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What's the Difference between a Macaron and a Macaroon?
Most of my life, my name has been mis-pronounced as "Resh-meee", with the "resh" like in "mesh". I mis-pronounce my own name and am habituated to it. Reshmi in Hindi means silken and is pronounced "Ray-shmeee". See? How easy was that? I can only blame my parents for spelling my name in misleading phonetics. I've heard "Rush-meee", or even worse, "Rash-meee". Unless you were from the Asian sub-continent you would not think to say "Ray-shmeee". So I gave up trying to correct the rest of the world, when really it's the spelling of my name that's just off. In any case, whichever way you pronounce my name, I know you're referring to me. To-may-toes or po-tah-toes. Whatevs. Macaron, however, is proving to be a bit more troublesome, and sometimes even tedious. I was studying in France when I first came across them, so I say "mac-a-rons", as the French do. However, in the UK they're commonly referred to as "macaroons". Initially I had dismissed it as a language issue and was a bit of a stickler for technicalities, after all 'Macarons' by definition are almond-meringue pastry cookie "sandwiches" (at the risk of sounding crass) with a filling of sorts, right? Whereas 'macaroons', while also made of a meringue often have dessicated coconut and look and taste very different to the aforementioned.
Here's a hilarious comparison diagram I came across at I Do Believe I Came with a Hat
and another one from The Macaron Master
Having set up Anges de Sucre (a whole other can of worms when it comes to pronunciation) in the UK I'm only just getting more relaxed and referring to them as both. You see, I dread coming across as a pretentious little toe-rag insisting on calling them "mac-a-rons" when the non-French public are aware of what they are and choose to refer to them as "mac-a-roons" out of habit or ease, when in reality, it is simply a case of different languages! Like Chocolat vs Chocolate, or Cacao versus Cocoa. Then again, I'd hate to be thought as a philistine by purists who would want to rub stinging nettles into my eyeballs upon hearing me call them "mac-a-roons". To make peace and sort of meet in the middle, I have considered using "mac-a-runs" only to be told by the CTO that that's rather unappetising and may be perceived as having insalubrious connotations. Hence myself, and a lot of fellow Brit bakers, have adopted the term 'French Macaroons' to avoid all doubt, where a macaroon could either be a macaroon or a macaron, but a French macaroon is most definitely a macaron.
So, what's in a name anyway? I say, to-may-toes, to-mah-toes, mac-a-ron, mac-a-roon. You may call me Resh-mee, Ray-shmee, or even Rush-mee, but please refrain from Rash-meee. Now that really does have insalubrious connotations.
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