A sweet couple (probably the other side of 55 and, based on my recent experience, probably visiting from the Midwest) entered the cafe under the watchful and professional guidance of one of my favorite regulars. Must be an important customer, I thought, so I did my best to put on the charm. Imagine the difficulty I faced during this exchange:
Kindly Woman: "Oh my, so many choices. You know, I think the panani looks very good. I'd like a panani."
David Thought Bubble: Must... keep... from... laughing.
Kindly Man: "Hmmm, what will I have? Everything looks so good but I really want a panani. Honey (thankfully to his wife, not me), I really want a panani."
David Thought Bubble: Don't we all. But really, this is too much...
Kindly Woman: "Oh, I know, the panani looks so good. That's what I'm having too."
David Thought Bubble: No one will ever believe this!
I'm really not immature, I swear. This exchange was hilarious but out of respect for my regular, I kept my trademark snarky comments to myself and neglected to correct their pronunciation.
After my first entry on the panini/panani problem, one of my high school friends who also possesses far greater culinary knowledge than me shared a bit of cultural knowledge that I am happy now to pass along, quoting at length. I sincerely appreciate the info and hope you enjoy it as well:
"Panini is the plural Italian word for sandwich (panino usually refers to a small sandwich) and another reason to get annoyed... is when Americans add an "s" to the end of an Italian word ending in an "I" (Paninis, salamis, pepperonis, spaghettis)."
Thanks, S! If anyone ever has something to share, please let me know in the comments or by e-mail.