Here’s a food we’ve known and loved for years that we’ve always pronounced “broo-SHET-a” — and no one ever corrected us. Probably the waiters were too polite or they didn’t know either. In a survey of the most commonly mispronounced food words done by the Chicago Tribune, bruschetta easily made it into the top ten.
For the record, it’s pronounced “broo-SKET-ah” with a hard ch sound, as in modern Italian. The word comes from the old Tuscan Italian dialect and is derived from the word bruscare meaning “to roast over coals.” And that word probably comes from the late Latin word brusicare (to burn), which points to the fact that this delicious dish was probably eaten as far back as in the days of Julius Caesar. Then it was a humble dish for farmers; a hunk of stale bread, moistened with a bit of water, toasted over a fire, and rubbed with olive oil and garlic. But no tomatoes — they didn’t make it to Europe until the 1500s.
[Quick tip for food snobs: If you want to sound truly knowledgeable and annoying, when ordering more than one bruschetta, use the correct plural: not bruschettas, but bruschette.]
bruschetta (n.): Italian specialty antipasto –grilled bread with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper, sometimes also with cheese and other toppings.