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Nicci King is an unabashed foodie and the Lifestyle/Food editor in The Enquirer's features department. She loves to discover new food faves, and she's on a daily quest to answer one burning question: What's for dinner? E-mail her at nking@enquirer.com.


Enquirer Weekend editor Julie Gaw tends to order the same dish every time she eats at a restaurant, but periodically ventures out to discover something new and fabulous. After living in China, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Thailand for more than 8 years, she craves tasty Asian food. E-mail her at jgaw@enquirer.com.


Food/dining writer Polly Campbell loves every quirk and secret of Cincinnati's food personality, and is on a constant lookout for something good to eat. Keep an eye out for her restaurant picks, or see how she's progressing toward becoming famous for her apple pie. E-mail her at pcampbell@enquirer.com.


Communities reporter Rachel Richardson is on a mission to prove vegetarians eat more than lettuce. She shares both her graduate work on American food culture and food-related news.. E-mail her at rrichardson@enquirer.com.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Mamma mia, learn to spell!

I'm a copy editor. My job is, among other things, to correct spelling, grammar and inconsistencies. One of my biggest peeves is misused and misspelled foreign words.
If I ever poured tons of money into opening my dream restaurant, I'd spell-check the menu and let someone else edit it, too. (A fool edits his or her own copy, my mentor says.) It's amazing how many (upscale) places have spelling and grammar errors on the menu. It's a little more excusable to make errors in a foreign language, but in this Internet world, a foreign-language dictionary is only a click away. Or, if you're using more than a few foreign words, find a native speaker. While living in Korea, a friend and I wanted to start a service to spell-check signs for businesses. We'd have made a fortune!
Today's example: portobello. Those delicious, meaty fungi are not portabella, portabello or portabello. It's p-o-r-t-o-b-e-l-l-o. Do a google search for portabella. Know what you get? "Did you mean: portobello"
That's all.
I'll climb down off my soapbox now. Happy Tuesday.
(CiN Weekly photo by Leigh Taylor)


8 Comments:

at 10:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a spanish-speaker, I see this often in restaurants as well, and even in the store. Just the other day, I bought a bag of "mexican" shredded cheese from Jungle Jims. The bag said it contained many cheeses, one of them being "Assadaro" cheese. Of course they meant "asadero", basically meaning for grilling or for roasting.
Not that big of a deal, I admit, but I found it amazing that they wouldn't even verify the name of it before printing it on packaging and selling it, just seems lazy.

 
at 11:56 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Wow! I don't like that marketers/restaurateurs/printers/whoever assume that Americans/people in the U.S. don't/can't speak other languages. You wouldn't send a resume (just tried to do the html coding for e, accent aigu, and it was rejected!) without spell-checking it, so why would you print a package with a misspelled word! Oy!

 
at 4:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should your job not also include checking your facts and/or spelling before you publish them? The American Heritage Dictionary accepts portobello, portabella, and portabello as acceptable spellings. Furthermore, the name's foreign origins are dubious. I won't say I know the absolute truth, but it has been suggested in a variety of sources that the name is simply made up - a ploy by marketers to glorify a mushroom the public originally perceived as overgrown and unappetizing. This theory attributes the variation in spelling not to ignorance, but simply to marketing differences.

 
at 6:32 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll second the second Anon comment, re: checking your own spelling. "Those delicious, meaty fungi are not portabella, portabello or portabello." You point out it is not spelled "portabello" twice.

 
at 9:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, we know the old saying about people in glass houses.

 
at 11:55 AM Blogger Stepf said...

Touche. (Again, the accent marks can't be used here. Drats!) I'm blushing, but we use Webster's New World here, and it lists our preferred "portobello." *(And that's what I get for editing my own copy.) I did research this before writing, but I was a bit zealous. I'm cranky in the mornings. Perhaps I should wait until after lunch to post most days! I'm a bit wound-up... Still annoyed by restaurant menu errors though! (They're not as bad as signs at convenience stores and gas stations. Oy! Another blog, another time.)

 
at 1:22 PM Anonymous nicejewishgirl said...

I hear you sister! I once called Brio's in Newport to inform them that panini is spelled "panini" and not "paninni" as they have it spelled on their awning. (Four semesters of college Italian and I get all sanctimonious.) They said that someone else called before to tell them this so I'm not the only crazy. Wait, are you the one that called them?

 
at 2:40 PM Blogger Stepf said...

Thanks, nicejewishgirl. I didn't call to tell them. Kudos to you and the other grammarians who did! I get annoyed by "paninis." If you're going to use Italian words, follow the proper plural/singular rule: "panino"! I have the same attitude, and I've just got a few months of self-taught Italian and a couple of crash courses with my friend's mom who speaks no English. The worst: Bon temps, bon (sted bonne) vie. It's a chain. There's one in Columbus. The food is pretty good, but the grammar on the sign irks me!

 
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