Why Do Some Mainers Pronounce “Tourtiere Pie” The Way They Do?
Alright, let me start out by saying that, in this business (the radio business), people tend to travel quite a bit. This is especially true early in their careers. DJs (jocks, personalities, whatever you want to call us) will move from place to place looking for the market that is the right fit for them. Then, if they are lucky, they will put down roots and stay for a while.
One of the more trying parts of moving to a new area is assimilating as quickly as possible. Playing the part of the goofball who is constantly mispronouncing things or the person who has no idea where anything is only works for a few months. After that, it gets annoying to your coworkers and listeners.
Central Maine is no exception to this rule. Even though I grew up in Maine, there were things I needed to learn when I moved to this part of the state.
For example, because of the mills that dominated this part of the state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Central Maine was a real melting pot for the people of many countries.
One of the biggest influences came from the French Canadians. They brought their language, customs, and food to our area. Because of that influence, the pronunciations of some things are not exactly how you would expect them to be.
What Is A Tourtiere Pie?
Speaking of the French Canadian foods that we enjoy here in Central Maine... One of the most loved dishes are those meat pies. They have become so popular that several area bakeries and restaurants offer them on their regular menu.
For example, you'll find tourtiere pies (along with turkey pot pies and salmon pies) on the menu at Belanger's Drive-In in Fairfield.
For those who do not know, tourtiere is a savory meat pie that is traditionally served during the Holidays. The pie features ground beef (or pork or veal), potatoes, onions, spices, and more. Just like with nearly every other recipe out there, there are some variations to how the dish is made.
Wait! How Do You Say It?
But, how do you say it? If you are not from this part of Maine, there is a good chance you are saying it wrong! I butchered the name, and was called out for it, the first time I had to say it.
Most people would probably pronounce "tourtiere" as TOUR-TI-AIR. In fact, I have found several videos that give that as the pronunciation.
That is not how the tasty food item is pronounced here in Central Maine, though. Nope! We say it TOO-CHAY.
I asked a true Central Mainer, someone who grew up here, why it was pronounced the way it was. His response was "because that's how you say it!" Okay, fair enough. It's like the town of Saint Agatha. People in the know know that it is SAINT-AGAT. You would never say Saint Agatha, right?
How do you say it? Let us know by sending us a message inside our radio station app.