How Do You Pronounce ‘Beignet?’ Well, You Could Be Saying It Wrong
Remember the old George Gershwin classic, "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off?" "You say 'po tay to' and I say 'po tah to,' and on and on. Well, there seems to be a Louisiana version of that little linguistic controversy brewing, and that's the proper way to say "beignet." And by proper, we mean, how do say it in New Orleans!
So, here's the question! Do you pronounce that fried little fritter with the accent on the first or second syllable, i.e., do you pronounce it "ben YAY' or BEN yay?" Because, believe it or not, one is right and one is wrong!
But first, a little background from spoonuniversity.com:
"A beignet is a dessert associated with New Orleans, Louisiana. It's traditionally made of a light pastry dough called choux that you might be familiar with thanks to the beignet's close cousins, the éclair and the cream puff. It’s very delicate and requires careful preparation. Instead of rising in an oven, beignets puff up from being deep-fried in vegetable oil (or lard in the 1800s, but more on that later) and doused with powdered sugar to create a fluffy, airy treat"
But now, back to our dilemma: Ben YAY or BEN yay? Well, here's the final word, once again from spoonuniversity.com:
"...the pronunciation is hardly controversial. Since the term is traditionally French, the correct way to say it is simply 'BEN-yay'"
Yep, there you go Cajun wannabes, the definitive answer! If you want to sound like a real native of the southern part of the Pelican state...no more "ben YAYS!" But, either way, no doubt next time you're in the Big Easy, no matter how you say it, your server will know exactly what you want.