Guest post written by Salina Walsh. Salina has a website called CreamySmell which gives cooking tips and advice.
What’s carmel vs caramel? Is it referring to different things or is it referring to the same thing but just different pronunciations? It can be confusing when you’re faced with words that you’re so sure you know but suddenly will have to be questioned. Why don’t we take a more in-depth look at these two words and figure out what they mean exactly?
Just A Difference In Pronunciation?
You’re partly correct. Both words sound very similar, and they’reso close no one would blame you for using one instead of the other. The thing about language is that the way they’re pronounced can vary in different regions. You can’t blame someone for assuming one is the same as the other, especially when the way they’re pronounced and the context in which they’re used are very similar.
Local or native speakers have a tendency to erase the post-average schwa when it takes after the syllable they’re stressing. This omission isn’t a strange event for the elocution of an English word, particularly when it’s adapted from a foreign language that may be somewhat hard to articulate for some speakers.
To give you some background, it was originally a Spanish word, then a French word, which has been absorbed into the English language. The correct articulation can differ from one region to the next.
Caramel Or Carmel As A Food
Caramel, technically speaking, is a noun which refers to sugar that has been cooked until it has darkened and burnt. One of the facts that may have led you to think that there’s a food ingredient called “carmel” and not “caramel” is because there are different foods that pertain to a “carmel candy” or “carmel this and that.”
You should know that this is a misuse of the actual word “caramel” and not a reference to something you’ve never heard of. But language is forever evolving, and some would claim that there is a poetic license to using “carmel” in reference to caramel. No actual new food has been invented to carry this name just yet.
Colorful And Decorative
The color of caramel can vary from anywhere between orange to very dark golden brown. There are numerous approaches to making caramel. You’ll see various recipes and cooking strategies. You’ll find so many different confections, sweets, and pastries made with caramel. Some of the ones you are surely familiar with are caramel apples, caramel with nuts, and caramel with custard.
Dry Or Syrupy
Caramel can either be dry or syrupy. While you can make the dry version with just sugar and butter, the wet version will obviously require water. It is very easy to make and you can pair it with practically any dessert or fruit you have available.
It’s A Cooking Verb!?
If you want to darken something and partially burn it, you can “caramelize” it. “Caramelized” is the verb form of caramel. It’s a rather loosely spoken word that can be used not only for sugar but also for other ingredients such as onions which also contain natural sugars. The subsequent sugar is then called caramel, and it is utilized to give shading and flavor to food, typically sweet ones. You can sprinkle caramel sugar on top of cupcakes as an added flavor or for decorative effects.
What then is Carmel?
The word “Carmel” can be a name of a person, a place, or a thing. One of the most popular places named “Carmel” is the mainstream shoreline town in California, which others refer to as Carmel-by-the-Sea. It may also refer to a Mediterranean area found in the Bible. It originates from Hebrew and is a portmanteau, or consolidated word, signifying ‘God’s Vineyard’. Mt. Carmel is a related area.
So along these lines, “Carmel” is found in other legitimate names of individuals or spots. For instance: She went to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School. The articulation is for the most part “KARR-mel” or “KARR-mul”, with both widely being used.
Did you know there’s a National Caramel Month? National Caramel Month is held every October, and that’s when you’ll see food fairs full of all sorts of treats with caramel as their main ingredient!
Let’s Sum It Up!
Whenever you encounter the word “carmel” in reference to food, know that this is referring to caramel. You can pronounce it either way without sounding foolish, and you can just tell any grammar police off if they say otherwise. Always use the official “caramel” spelling on documents. “Carmel” is not an accepted dictionary word and is not appropriate to use, unless you’ll use it as a proper noun.
We hope you learned something new in this article. Don’t forget to share if you liked it and we would also love to hear what you think. Happy reading!