Friday, October 17, 2008

mother knows best

as it happens, i was schooled by my mom in the great carmel/caramel debate and i am woman enough to admit it here for all to see. she left this response (with lightning speed, i might add) to the caramel vs. carmel question of the most recent frances cake post:

Didn't you learn at your parents' knee to keep a dictionary in the kitchen? Caramel: 1 sugar or syrup heated until it turns brown, used as a flavouring or colouring (okay, it's the Oxford English dictionary) for food or drink. 2 a soft toffee made with sugar and butter that have been melted and further heated.
Carmel -- not a word.*
But your caramel cake looks delicious and your friend looks nice.

(*not to get nit-picky here, mom, but i might point out that carmel is a word as far as it refers to the california town of which clint eastwood was mayor. just for the record.)

but, i guess that explanation pretty much clears it up. as far as the spelling question, at least. (though i might be the only one who thought we were dealing with two separate spellings. sort of the like the time i realized the opening lyrics to "surfin' usa" were not, in fact, "if everybody had a notion" but rather "if everybody had an ocean." i have been assured i am the only person in the history of the world who has ever made that mistake.) the question of how the word should be pronounced, and when and why, is still open for debate. and my caramel-pronounced-as-carmel for sauces, etc. and caramel-pronounced-as-caramel for stand-alone candy is still a pretty solid argument, i think.

also, i feel compelled to clarify that my parents do, indeed, keep the oxford english dictionary (abridged version) in the kitchen. and it is, indeed, consulted to settle some vocabulary dispute or another at least once a meal.

and, in conclusion, at my friend jill's very good suggestion, hereafter all frances cake recipes will be included in the post, so everyone can enjoy the goodness (except, ironically, for jill who currently lives in africa where cake resources are, well, scarce). holla! so, here is the delicious caramel cake, another winner from if you need to know what something looks like when it's "soft-balling," i suggest you call emily's mom, jayne.


Anonymous said...

Technically, there is a difference between a "word," in the grammatical sense, and a "place name." Carmel is a place name, but it is not a word. So, as is usual, your mother is correct.

Anonymous said...

I really debated whether to send a second comment, but since our grammar discussion, I thought I should point out another discrepancy. You used "heretofore" as foreward looking. It is not, but rather the opposite. Heretofore: up to this time (according to Webster).

frances said...

i'll concede the "heretofore"/"hereafter" point. (i knew that one!) and i fixed it.

Abby said...

There must be something about misunderstanding the Beach Boys. I was singing along and Jonathan started laughing at me. Supposedly "Ba ba ba, ba bab a ram" is in fact "Barbara Ann." Ever since childhood I have sung it incorrectly. Now of course listening to the lyrics it makes perfect sense that it is a female name. I don't know though, I think I will continue to sing "ba ba ram" anyway. It is more fun.

Jill N said...

Yeah!!! Frances Johnson is a woman of the people!

And best of all? Now I have a plan for when I get back to America...bake cakes!