You Say Panini, I Say Whoa!

Words are funny. Panini is a word.

The word “Panini” is very big in the US. So big, the word “panini” is used for pretty much everything involving bread.

Today I had an old Italian favorite here in California, a “pastrami and cheese with saurkraut panini.” Of course, I really didn’t.

In any case, this is how you order one:

“I’ll have that pastrami and cheese with saurkraut panino, please.”

“Ah, that’d be the panini, right?”

“No, I only want one.”

“But a panini.”

“No, panini is more than one, panino is one. I want a panino.”

“We don’t have that.”

Of course, this borrowing of foreign words and twisting them so that they are meaningless is a game that’s gone on pretty much forever. Why do we do that? Is it one of those things that is funny because it confounds the tourist who actually thinks he’s learned a bit of Italian when in fact he’s not learned a shred of real Italian at all? Is it like putting out a guide that translates “fa schifo” as “mmm, that taste’s good” just to see people make fools of themselves in fine, Italian restaurants? (Fa schifo means disgusting.)

I mean, it’s not so difficult to pronouce “panino” is it?

Then we have the French “entree” which we all know is the main course.

“Look Harvey, these Parisian restaurants are dirt cheap! This entree is only 7 Euros!”

“Babydoll, a slice of pate doesn’t seem like much of a main course.”

“Well dag nab it, the darn French are trying to fool us into thinking the entree is the entry to the meal, the appetizer, when we smart-as-a-tack USians absolutely know it’s the main course! Those Parisians are as mean as people say they are, trying to trick us like that!

“And they smell, too.”

“Isn’t that the reason we all have noses, Pumpkin?”

I gotta go. These people are creepin’ me out.


You Say Panini, I Say Whoa! originally appeared on WanderingItaly.com , updated: Jan 12, 2021 © .

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