Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

On this national election day, let us put aside our political differences to talk about something that is truly important... let's talk about the correct pronunciation of the word pecan.

Why, you may be asking yourself, is this particular subject, important though it may be, weighing on my mind today of all days? I made some chocolate chip cookies for a bake sale at Maggie's school today (her school is a polling station, so she has the day off and they do a bake sale fundraiser). And because Grandma the Great's famous chocolate chip cookie recipe traditionally includes pecans, I put pecans in them. This always knocks yankees off their feet for some reason. They are routinely startled by the ingenious idea of including PECANS, of all nuts, in your chocolate chip cookies. I don't mind this as it makes my already noteworthy cookie recipe even more special. I like this kind of attention, I have to admit. My problem with it is that they always mispronounce pecan.

All you Southerners out there better put earmuffs on your young'uns for this next part: they pronounce it PEE-can. I know! It's an abomination before the Lord. It gives me heart palpitations every time. It happened again this morning - right in front of my kindergartner! The nerve of some people.

Let's take a look at some facts about pecan cultivation in the United States, shall we? (Come on, what else have you really got to do? If you had anything better planned for today then you wouldn't be reading my blog. Give me a break.)

Here is a map of the pecan-growing region which I stole from Wikipedia:

South Central, Represent!

According to Wikipedia, 80-95% of all the pecans in the world are grown in the US, with Oklahoma being the fourth-leading pecan producing state. A strictly New World species, they are a patriotic, 'Merican-grown nut, and both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington cultivated them in their nut orchards. The place I consider to be my hometown still holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the largest pecan pie ever baked. I'm just telling y'all this to give you an idea of my pecan credentials. I know pecans. Just so we're clear on that.

So how does one pronounce the word pecan? Yankees will try to argue with you that it's perfectly OK for them to pronounce it PEE-can. They are deluded. We Southerners do deign to include your laughable pronunciation in dictionaries and such simply because we are POLITE. Not because it's correct. Plus we need foolproof ways to identify you as Not-One-Of-Us. Even if you try to move to Dallas, wear Lone Star red-white-and-blue clothing, paint your truck UT burnt orange, and learn all the words to Deep in the Heart of Texas, you will still give yourself away as an outlander the first time you butcher the word pecan. We're keeping our eye on you.

The only appropriate, wholesome, and civilized way to pronounce pecan is: puh-KAHN. If you don't pronounce it this way, you are obviously a communist and you should move to Canada immediately. And take your god-forsaken macadamia nuts with you.

If you need further proof (besides just taking my word for it - why do you have to be so difficult?) you can go to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary online and listen to their audio pronunciation of pecan. See, told ya so.

And now I'm afraid I must go pick up Kate from preschool, so our discourse on the proper pronunciation of praline will have to wait for another day.

I'm so glad we had this little talk and cleared up this misunderstanding. I'm sure you are also relieved to know the truth so you can stop embarrassing yourself in this way. We Southerners do like to be helpful like that.

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