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New England Dialect | How to Pronounce "Scallop"

New England Dialect | How to Pronounce “Scallop”
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Back on land, after a brisk encounter with a scraper to remove barnacles and other hangers-on, dozens of spiffed-up adult scallops sit in a holding tank. Some chat amiably with their companions, while others seem more interested in the world outside, gazing up with a row of unblinking and attentive eyes. Occasionally, in a surge of ebullience or impatience, a maverick scallop spins off on a rambunctious, cartwheeling carouse.

The Taylor Scallop Company is allowed by law to sell scallops year-round, but the off-season scallops, though certainly good, do not match the cold-water harvest. Taylor Bays, as these scallops are known, are sold live in their shell and are intended to be eaten whole. They are sold in a number of fish markets and are well worth seeking out.

In cooking bay scallops, as in everything, Janet Aaron demands simplicity, directness, no frills. “Bay scallops stand on their own,” she announces. “Pat them dry. Fry them lightly in butter. A hot pan, but don’t brown them. A couple of minutes at most. Just until they are opaque. Serve them with lemon. Salt and pepper. That’s it.”

She pauses sternly. “Well,” she relents, “you may have a glass of dry white wine with them.”

Some people do more with their scallops. For example, scallops are excellent smoked. The delicacy of the flesh might make such treatment seem too brutal — and in the wrong hands it is — but there is at least one source of very good smoked scallops: Ducktrap River Fish Farm of Maine. This company cold-smokes scallops in oak and apple wood. They are wonderful in salads and may be kept two weeks in the refrigerator.

Usually when we think of scallops, most of us are really thinking of the sweet plug of ivory-colored meat that is, in fact, only the scallop’s powerful abductor muscle. With the exception of Taylor Bays, most bay scallops are sold shucked. All sea scallops are. What has happened to the rest of it? It has simply been thrown out, a “sacrilege,” according to the great food writer Waverly Root. Be that as it may, this is the New England custom, and when I suggest to my advisor that the whole animal should be consumed Janet shakes her head and barks, “Well , I never heard of such a thing!” I persist in this heresy, having myself enjoyed scallops whole, both cooked and raw. Janet peers at me with troubled eyes and grumbles, “I don’t know if I can get used to this idea. I don’t think I like it.”

Now that you know how to pronounce scallop, maybe you’d like to try cooking with the whole shellfish. If so, here are a few recipes that use all the edible parts.


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14 Responses to New England Dialect | How to Pronounce “Scallop”

  1. Alex June 27, 2014 at 7:36 am #


  2. Victoria Brofman June 27, 2014 at 9:02 am #

    To say skal-lup is akin to putting TOMATOES in clam chowdah! Just not done in New England!!!!!

  3. ShaGold June 27, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Don’t speak for all New Englanders. Like all dialect, it is regional. In southern RI, it is pronounced scall-up, not scawl-up.

    • Kenneth Tobin May 8, 2015 at 2:37 pm #

      That pronunciation is very regional,as New Englanders’ from different regions of New England have different pronunciations. You do not speak for us all on this one Yankee.

  4. Patrick June 27, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    Real New Englander say skawl-up? Give me a break. This New Englander has been living here 48 years. My family goes back to the Mayflower, settled towns in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont, had family members who have fought in every war since the French and Indian, been farmers, factory workers, teachers, ministers, fisherman etc. I myself teach and preserve New England history as a profession. And I pronounce them scal-lup’s….

  5. Kathy June 27, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    I’m from New England and say skal lup……………… if it should be pronounced skawl lup it would be spelled scaulup

    • Bob June 28, 2014 at 7:05 am #

      Look at it this way: You get on the telephone and make a call.
      Put an s in front of it and you get scall
      Add the op scallop

      Your pronunciation is now correct.

    • Audrey Sukovich May 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

      Wall,ball,fall,hall, call…..scallop.

  6. From New Bedford MA March 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    Born and grown up in New Bedford Ma. The CORRECT way to pronounce it is scallop. Just think how you pronounce all, call. Put a s in front of call and add an op at the end
    Of it . . . And you have the proper pronunciation!

  7. Becky Jane Dedrick May 7, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    Does it matter as long as they are delicious!!!

  8. John May 7, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

    i can understand both pronunciation but I am used to New Bedford’s

  9. Elizabeth May 7, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    Scallop like dollop, not scallop like gallop.

  10. Cathy H May 7, 2015 at 8:27 pm #

    Born and raised n central CT, skal up. But I also pronounce a body of stored water as “rezz ahv wah” perhaps my Mom’s Brooklyn influence.

  11. Lauri May 9, 2015 at 8:08 am #

    I am from West Canaan, New Hampshire…and my family pronounces it…SCALL…UP…its generation generated…how we have heard it pronounced before us…towns within New England themselves….take for instance…two brothers who were raised in North Canaan together…one speaks with an old New England sound, whilst his brother does not…so many factors into play here…don’t you know!

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