Synonyms, Language & Grocery Shopping
Sweet or Savory? Based on appearances, these little cracker/cookies could have gone either way. Unfortunately, I was in the mood for a little, sweet cookie, so my stomach overruled my mind.
Wandering around the grocery store, of course all the labels and packages are in Italian. How do I know what I’m looking at and am about to buy? Word derivations and synonyms! Every trip to the grocery store requires “pattern recognition” and a willingness to be exploratory with language.
Take this label for instance… (I should have read it more closely at the store, but like I said, I WANTED these to be sweet!)
The following is a reenactment of the mental hoops I jumped through when reading the ingredient list on this cracker label:
Fette – I had just learned that word so I could order bresaola. It means SLICES.
Pane – Like pan, in Spanish, it means BREAD.
Croccante – Kinda sounds like CRACKER, doesn’t it?
Semi – Semilla, in Spanish, means SEED
Zucca – Like zucchini… must mean some sort of squash, and I see PUMPKIN SEEDS.
Farina – Isn’t that what “Cream of Wheat” is called? OK. Ground grain. FLOUR.
Frumento – Who knows. Skip that one.
Formaggio – I know that one well: CHEESE
Emmental – Hey, it’s EMMENTALER CHEESE, with milk, salt and something, something.
Semi di Zucca – There’re the pumpkin seeds again, 8%.
Semi di Girasole – Sole is sun, and I see SUNFLOWER SEEDS.
Semi di Lino – Lino is linen. Linen comes from flax. Ahh! FLAX SEEDS!
Sesamo – Whew. An easy one. SESAME SEEDS.
Sale Marino – Sale is salt. Marino is marine. Easy. SEA SALT.
Agente Lievintante – Looks like “levitating” to me. OK. LEAVENING AGENT.
Bicarbonato di Sodio – Easy again. BICARBONATE OF SODA (BAKING SODA)
Estratto di Malto d’orzo – EXTRACT OF ORZO MALT (Whatever that is.)
Pasta Acica (Farina di Segala) – More flour of some sort, but it’s so far down the list that it’s a minor ingredient.
No where did I read the ingredient Zucchero – SUGAR! Like I said, I was trying to convince myself that these were sweet and ignored all evidence to the contrary. Upon getting these home, I was surprised to taste a snappy, stout, seeded cracker with a hard toasted cheese layer on top. Likely one of my new favorites, but NOT when I’m looking for dessert!