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What’s the good word?

india Updated: Apr 10, 2010 01:41 IST
Hindustan Times

I went out for dinner on Sunday where the chef poured alcohol over our cake and then lit it. He said it’s called ‘flambaying’. What is the correct pronunciation and spelling of the word?
– Nitin Garg
What you are referring to is called ‘flambé’, which literally means ‘set aflame’ in French. In this liquor is poured over the dish and then ignited. It is pronounced as ‘flaahm-bay’.

I’ve started trying out Italian dishes recently. They use uncommon ingredients such as oregano, basil and thyme. How is thyme pronounced? I also want to know whether basil is pronounced with an ‘s’ sound or a ‘z’ sound.
– Arshi K
The herb is pronounced ‘bay-zuhl’. As for thyme, it’s commonly mispronounced, thanks to the ‘h’ that actually shouldn’t be there! The first two letters don’t sound like they do in ‘the’; ‘thyme’ is pronounced simply as ‘time’.

How does one pronounce risotto?
– Disha Abraham
Unlike how you’ll hear many pronounce it, this Italian rice dish does not sound like ‘ri-zoh-toe’. If you really want to say it like the Italians do, the correct pronunciation would be ‘ree-zawt-toh’, with a soft ‘t’, like it sounds in the Hindi word taarein.

How do you say ‘caviar’? Is the ‘r’ silent?
– Pulkit Madan
The ‘r’ sound is as solid as it is in both ‘roe’ — the fish eggs that are processed in salted brine to make it — and ‘rupee’ — something that you’d have to shell out in the lakhs for a kilogram of this ‘exotic’ delicacy! As for the correct pronunciation, it’s ka-vi-aar.