Mangled menus

It was recently brought to my attention that although I mention “ice tea” and “stain glass” windows in passing on my “Non-Errors” page, they probably deserve a separate entry. Indeed, when I wrote the book version of Common Errors in English Usage, I created entries for these two, but forgot to match them on the Web site. I’ve now fixed that.

The same correspondent pointed out that “scramble eggs” is a similar misspelling on many menus, so I added an entry for that one as well.

I used to joke to my wife that I should make a card to leave with the tip in restaurants on which I could check off the various spelling errors on the menu.

Some I have written up: “bullion,” “carmel,” “Ceasar salad,” “chai tea,” “ champaign,” “cold slaw,” “desert,” “expresso,” “French dip with au jus,” “grill cheese,” “mash potatoes,” “sherbert,” “Rueben sandwich,” “sconce,” “soup du jour of the day,” “tirimisù,” “vinegarette,” “weiner,” and “whip cream.”


Unknown said...

I'd buy those cards! Poorly edited menus are reason enough to avoid a restaurant, in my opinion. What else are they giving too little attention?

WayneyP said...

I would buy those cards as well. Since childhood, I've been known to sit with a red pen and make corrections as I read a newspaper or one of those local publications that appear to look more like a newspaper but are termed a magazine. I apparently started reading at 3 or 4 (to be fair, it was short words) and started grabbing a pen and marking errors when I was somewhere around 10.

Our community has a number of these publications. While reading one issue, I marked all of the errors that I found and when I was finished, I flipped through the pages from the back to the front. I saw an error marked on every page. That shocked me to be honest.

I recently had a test from my doctor's office that was to be completed at home and returned to the office. Along with the needed items to complete the test, the bag they sent home with me contained a list of instructions. I noticed some errors in the instructions and marked them by habit. I intended to take the instructions out of the bag before returning the bag to the doctor's office. Unfortunately, I failed to do so. I hope no one there is offended because I marked the errors. I am the type that fully admits I make mistakes when I write. I try to catch as many as I can, even going so far as to read a finished piece by starting at the end, which makes me more likely to spot simple typos rather than focusing on the grammar and punctuation. Then I read it from the beginning and can focus more on grammar and punctuation. Even then, I don't find all of my own mistakes. I KNOW I make my share of them.

When menus are filled with mistakes, I do question the attention to detail of the owner, manager or chef. It makes me wonder if the kitchen staff pays attention to detail, and a staff that does not pay close attention to detail does not always present the best food or service. At best, it's just an inconvenience but it has the potential for disaster to a person with food allergies if a staff member doesn't pay close attention.