My Wednesday was a bit of a mind-melt. Akin to the mind-melt they had when the earth was at the center of the solar system and some wank named Copernicus was stirring things up. It began with the following Twitter exchange:

@CharliesBurgers Received a box of 4 Laduree Macaroons from Paris. The Rolls Royce of macaroons. Almost too nice to eat. I did say almost. www.laduree.fr

To which I confidently replied “Macarons!! One “o” please.” Because a macaroon is different from a macaron. Really, we don’t need to further the confusion on the matter! And then I proceeded to get pwned.

@CharliesBurgers @foodpr0n En francais c’est un Macaron, in english it is a Macaroon… http://www.laduree.fr/public_en/produits/macarons_accueil.htm

Ladurée, the house that invented the current cookie-sandwich phenomena, uses macaroon on their English site. Now, having never actually bothered with the English site, this was totally unknown to me. And my soul cried out “Mais non!! NONnnn…!”

Melodramatics aside, my firmly-held belief that macaron and macaroon were two different things was flipped on its head. Because, apparently, they’re not. Even in the English edition of Larrousse Gastronomique, the spelling has two o’s. And the definition:

A small, round, biscuit (cookie) crunchy outside and soft inside, made with ground almonds, sugar and egg whites. Macaroons are sometimes flavoured with coffee, chocolate, nuts or fruit and then joined together in pairs.

To further my consternation, the English translation of the French word macaron is indeed macaroon. So it wasn’t a case of two spellings of the same word on Ladurée’s site as per my initial thought. So technically, using macaroon in an English context, is correct. Except that you may wish to specify that it is a French macaroon and not the coconut macaroon that you’re referring to (or the Scottish, Irish, Spanish, Indian, or Turkish varieties).

So what to do? Though I can no longer insist on the single-o spelling of macaron with the same conviction (or the “French Macaroon” as the English like to say), I will persist with it to refer to the now ubiquitous double-decker meringue sandwiches we see everywhere.

More macarons

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