Southern Foods You're Probably Mispronouncing

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Tomato aspicThis bright red, chilled tomato gelatin is an old-fashioned Southern favorite on hot summer days. Think of it as a cold tomato soup that you eat with a fork.How to say it: "Toe-MAY-toe Asp-ICK".

We've all been there. You're at a restaurant, menu in hand, totally tongue-tied on how to pronounce a dish. Is that shrimp and rice dish called "et-ooh-fey" or "e-toof"? Do you want a slice of "PEE-can" pie or "Pee-CAHN" pie? Check out this list of the most commonly mispronounced Southern foods.


This flavorful sausage is traditionally made with pork, rice, onions, and seasonings. The mixture can be stuffed into casings and smoked or poached, but it's often made into breaded, deep-fried boudin balls.

How to say it: "BOO-dan"


A brand of hickory-smoked pork sausage made in Alabama. It's great in a breakfast casserole too.

How to say it: "Cah-NECK-ah"


Étouffée, a thick and rich shellfish stew served over rice, gets its name from the French word "to smother."

How to say it: "Eh-too-fey"


Look in a Cajun cook's pantry and you'll likely find a jar of this spice, made from dried, ground sassafras leaves. It's often added to gumbo to thicken and flavor the dish.

How to say it: "FEE-lay"


Many of Louisana's most famous dishes are also the trickiest to pronounce. There are many ways to make this hearty rice dish, but it typically includes tomatoes, stock, garlic, onions, green peppers, lots of spices, and one or more types of protein such as shrimp, sausage, and chicken.

How to say it: "Jum-buh-LIE-ah"


Popular in Texas, this buttery pastry originated in Czechoslovakia. Kolaches can be sweet or savory; typical fillings include fruit preserves, sausage, and cabbage, but some bakeries have gotten pretty creative with flavors running the gamut from Jalaepeno Popper to Cream Cheese and Pecan.

How to say it: "Koh-LATCH-ee"


The backbone of French—and Creole and Cajun—dishes, mirepoix is the aromatic trio of diced carrots, celery, and onion, usually sautéed in butter or oil.

How to say it: "Meer-PWAH"


The South's most famous nut (other than the peanut) is said differently in different parts of the South. Whether you say "PEE-can" or "Pee-CAHN" is up to you. We're not taking sides in that debate.


A tangy mayonnaise-based sauce usually flavored with mustard, garlic, paprika, and an acidic ingredient like pickle juice or vinegar, plus other add-ins. It's most often served with steamed shrimp, crab cakes, po' boy sandwiches, or as a dipping sauce with fried pickles or French fries.

How to say it: "Rem-ooh-lahd"


A gluten-free whole grain grown in the drier parts of the South, sorghum can be milled into flour, distilled into liquor, made into a sweet syrup, cooked as a grain, or popped like popcorn.

How to say it: "Sore-gum"

Tomato aspic

This bright red, chilled tomato gelatin is an old-fashioned Southern favorite on hot summer days. Think of it as a cold tomato soup that you eat with a fork.

How to say it: "Toe-MAY-toe Asp-ICK"

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