. How to order, where to pick up orders. Where to find condiments. Opening and closing times—or even whether or not a restaurant is open or closed when viewing it from the street. So many leave there lights, including main signs and menu boards, blazing all night, and stop even responding to customers at closing time. You never win making a customer feel stupid.

Pizza Girl said...

Nick: even doing what the Asian food restaurants and numbering the items would be helpful.