Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fondue vs. Fondant

It's not often that the misuse of a word leads to a death threat. But that was the case last week in Dorchester, Massachusetts:
A disagreement over the correct use of the word "fondue" led a Dorchester woman to threaten to kill a cake store clerk on Friday, according to Brookline police.
This lede is from the account in the online newspaper Wicked Local Brookline. Apparently, the suspect entered the Party Favors Brookline store and took offense when the clerk corrected her usage of the word "fondue" when she meant "fondant icing." From Wicked Local:
“Fondue, fondant, who gives a f---. You’ve had an attitude the whole time,” Bogues [the suspect] told the employee, according to the police report.
Bogues then allegedly threatened to kill the store clerk. Oh my.

Is this simply a case of you say "fondue," I say "fondant"?

Nope. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., defines fondant as "a soft creamy preparation of sugar, water, and flavorings that is used as a basis for candies or icings." And as anyone who lived through the 1970s knows, fondue is a dish with melted cheese (or other hot liquid, such as chocolate) that you dip pieces of food into. (Fondue seems to be making a comeback. A dear college friend recently invited me over for a fondue dinner, and in the same week he was invited to his neighbor's place for another fondue party. Coincidence, or hot trend?)

Here's the point of this post: Beware whom you correct. (Notice the "whom" not "who"!) If you upset the wrong person, they might just skip the fondue and try to do you in.

"Fondue me" T-shirt available at

1 comment:

  1. My cookie business uses fondant and I'm often AMAZED at the folks who will say fondue! Liquid vs. solid! Fondue would make for one soggy cake!


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