Going to the Caribbean? There are a
couple things you should know.
As of this writing, I haven't read any of the articles in this
(flashing lights here) SPECIAL CARIBBEAN ISSUE (OK, lights off)
except for the one I wrote on visiting Jamaica, but my guess is
that they tell you all about the sugary beaches, the aquamarine
waters, the tropical foliage, blah, blah, blah.
What they probably don't tell you is how to pronounce the word
Pronouncing conch correctly is important because you'll be ordering
it a lot. Impossible to avoid and irresistible especially when
you're slightly tipsy, conch is to the Caribbean what funnel cakes
are to local carnivals.
There are two differences between conch and funnel cakes, however.
One is that funnel cakes are made from easily accessible household
ingredients like cement and paste that are transformed into a
toothsome snack while conch is a rare delicacy from the sea that
tastes like cement and paste. The other is that just a small
portion of a conch is poisonous while every part of a funnel cake
If you've never had conch, it's like squid, only more rubbery and
less flavorful. Sort of like eating a radial tire. But you'll eat
it because it's frittered, and everybody likes eating
funny-sounding food items, especially on vacation. Actually, you'll
also eat it because when properly prepared it's deliciously
delicate and sweet, which, after so many other versions, will
explain why, in the end, it is classified as a foodstuff and not a
type of footwear.
The problem is this: Unless someone told you otherwise, you'd think
the word was pronounced like it's spelled. Conch. What's to
But somehow, out of c-o-n-c-h, they get "konk."