A question on pasta.

Hi! I’m new here, and while I think this is the right place for this thread, feel free to move it if I’m wrong.

Now then- having traveled all over the country (the US) and been grocery shopping in much of it, I’ve noticed something rather odd that I’m wondering if I’m alone in: pasta shells and wheels. That they’re sold as shells and wheels, that is- every other form of (Italian) pasta out there is named in Italian. Granted, you’ll sometimes see capellini as ‘angel hair’, and there may be other minor exceptions, but on the whole, it’s these two and just these two. Since my Italian dictionary doesn’t identify the words for shells or wheels as anything especially difficult to spell or pronounce, I imagine this is more a matter of simple marketing than something deeper, but I can’t help but wonder.

Of course, this could be a question of my mistaking the decisions of a few large brands for a nation- and industry-wide trend. After all, this is just a personal observation. But has anyone else picked up on this? Is it the same in other (English-speaking, mostly) countries? And does anyone have the any idea why?

I can swear I’ve seen the wheels advertised with an italian name on the box, at least once. Perhaps not.

Shells always do seem to be shells!

I wish I could have been more helpful!

For what it’s worth, I’ve got a box of shells, and it’s labeled Barilla (which is the brand name) Jumbo Shells Conchiglie Giganti. I live just outside Fort Worth, Texas. I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen wheels labeled in Italian, too.

<moderation>And since this deals with food and language, I’m going to move it from In My Humble Opinion over to Cafe Society.</moderation>

I always see rotelle as rotelle, not wagon wheels.

Shells, OTOH…

Conchiglie and rotelle? I feel like I see the names on packaging from time to time. Granted, brands like Kraft might not put the Italian. Rotelle is easy to pronounce. Conchiglie is not, it has a least a few letter-phoneme pairings which are which aren’t common in English.


Now I’m going to have to travel down the pasta aisle and take a look. Too bad I already did my shopping today.

The local brand, Creamette, always lists shells as shells. They also offer rings. I don’t recall an Italian name on that package either.

I don’t speak Italian, but it’s my understanding when you have the “gl” in a word, the “g” is silent.

Conchiglie = conch-ee-li-ee is my best guess.

More like “con-keel-yay” I’d say.

Yeah, I know. Mine was quoting the average middle American.

“ch” is “k” sound before i or e. Before a o u a “c” will suffice.

“gl” is a sound that doesn’t quite occur in English. It’s a palatal lateral approximant. Biffy’s one is how it’s usually explained.

And vowels are very regular, e.g. “i” is “ee” not “ih.”

Yep, it’s shells = conchiglie and wagon wheels = rotelle

I’ve always pronounced them con-KEE-lee.

How Italian words are pronounced depends on which major Italian city the speaker is from. For instance, Prosciutto is pronounced differently in New York from the way it is pronounced in Philadelphia or Boston.

For shame. You can’t name the nearby major Italian city with a history that dates past the Renaissance apparently, Providence? Or New Haven?

In parts of New York the pronounce capicola “gabagool,” so I wouldn’t put much stock in some pronunciations. 3/8 letters ain’t bad.

More like “con-KEEL-yeh.”

[QUOTE=In parts of New York the pronounce capicola “gabagool,” so I wouldn’t put much stock in some pronunciations. 3/8 letters ain’t bad.[/QUOTE]

I believe the word that you described as “gabagool” is written as “cavetelli” here in America. You also need to be careful in that pronuciation as it’s close to a pretty bad word in some Italian households.

Elbows, anyone?

“Gabagool” is “capicola.” (ETA: As I see thelurkinghorror has already explained.)

Nope, gabagool is capicola, a meat. Googling suggests the cavatelli pasta is called (spellings vary)" “gabadeel,” “gavadeel,” “gavadill,” etc. So they could sound very similar in a Sicilian accent filtered through English with a large helping of New England accent.

Good point. “Gomito” might be the word?

Conchiglie are sometimes called orecchiette (little ears).

Gomito and Stortini, looks like.