Friday, September 28, 2007

You say pee-CAN; I say it correctly

As far as I know, pecans aren't grown up here in the northern climes to any great extent. That's probably why no one outside of the South or Texas (not the South; it's Southwest) can pronounce the name of one of my favorite nuts.

"Hey! Want some butter pee-CAN ice cream?"

"Why, no. But I'd love a little butter pe-cahn if you find any."

Since Southerners are often taken to task for mispronouncing words (and rightly so), I always feel it's my prerogative to correct a Northerner who says "peeCAN" instead of the more luscious "pe-cahn" or (if you really want Southern-speak) "pe-cawn".

Picky? Perhaps. But "peeCAN" just lacks dignity. Yes, dignity. It strips a noble nut of its rightful place at the the center of the nut constellation. So, repeat after me: pe-cahn, pe-cahn, pe-cahn.

Very good. Now, run get me some butter pecan ice cream, please.

14 comments:

Dewey said...

Ah! One of my favorite things about the South is pecan pie. It makes my teeth ache just to think about it.

Anonymous said...

My favorite comment on the correct pronunciation of "pecan" comes from Martha Stewart. You "pee in a can" and you eat "pe-cahns".

Chris said...

Thanks for the education, Mary. I really didn't know that. Now I'll be able to ask for them using the correct pronunciation (and I bet I'll get loads of 'corrections'!).

Elsie said...

Without the smooth southern accent pe-cahn just sounds silly. I will try, Mary, but I think it'll always be pee-can pie for me!

MaryB said...

Dewey - I hope you get your fix of pecan pie when you visit the Southland next month. Enjoy!

Anon (Bro?) - well, hooray for Martha. I totally agree.

Chris - glad I could teach you something!

Elsie - no, no. You can't get out of it that easily. Keep practicing and it'll sound natural.

jomoore said...

I blame Billy Crystal in 'When Harry Met Sally'.

Winston said...

You tell 'em, MaryB! I luv me some pe-cahns, any way you wanna throw 'em at me.

Today I was fixin' up a batch of Luzianne ice tea, and when I poured my first glass and stirred it, I realized somethin' else about the South. We have ice tea spoons, those long handle suckers that let you get way down in a big ol' glass of god's chosen nectar without gettin' yer pinkie wet. I lived up nawth for 20 years and the only ones I ever saw were the ones in my kitchen drawer, the ones I took there when I was exiled to Pittsburgh.

Elsie said...

Mary & Winston, up here they're called ice cream or sundae spoons, and they have a higher calling -- ice cream beats iced tea every time!

Anonymous said...

Mary, the South is full of folks who say pee-can...my best friend is one of them. A Douglas, GA native (Coffee Co....way down in South GA) only says pee-can and corrects me! So, we have lots of variations...but the best thing is, pecans are just the most versatile and tasty nuts out there!
Right? Va.Branum

Joy Des Jardins said...

I'm a Pe-cahn person myself.....no correcting needed Mar....

Anonymous said...

Great little post. I love pecans. I am one who mispronounces the name, but then I'm confused about other nuts as well. Is it all-mond, ah-mond, or al-mond?

Roberta @ elusiveabstractions.blogspot.com

Em said...

Thank you for setting people straight! Now if only the entire world would read this post and adhere to it.

MaryB said...

Well, it seems folks fall on all sides of this one, but I'll stand by my correct pronunciation of "Pecan." Jo - yeah, damn Billy Crystal and his "PEE-CAN pie with peppricosh" or whatever! Virginia -I have never heard a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner say pee-CAN. Yo' friends must've had Yankee parents! (Now, I have heard Southerners say "PEE-cahn.") Winston and Elsie - y'all can fight it out between yerselves over the iced teaspoons and sundae spoons (I'd say they can do double-duty, in a pinch, eh?). Anon - I talk so fast that I'm sure I say "ah-mond," instead of "al-mond," but I'll defer to the Californians on that one. And Em and Joy - I knew you'd be in my corner!

Nuts to you all (and I mean that with the very best of wishes and good health)!

chux said...

I didn't know that!! Pee-cahn it will be from now on. People will think i've just got a speech impediment or something but I dont mind.