Thursday, June 05, 2008

On The Pronunciation of My Name (and Blog)

In my last post I mentioned that I was thinking about changing the name of this blog to something other than A Bucce of Power. My reason was not because I don't like the current name, but because people sometimes mispronounce it, and then the joke just doesn't work.

However, since no better names have been suggested, and I've been a big blank on the subject, A Bucce of Power it shall remain! Instead of changing, I am posting this handy pronunciation guide, and a confusing explanation to what it all means! Pay attention, there may be a test later.

First of all, the correct way to say the name of this blog is just like the expression: Abuse of Power. In this context, I ask you to pronounce "BUCCE" like "BYOUSE," as in "ABUSE," rhyming with "JUICE."

What's "BUCCE?" It's not a real word. It means nothing. But it is the first five letters of my surname, BUCCELLATO. It was also my nickname for a long time. Some people still use it. Especially all the "Old Marvel" people I saw at the New York Comic-Con last month. Sometimes, they call me "The Bucce." It's a term of endearment. I think. Sometimes I sign artwork "BUCCE," too.

Now, here's where it gets confusing, and it is, admittedly, my own fault...

The correct pronunciation of "BUCCELLATO" is not with the soft "s" sound that rhymes with "juice." In Italy (and Sicily, where my "people" came from), the double-C sounds more like how we pronounce "CH." Therefore, the right way to say it is “BOO-CHA-LA-TOE.”

Unfortunately, when I was growing up, we pronounced it differently. We said “BYOU-SA-LOTTO.” That's how my Dad's family said it. Clearly, some Americanized bastardization. I have no idea how long that's been going on. People always have trouble with the name, except, of course, in Italy, where people always know how to say it, and even know how to spell it correctly without being told.

The thing is, that sometime around 1998 or so, I started using the "correct" pronunciation. Probably because I'd been to Italy and was embarrassed at being corrected about my own name. I decided to "keep it real," or whatever. In any case, much to the confusion of everyone around me, I "changed" the pronunciation of my last name (I wrote about this briefly in an old post). I don't correct people who have knew me as "The Buccce" or “BYOU-SA-LOTTO,” but when I meet new people, I usually say it the "right" way.

Incidentally, my brother Brian also started doing this at some point before me. As a result, many of his friends call him "BOOCH." People are confused by the "Booch vs Bucce" (rhymes with juice) thing, and I can't say that I blame them! It can be problematic.

Like when people who know me (or Brian) with the correct pronunciation stumble on the the name of my blog, "A Booch of Power? What does that mean?" Umm...nothing. Please move on to the rest of the blog.

Actually, as I write this, I'm not even sure what my older brother, Jack does. I assume he's left his name alone, but who knows! I'll have to ask him.

In case you’re wondering what Buccellato means, it is the name of a plain, sweet italian cake. I've seen several different regional recipes like this one, but the best, most interesting I've seen is a version in the Williams-Sonoma Savoring Italy book. This one is a Sicilian Christmas ring cake, filled with dates & nuts. My wife made it last Christmas. It was heavy, but very tasty, and good with a nice shot of espresso. Here's a pic from the book:

Yum. It's a really good cookbook, BTW. Try the braised fennel.

I saw another recipe online today that claimed the word Buccellati means "riddled" and that it's descriptive of the cake's texture. Never heard that before. Maybe it's a joke: if you do a Google search for "Buccellato + riddled," you will, no doubt, find links relating to the "Castellamarese War," that gangster Bill Bonanno mentions in his book, Bound by Honor. That was a Mafia feud between the rival Bonanno & Buccellato clans, back in the day. The word "riddled" is used a lot, but in regards to bullets rather than cakes.

I prefer cakes, myself.

Anyway, that's the confusing story of my name, nickname, their pronunciation, and my blog. To be frank, people are always mispronouncing (and misspelling) Buccellato, so I'm used to it. If you want to know what to call me, I accept both the italian pronunciation as well as the one I grew up with. I'm easy.

And "Steve" is easiest. Call me that.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
--Billy Shakespeare
Romeo & Juliet


Steve Buccellato said...

UPDATE: By coincidence, my brother Jack called me shortly after I posted this. He goes by the Italian pronunciation, too. Don't know how long he has been doing this. Jack, if you read this, please comment! :)

babyphat523 said...

Ah! I'm no longer confused beyond reason. Grazie mille!

TwistedArts said...

I changed over quite some time ago. I too had been corrected one too many times and gave in. Not to mention everytime I was asked my name I would have to repeat it several times until it sunk in. For years I just dropped my last name out of the equation and just used my first and middle names (entertainment biz) made life easier...

Brian Buccellato said...

FYI... I changed the pronunciation to BOOCH in 1987 when I made that ill-fated move to Texas.