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Arancino or Arancina? Here’s how it’s said (and where)

Arancino or arancina? There are few dilemmas that can keep an entire population in suspense, and almost always they have to do with food. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Parmesan cheese over fish, yes or no? But above all: How do you say it, arancino or arancina?

A question that splits Sicily in two, home of sensational recipes including these wonderful rice creations, traditionally stuffed with ragù (but now available in eight thousand delicious variations) and fried until they become golden bombs, to be eaten one bite after another. If your mouth is already watering, it’s because the arancino (or arancina, we’ll soon find out) is truly an irresistible product, the king (or queen) of Palermo street food, even if this last observation could spark a debate. But let’s move on with our dilemma: is the arancin* male or female?

The famous cases

The influencer and digital entrepreneur fell for this question at the time (and they were unsuspecting times, when few people went against her) Chiara Ferragni who, on holiday in Sicily, posted a photo talking about the goodness of his “arancini”and causing the ire of all those who would have wanted them to be feminine, the arancini. If it seems like a small thing to you, know that in the debate – which has been going on more or less forever, and which does not seem to find a solution – theAcademy of Cruscatrying (in vain, needless to say) to put an end to the issue by saying his piece.

The linguist Francis Sabatini he said, roughly, that diminutives are usually declined in the masculine, and since it is assumed that arancin* is a pet name for orange, it is not clear why it should change gender. If orange is feminine, then it is arancina. At least, that is what the Accademia della Crusca says. Which, for once, fails to have the authority necessary to make everyone agree.

But in the end, is it arancino or arancina?

Arancino or Arancina Here's how it's said
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The question, in fact, is not as simple as the Accademia della Crusca puts it. Because even supposing that we are talking about a diminutive of orange (and therefore we should say arancina), the truth is that we are in Sicily, a land where the orange becomes «aranciu» (or sometimes «partualla», but that’s another story), and so there it is, the “arancinu”which who knows if once translated into Italian it is masculine or feminine.

The agreed solution is to reach a compromise and say that it is all a question of geography: both arancino and arancina are fine, it depends on where you are. Sicily is thus divided in half: in Palermo it’s arancina, in Catania arancinoand woe betide anyone who makes a mistake, or who finds himself halfway and indecisive prefers not to speak out, instead giving up the temptation to order one. In fact, it must be said that the genre is not the only thing that distinguishes the preparation of fried rice balls from Catania from those from Palermo. In the capital, for example, the arancini is a perfect, round spherea ball that actually looks like an orange. In Catania, however, the arancini are pointed, and lose a bit of that reference to the orange fruit which, according to the Accademia della Crusca, was the key to getting out of the impasse. It is said that here, in Catania, that form wants to pay homage u MuncibbedduEtna, which has only the lava as orange.

So, maybe, the solution is just this: what if arancino and arancina weren’t really the same thing?

Source: Vanity Fair

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