Judge John Hodgman Episode 13: The Tahitian Takeout


A friends' night out at a Polynesian restaurant, several Scorpion Bowls and an abandoned bag of takeout are all involved in this accusation of impropriety and substandard hygiene. Longtime pals Evan and Ryan bring this case of the Tahitian takeout before the judge.

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Also, you may view the evidence AND a recipe for a potent Scorpion Bowl behind the jump.

Ryan's Evidence

Exhibit A: The Tahiti Restaurant Lounge (Dedham, Massachusetts)

Exhibit B: Scorpion Bowl

And below, a recipe for the Scorpion Bowl, courtesy of the mixologist David Wondrich and his guide to Killer Cocktails.

Scorpion Bowl
Nothing shouts out “tiki!” like a Scorpion Bowl. The formula for this Trader Vic creation from the 1940s went through several revisions—okay, dumbings-down—over the years. The original recipe was still the best, though. It used to come in this ceramic thing with topless Tahitian girls for feet and a gardenia floating in it. It served four; you, your best friend, and your dates would poke straws into it and sip yourselves into romance. And all for $2.50. This party version serves at least 20.

36 ounces white Cuban-style rum (I like Mount Gay white here)
2 ounces gin (Tanqueray)
2 ounces cognac (Ferrand Ambre)
12 ounces dry white wine (whatevs)
16 ounces fresh-squeezed, strained lemon juice
8 ounces fresh-squeezed, strained orange juice
8 ounces orgeat syrup, or more or less to taste
2 sprigs of mint

To assemble, fill a punchbowl with cracked or crushed ice, pour everything over it and let it stand in the refrigerator for an hour or two. Add a big block of ice, poke a gardenia or two in, and let the games begin. Note: the gin and cognac may be replaced by 4 ounces pisco—the Trader made it that way, too.


Proper pronunciation of orgeat

I'd like Judge Hodgman to judge himself. I maintain it's or-ZHAY, not OR-gee-aht.

Delicious either way

If you want to use the original pronunciation for this word, it'll be "or-jay-ah" (where "j" is the fricative /ʒ/ as in "measure"). The vowel is going to be an open central /a/ sound.

If you want to go really Anglo on this word, which in any case looks extremely awkward and unidiomatic in English, the standard pronunciation is /ˈɔrdʒiːət/, with a diphthong, an affricate /dʒ/ as in "judge", and the final /t/ sounded.

As far as I can see, or-ZHAY is not a likely pronunciation for speakers of either language who know what they're about. It's got the fricative from the French pronunciation, but the vowel is wrong; and French is commonly described as an unstressed language, so there's no substantive argument to be had about primary stress. To my (entirely inexpert) ear, it sounds like a creole pronunciation, and of course there's nothing wrong with that either.

More interestingly, this is an almond-flavoured cordial whose name is derived from the French word for barley...