The "Why, Exactly, Do You Work Here?" Thread

So I’m trying a new recipe out tonight for a friend who’ll be in town. Penne with Vodka. Not horrendously difficult, but has some items I wouldn’t normally have around the apartment.

Naturally, I went to the grocery store to pick them up (hardware stores are suprisingly bare of fresh parsley). I checked all the items off my list, except for the prosciutto. So I asked the butcher.

“Do you stock prosciutto?”
“What’s that?”

He didn’t. He didn’t just ask me what prosciutto is, did he? He’s a BUTCHER, ferchrissake!

“Wait, what?” I ask.
“What is it?”
“What’s prosciutto?”

Yup. The butcher just asked me what prosciutto is. I better not tell him it’s like bacon, because he’ll send me to the wrong place.

“It’s like an italian ham.”
“Dunno. Check with deli meats.”

The deli guy didn’t know either! So I hunted around, and it was with the spendy pre-packaged herbs next to the pricey (read: not cheddar) cheeses. Not too terribly difficult, and I probably would have been able to find it, but c’mon! Also, I didn’t expect them to have a big block of prosciutto to slice off of (although I was holding out a glimmer of hope that’d be the case), but I was expecting to encounter a butcher with at least one iota of knowledge in his own field.

I don’t know how many butchers are in “Parts Unknown,” where you live, but maybe it’s time to find another. By the way, don’t use the cherry vodka for this dish. On the other hand, if your butcher is a helpful sort, he can probably order some prosciutto if you’ll write it down.

Go to a deli.

Way back when, I went into the Oakland Beehive (RIP) and noticed the title “Reflecting Skin*” on the marquee. “Must be a movie,” I thought, since the Beehive had a movie theater. But I’d never heard of it, and there was no “Coming Soon” poster inside the cafe, so I asked the counter jockey.

Me: What’s “Reflecting Skin”?

CJ: …It’s that stuff bike riders use so cars can see them at night.

Me: No, it must be a movie; it’s on your marquee. I don’t see a poster for it; I was just wondering if you knew anything.

CJ: …It’s stuff you put on your skin.

Me: No, it must be the name of a movie, if it’s on the marquee.

CJ: …That’s the only reflecting skin I know.

Me: Why’s it on the marquee, then?

CJ: …There’s gonna be a bike riders’ convention here in the fall.

Me: :wally :smack:

*It is a movie, actually called The Reflecting Skin, and I did see it. I won’t link to it, though, because I don’t recommend it unless you’re really hot for Viggo Mortensen. Otherwise, save your time and your next three meals.

You didn’t pronounce it “pros-i-cutto” did you? :smiley:

It’s prounounced “prochzuut”

It’s the same when my friends pronounce:

mozzerella as …MAHZer-ella (kind of like barbarella)

ricotta as … ree-cot-a

instead of:


How do you pronounce “prochzuut?”

That depends on where you are. Around here, if you asked for mooz-er-elle, you’d get a funny look, but no cheese. A (mercifully ex) boyfriend once insisted on ordering manicotti in a restaurant. I warned him, when I heard him say it, that no one would understand what he meant. Nonsense, he insisted, there was only one correct pronunciation and my education had clearly been deficient. He said it five times to the incomprehending waiter until finally I said, “He wants the manicotti.”

And most people I know say “pro-shoot-oh.”

I put a “c” where an “s” should be lol.

Yeah I guess because of living here on the East Coast by NYC I get the eye-talian influence on how to say certain things lol