If you’ve ever pointed to an item on a menu and nervously mumbled its name when ordering, you’re not alone. We talked to bakers, servers, and people who love to eat to come up with the words that trip people up the most often—and created an easy pronunciation guide, so you can dine out without getting a serving of side eye.
How to Say It: Coke
What It Is: Think of it as the Greek equivalent to Boston cream pie—two sponge-cake-like cookies sandwich a layer of vanilla cream, which is glazed and topped with chocolate ganache.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “I told Margot that I’d buy her a kok while I was at the bakery, but I ate it in my car on the way to see her.”
How to Say It: Free-kuh
What It Is: It’s wheat that’s harvested when it’s young and roasted, and it has a texture that’s similar to barley.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “When somebody told me freekeh was the new quinoa, I was like, ‘girl, please’ — until I tried it.”
How to Say It: ah-sigh-EE
What It Is: An antioxidant-rich berry that’s popping up in smoothies everywhere.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “It’s official: People are Instagramming more photos of açai smoothie bowls than their pets, nail art, and artfully composed lattes.”
How to Say It: yee-ro
What It Is: A lamb-and-beef mixture that’s roasted on a spit and served in pitas with sliced tomatoes, onion and tzatziki (see below) sauce.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “Forget pizza—after two drinks, the only food I crave is a gyro … unless it’s a gyro on top of a pizza.”
How to Say It: Zaht-zee-key
What It Is: A Greek sauce made from yogurt, cucumbers and garlic.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “When I finally get that gyro, you better believe it’s slathered in tzatziki.”
How to Say It: bare-nay-ss
What It Is: A sauce made from clarified butter, egg yolks and white wine vinegar that’s flavored with herbs and is often served atop steak.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “Will you judge me if I lick the béarnaise sauce off the plate when I’m finished with my steak?”
How to Say It: knee-yo-key
What It Is: A soft dough dumpling that’s often used in place of pasta.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “Is gnocchi a carb?”
How to Say It: shi-caw-chuh
What It Is: A personal pizza made of focaccia-style bread, often drizzled in oil and topped with herbs, onion, and tomato, or mushrooms.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “Everybody knows about the wonders of the Publix sub, but if you’re a true fan of the grocery store, you know to buy a shicaccia fresh from the bakery for lunch.
How to Say It: Keen-wah
What It Is: The high-protein, high-fiber protein your CrossFit and clean-eating friends have been raving about nonstop.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “I thought I hated quinoa until somebody said you have to rinse it before cooking.”
How to Say It: Air-ee-co vehr
What It Is: Green beans
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “So you’re telling me haricot vert is just a fancy French term for green beans?!”
How to Say It: Knee-swahz
What It Is: A salad made of tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, tuna, anchovies, and its namesake, Niçoise olives, sometimes served on a bed of lettuce
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “Is there a polite way to ask my close-talking coworker not to eat Niçoise salad right before our one-on-one meetings?”
How to Say It: woost-e-shir
What It Is: A soy, vinegar and garlic-based sauce that’s pretty much a staple at any backyard cookout when you’re grilling red meat
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “A burger patty that hasn’t been seasoned with Worcestershire sauce is like a cake without frosting: disappointing.”
How to Say It: besh-ah-mel
What It Is: The white sauce—made from a roux and milk—that gives macaroni and cheese its creaminess
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “I’m going to have arms as toned as Jada Pinkett Smith’s after whisking the roux for this béchamel sauce.”
How to Say It: an-do-EE
What It Is: A French smoked sausage that gives jambalayas and gumbos their kick.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “What happens in New Orleans stays in New Orleans, unless it involves buying andouille sausage, in which case, you better smuggle some in your carry-on for me.
How to Say It: crew-di-teh
What It Is: Basically, what the rest of us call a veggie platter — raw vegetables served with dip.
Use It in a Sentence, Please: “I may be eating my kid’s leftover baby carrots and ranch dressing on her plastic Frozen plate, but for the sake of my ego, let’s call it crudités.”
How to Say It: moe-lay
What It Is: The term is used to refer to several Mexican sauces, though we’re pretty partial to this honey-based one that you can serve with chicken.
Use It in a Sentence Few Sentences, Please: “The secret ingredient in my mole sauce? The tears of my enemies. Just kidding — it’s dark chocolate.”