You Say Pistachio

[So when the two younger brothers fumble their posting duties, who do they look to for content?  That’s right.  Given the choice between one of the funny brothers, and the one who is just stable and steady and always there for you . . . okay, yeah, you still pick a funny brother.  And that’s why you’re always going to get disappointed in life, you know that, right?]

I was telling two ladies in the office the other day about this great snack at Costco.  Some kind of crazy fusion of blueberries, pomegranate seeds, and pistachios.  They burst out laughing.

I backtracked—“really, it’s good stuff . . .”  “what, you think it’s girly?”  “yeah, pomegranates are FUNNY!”  But none of those feelers seemed to stop the laughing.


One of them said “say it again.”



And so I ventured.


Gales of laughter.

My buddy in the room looked up at me and gave me a look that said he sympathized, but that he would not be able to come to my aid on this one.  It took me several awkward minutes of trying not to look like a bad sport to figure out what was so funny.  Turns out that only pretentious Brahmins with fake English accents and pocket-square hankies in their breast pockets say “Pi-stAH-she-o.”  If you get off your high horse, your cool, no-nonsense tongue is obviously going to amble its way right down to “Pi-stA-she-o.”  ‘a’ like in ‘casual.’  Like in ‘mAn of the people.’

Since then I’ve thought it over constantly.  I can’t hear it.  And I think I have as refined a pretension detector as ever came out of Farm-town, Utah.  I’ve lambasted every Easterner I ever came across who said “aunt” like “want,” instead of like “ant,” the way you say it when you’re not reading the word directly out of your trust fund documents.  I finally stopped visiting for good when I saw that they continued to think they can spell ‘Utahan’ better than us Utahns can.  And I won’t even mention the peculiar insistence of the non-Western elites on talking about their trips to Nevaaahda and Coloraahdo.


Seriously, what do you know about Colorado?

So yeah, it gives me great insecurity to find that I’ve been talking down to people all this time with the name of a little nut.  Really, guys, I’m not like that.  I can be cool.  In fact just the other day my wife was making fun of me because I say apprishiate, where all of her country club friends apparently say appreee-she-ate.

And not only am I insecure now, I’ve entered a bit of an existential crisis.  If I can’t hear the condescension in pistahchio, could it be possible that my classmates in D.C. couldn’t hear how smug they were when they talked about their aaaauhnts?  It’s not a possibility I’m willing to consider.  The world and all of the categories of people that populate it could implode too easily into one great mass of normal, unassuming folks just talking how they were taught to talk.

That’s the last thing I’m prepared to consider.

As a compromise, I’ll just admit to being pretentious when I talk about nuts, and I’ll admit that you’re being pretentious whenever you say anything I don’t think sounds right, too.  Fair?

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18 Responses to You Say Pistachio

  1. Braden says:

    “several awkward minutes of trying not to look like a bad sport to figure out was funny ” Oh, I hate that! I know exactly what you are talking about. You just want to figure out why everyone’s laughing at you, but you just end up looking like a bad sport. Hate that.

    Now do you feel bad for mocking me so much when I came home after my first semester of acting training at BYU trying to talk like Patrick Stewart?

  2. Ryan says:

    No. When you tried to get me to use your British accented pronunciation of “theatah,” when I was 13, I knew I had to let you learn those lessons for yourself (and that I would enjoy watching).

  3. Ben Pratt says:

    I am rather certain your story proceeded as follows: “Oh my heck. There’s these snacks on sell at Costco, acrossed from the checkout. They are way chill.”

    I, on the other hand, have taken to pronouncing the majestic English tongue in the only proper way; that is, precisely in the manner of Henry Higgins.

  4. Andrea W. says:

    LOL, Ben. Ryan, I’m with you, I feel pretty unpretensious with the exception of saying the “t” in Layton and I say Pistachio the same way. Those co-workers must be from a different area of a Utah, you know different Utah dialect. I get where they’re coming from on the whole laughing at you thing though I can’t keep a straight face everytime my husband asks for na-kin, you know, since he’s not 5.

  5. Christian says:

    The uppity east coast “aunt” always drove me crazy. Same with the weirdos (I don’t know if this is specific to a region, or simply used by mama’s boys everywhere who call milk and pillows “melk” and “pellows.”

    I noticed a few years ago that a lot of Utah girls put very hard G’s (almost K’s) on the ends “ing” words, as in “Let’s go swimmingk”

  6. Davis says:

    Just so you know, I know say Colorado the East Coast way. On purpose. To sound rich.

  7. Eliza says:

    funny stuff. I think I would have been laughing at you too, that is weird. But isn’t it so scary when you see yourself from someone else’s perspective and realize you’ve had the blindspot all along but to them it’s glaring? Really one of my biggest fears is being clueless of a weakness/quirk or a pronunciation. ; )

  8. StefStar says:

    My favorite thing is return missionaries who give their sacrament meeting report in 99% Utah dialect, only to suddenly become a foreigner, thus:

    “Oh my heck, I like totally loved the melk in BWEHNOS EYE-DAYS ARD-HEN-TEEN-AH.”

    I mean, I know it’s hard to go back to Americanizing words once you know their proper pronunciation, but come on.

  9. Landon says:

    every time someone asks me where I went on my mission i say chile, like red hot chili peppers cause i don’t want to sound like one of those missionaries, and people always correct me! “isn’t it Chile (CHEE-LAY)?” yeah I know it is pronounced like that, I speak spanish, I lived there for two years. I just didn’t know if you would understand what I was saying if i said CHEE-LAY. I seriously think about it every time i have to say it.

  10. InkMom says:

    Hey, I’m a Carolina girl (not rich) and my west coast BYU roommates ridiculed me incessantly for my pronunciation of Colorado and Nevada. So we compromised, and agreed on a rare bit of English language pronunciation consistency. I now say Colorado and Nevada the way the natives do, and my roommates agreed to pronounce the name of my beloved mountains the CORRECT way: NOT AppaLAYshun, AppaLATCHian. And we all win.

  11. Troy says:

    Steph I totally agree with you. Anyone that just got back from RRRoma is fooling themselves, since ‘Rome’ is probably the easiest word to say in English. But I do think you chose possibly one of the very few exceptions to the rule by using Buenos Aires as an example. Rosario. Sounds fine in English. Mendoza. Great (though I substitute the Z for an S sound successfully without sounding like Che Guevarra). ‘Argentina’ with a hard “g” is no problem–even preferred. But BWE-NAWS AYRE-EASE sounds so retarded I can’t stand it. Agreed on 97% of any other words/cities though. Another example of an exception: Try saying ‘Neoquen’ in English without sounding like you’re from the south. (Whoopsie daisy, InkMom.)

    But nice call anyways…RMs and news reporters do need to tone it down.

  12. Danica says:

    Okay, I’m totally confused. Is there another way to pronounce Colorado besides Colorahhdo? Colo-RAY-do? I hope you were wearing your cuff links that day at work. I love your thought process when they started laughing…“what, you think it’s girly?” “yeah, pomegranates are FUNNY!”

  13. Christian says:

    Hey InkMom, what part of Carolina you from/live in? I served my mission in the western half of North Carolina. Love that place.

  14. Dave Cook says:

    What about Mayonnaise? Is it MAN-aze or MAY-uh-naze? Apparently growing up in Utah I should say it MAY-uh-naze, and I’m pretentious for saying MAN-aze.

  15. Christian says:

    Dave Cook! How you been, buddy?

  16. Brendan says:

    You know, pistAHschio is nothing really. If you really wanted to go for the pedantry award, you’d say “pee-stAH-key-oh.”

  17. Neil says:

    Sorry to burst your bubble but the correct way to say “pistachio” is pee-stack-e-o. The “ch” is hard. Saying pee-stash-e-o is like saying brush-etta for bruchetta (i.e. it should be brusk-etta, even 2nd generation Italians will try and correct you when you say it correctly.)

    So, you can out-pretentious all your friends with this little snippet!

  18. Nachhilfe says:

    i hate snow, can i do something to get rid of white snow?

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