You gotta love Paula Deen. She’s a word nymph’s dream, blessherheart.
As a celebrity chef, she’s not my favorite. She lays it on a little thick for my taste—everything from the abundance of saturated fat to the exaggerated drawl. (Please let it be known I appreciate the difference between an accent and a drawl.)
I try to love her, really I do. Largely, it’s that I have trouble getting past her mispronunciations and speech gaffes.
For the record, “vinaigrette” has three syllables. It’s vin-ai-grette. Not vin-e-gar-ette. She’s not alone; restaurant servers aplenty mispronounce the salad dressing. Actually, Paula stretches it to five syllables, splitting the last one in two, like a generous slice of her pink lemonade cake.
But another goof in the same episode as vinaigrette got me thinking of another common mistake that we haven’t talked about here. She said she greases the pan to “assure it doesn’t stick.”
Insure: to guarantee against loss or harm. The diamond is insured against theft. Think “insurance.”
Ensure: to make sure. I will grease the pan to ensure the cake doesn’t stick. Think: I drink Ensure to ensure I get enough nutrients.
Assure: to inform [someone] positively. “Assure” almost always, if not always, precedes an object. I assure you, it will not happen again. The doctor assured him the drug was safe. Think: Rest assured. (you, implied, are the object)
*What, besides vinaigrette, do you find to be the most common food mispronunciations? In the meantime, here’s one person’s take. Note another Paula citation, for stretching “paprika” to four syllables. Good, I’m not the only one who counts.