Novel Completion Queries, Day Seven

Is the novel finished? NO

Today’s question: Salted caramel. Thoughts?

My answer: I mean, I like it well enough when I have it. But I think the craze got a little carried away. Not everything has to be salted.


(Extra credit: Do you pronounce “caramel” as “Care-a-mel” or “car-mel”? I usually tend toward the latter.)

89 Comments on “Novel Completion Queries, Day Seven”

  1. I like salted caramel, especially chocolate-covered salted caramels, but it’s really obvious when the balance of sweet and salty is off.

    I pronounce it care-mǝl.

  2. A square of caramel is car-a-mel. If it is covering an apple, it’s car-mel.


  3. I like it, but often you can’t taste enough salt. Sweet and salty popcorn seems to be the next incarnation – which is delicious!

    And I pronounce it ca-ra-mel (with an English accent! )

  4. SD Gates – I work in the medical field, but really want to be a full-time gardener or writer or something that does not require me having to take a shower every morning. I have to work to buy my plants. My favorite thing to do is sit on the patio, with my puppies, writing, staring at the garden, daydreaming the day away.
    SD Gates

    The salted caramel fad has gotten completely out of hand. And what’s up with sea salt – why does chocolate have to have chunks of salt all over it. I am a fan of plain old dark chocolate. I pronounce it as car-a- mal.

  5. Meh. I’ve tried salted caramel a couple of times and just wasn’t all that impressed. Not a huge fan of the “let’s salt EVERYTHING and charge twice as much for it” approach to food. Not a huge fan of caramel, either, for that matter.

    Frankly, if I’m going to consume extra calories, they’ll be in the form of dark chocolate, or lasagna, or pie. Salted caramel? Not so much.

    I generally pronounce the word CAHR-mel. Born and raised in the Midwest, which I suspect influences my pronunciation of words like this one.

  6. It ought to be ca-ruh-mel by the traditional rules of English phonetics, which hold that most syllables should start with a consonant if there is one available. But Americans, and some Canadians, tend to take the “r” off the next syllable and apply it to the vowel of the preceding one. Then they suppress the robbed syllable into a schwa (the mini-vowel usually represented by ə). So “horror” (ho-ruh) comes out like “whore” (hor-ə).

    Though my Canadian wife has been to Durham, England, and all her life has heard the name pronounced by UK-born folks (me, her parents, BBC newscasters), she can’t help pronouncing it “Dur-um” instead of “Duh-rum.” Linguistic habits die hard. Or not at all.

  7. FeetForBrains – Vashon, WA – Easy listenin, hard bowlin, slow mowin, small growin, yard bird with long term, ego driven, unrestrained, malformed visions of fame, fortune, and Princesses. Would love a career smuggling for the resistance damn the Empire’s big guns, blockades and silly Death Stars. Matt enjoys running and is an author

    When I say the word in conversation I like to mix it up. Wait and watch to see if my conversation partners have a preference. Watch as my deliberate verbal mangling of the word grates on some people’s ears and not on other.

    Salted caramels add a new and unexpected dimension to the mayhem. Now I can purposely torture another word in the “eng-lush” language. Otherwise, I have fillings so I’ll pass.

    “Beautiful isn’t it? It took me half a lifetime to invent it. I’m sure you’ve discovered my deep and abiding interest in pain. Presently I’m writing the definitive work on the subject, so I want you to be totally honest with me on how the machine makes you feel. This being our first try, I’ll use the lowest setting.”

  8. Not everything needs to be salty/sweet and far too many manufacturers jumped on that bandwagon.

    I use both pronunciations because my parents insisted on care-a-mel and my Midwestern peers mocked me for not saying car-mel. I think I like care-a-mel better these days; it sounds more decadent to me and proper caramels are decadent.

  9. I’m with Rainy Tuesday — it’s ca-ra-mel over here.

    Best use I had of it recently was a cold (Starbucks) latte + kahlua + salted caramel cream liqueur + ice. Oh my, it was good.

  10. Never been a fan of caramel (ca-ra-mel for me!) as it tastes pretty sour to my tastebuds. Salt – well, I am now borderline high blood pressure so trying to stay away from foods with lots of salt in them. Give me dark chocolate with almonds or peanuts instead….

  11. Salted caramels? Edible, but really just plain silly. Anchovies should be salted. Caramels should be sweet. What’s the world coming to? Next we’ll have dogs marrying cats. And people saying “carmels.”

  12. The few times I’ve tried it, I didn’t notice a significant difference between it and regular caramel. Maybe I’ve just been trying substandard stuff.


  13. Salted caramel
    You infidel of desserts
    Assalt us sweetly

    Care-a-mel for the poetry, but
    Carmel for the haiku

  14. Car-a-mel. Not really a fan, and it’s just as well – due to a couple of large fillings on molars I can’t eat really sticky food so no caramel – salted or otherwise. My dentist would have a fit.

  15. (I took out the “Oh” in front of “Oh salted caramel” to make it *both* poetry and haiku at the last second…)

  16. Ca Ra Mel, here. And I shouldn’t really be joining in as I’ve never been tempted by salted caramel!

  17. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.

    Yes, I like salted caramel – especially with chocolate, because a touch of salt enhances the flavor of chocolate in amazing ways. Trying to remember if I’d had salted caramel without chocolate, though….

    I pronounce is “car-MUL” – no Idea where I got that from, given my family traveled a lot when I was growing up.

  18. CAR-uh.mel, here.

    I’m going to be the one to fly in the face of public opinion. I like salted caramel a lot … and I think it’s not nearly popular enough, yet. I find most desserts, especially in the US, to be far, FAR too sweet for my taste. Salted caramel, like the salted high-end chocolate bars that are starting to become popular, restores a little balance to the flavors.

    We could, of course, just stop packing everything with massive amounts of sugar … but that seems too much for which to hope.

  19. i can take it or leave it, same as with regular caramel. and i pronounce it differently depending on whether it is an adjective or a noun. have a care-a-mel, but car-mel corn. i just noticed that,

  20. The Voice of Kraft didn’t pronounce it “carmel” himself, but did so for the ads because the CEO did. (Based on interview I heard/saw a gazillion years ago, anyway.)

    Never had salted Care-a Mel, myself.

  21. CarAmel. Carmel is a town in California, isn’t it?

    As to salt caramel- I first tried it about 10 years ago, in a little ice-cream parlour on the Ile de Re in France; fabulous.

  22. Not a fan of salted caramel. I do, however, have a fondness for rock-salt-coated bagels… go figure.

    I’m afraid that Our Gracious Host has just killed off any chance he had of being a celebrity judge on any Food Network program. The hypertension among the judges must be astounding: One of their most common complaints is that food is “underseasoned” when running ingredient lists through databases shows that they contain over a day’s worth of salt…

    What? Me consistent before the caffeine kicks in on a weekend morning?

  23. “Samuhn.” Wait, no. “Caramel.”

    I have a non-salted one in my mouth as we speak. There’s already enough salt in processed foods, right?

  24. I don’t like caramel (it stuck to my braces when I was a kid) and salt is bad for my high blood pressure. My choice is chocolate (“chok-lat”), or, better yet, Peppermint Patties (MMMMMM…..Pepppermint Pattiessssss! (heavy drooling commences)).

  25. Huehueteotl – Austintatious, Tejas – I'm an elderly tech analyst, living in Texas but not of it, a cantankerous and venerable curmudgeon. I'm yer SOB flaming-liberal grandpa who has NO time for snot-nosed, bad-mannered libertarian twerps. At one time or another, I’ve been a bureaucrat, bassist, writer, photographer, bus driver, usher, drummer, secretary, disc jockey, book scout, cemetery researcher, roadie, book dealer, yard-saler ... and I’ve probably forgotten a few things more. I have an atavistic fondness for old technologies, including clocks you have to wind yourself, steam trains, typewriters, and Aladdin kerosene lamps.

    Definitely CARE-a-mel. I’m fine with salted caramel ice cream if there is any, but if there’s not I don’t collapse on the floor in a sobbing heap. My wife, however, is absurdly fond of it and gets some every time we go to her favorite gelateria.

  26. Caramel. But I also say say Oregon not Orgon. Not really a fan of salted caramel but dark chocolate Mo’s Bacon Bar is my salty sweet downfall.

  27. Well that was bizarre…. Notification of your post came in while I was in the store looking for salted salt. I mean let’s take this crazy trend to its logical extreme…

  28. I can’t say, as I’ve never tried it. Caramel, however it is pronounced, is seriously off my ‘possibly ok to eat list’ now. As for how I pronounce it, that’s tough. I grew up in a Care-a-mel region but have been living for quite a while in a car-mel region. I tend to use both, depending on who I am talking to.

  29. Kate George – Vermont – Award winning author, Kate George is the creator of the popular Bree MacGowan mystery series, which started when she took up a dare to write a book; the result was Moonlighting in Vermont. She was born in Sacramento, California, was raised on a ranch until the age of eight, and graduated from UC Davis with a degree in anthropology. She is currently working on her MFA. She has been, in no particular order, a paste-up tech, a motorcycle safety instructor, an actor, and the assistant to the dean of a medical school, all of which provide plenty of fodder for her novels. Currently, she lives in an old farmhouse in the backwoods of Vermont with her husband, four kids, and two rescue dogs, where by day she teaches and by night, she dreams up wild adventures for her characters. Visit her at, or contact her at She always loves to hear from readers!
    Kate George

    It’s sweet so I like it. Salted or not. I’m confused. I thought Car-a-mel and car-mel were different things. I just didn’t know what. My assumption was that one was the gooey stuff you glop on ice cream and the other was the really chewy candy. Or something like that.

  30. Usually car-a-mel, but sometimes car-mel, depending on the context. Bad salted caramels are bad, but good ones are soooo good. Next time you are in Seattle you absolutely must try Molly Moon’s salted caramel ice cream. It’s so delicious. Mmmmm. Good thing I still have part of a pint in my freezer.

  31. carAmel. It must not be salted! I hate salted sweets.

    @readingSSF: It’s not quite true. You can find salted caramel and dark chocolate almost everywhere in Germany. Finding caramel icecream without salt is not easy!

  32. Donna Leonard – Southern California – I like to write, read, knit, crochet, watch movies, watch way too much television, listen to music and play Drawsomething 2 somewhat obsessively, not necessarily in that order. You can find my irregular blog at: 3 kids: Twenty-three-year-old boy/girl twins, and a thirteen-year-old girl. 3 cats: fourteen-year-old female, three-year-old female, and a two-year-old male
    Donna Leonard

    Love it salted. I don’t need to have it salted. I also enjoy salted dark chocolate. I usually pronounce it, “cara-mel,” unless I’m saying “carmel” apple…but then I usually correct it to caramel after I’ve said carmel.

  33. Kate George – Vermont – Award winning author, Kate George is the creator of the popular Bree MacGowan mystery series, which started when she took up a dare to write a book; the result was Moonlighting in Vermont. She was born in Sacramento, California, was raised on a ranch until the age of eight, and graduated from UC Davis with a degree in anthropology. She is currently working on her MFA. She has been, in no particular order, a paste-up tech, a motorcycle safety instructor, an actor, and the assistant to the dean of a medical school, all of which provide plenty of fodder for her novels. Currently, she lives in an old farmhouse in the backwoods of Vermont with her husband, four kids, and two rescue dogs, where by day she teaches and by night, she dreams up wild adventures for her characters. Visit her at, or contact her at She always loves to hear from readers!
    Kate George

    The coastal town in California is pronounced car-MEL with the emphasis on the second half of the word. The sweet sticky stuff is CAR-mul, emphasis on the first half of the word. They are nothing alike. Although the place is a tad salty, being by the sea and all.

    I’m from California and my Mom lived in Monterey for a bit. She used to sometimes hang out at Clint Eastwoods bar. I’m not sure if she ever met him. This is why I know how to pronounce car-MEL even though I now reside on the east coast in a state where Montpelier and Barre are pronounced Mont-pel-ee-er and Barry, instead of Mont-pel-ee-aa and Bar like I assumed they would be when I got here. I spent the first few months totally lost.

    And now I have gotten a little far afield from the original question about what is essentially milk cooked with tons of sugar and salt.

  34. Tom Speelman – United States – A lifetime of reading comics and watching television has left Tom with an inexhaustible supply of pop culture knowledge from the obvious to the obscure. Rather than keep it all in his brain for use at parties, Tom turned to writing a few years ago to help him share that knowledge with as many people as are remotely interested. Tom writes for several websites including The Mary Sue, Strange Horizons, Loser City and others. For even further rambling, follow him on Twitter @tomtificate.
    Tom Speelman

    Care-a-mel. And I like salted just fine but I don’t eat it much

  35. I don’t care how you pronounce “caramel” as long as you don’t spell it wrong. “Carmel” is famous for art galleries, not apples.

  36. Diana Staresinic-Deane – Kansas – Kansan-gone-Californian-gone-Kansan, former part-time library assistant, writer, history junkie, cemetery photographer, guinea pig enthusiast. Author of <i>Shadow on the Hill: The True Story of a 1925 Kansas Murder</i>.
    Diana Staresinic-Deane

    Three syllables. Though now that I think about it, I’m confusing myself.

  37. I’ve had some salted caramels that I absolutely loved, but even though I am a big fan of salt (as in I eat rock salt as a snack) and of sweet, I don’t think the combo always work. In particular I am pretty much over the salted-chocolate thing. There’s usually too much salt so the flavors clash instead of blend.

    And yes, it’s care-a-mel. Too lazy right now to look up how to put the schwa in the middle. I hear people say CARmelapples or CARmelcorn (usually as one word) and the back of my brain automatically reads it as a linguistic marker of less-educated. I’m trying really hard to eradicate that prejudice, I swear. It’s one of the stupider ones I’ve found rooted in my subconscious.

  38. I’ve had some salted caramel ice cream that as out of this world, but usually it’s between “OK” and “pretty good”. If I’m going to take the calorie hit, I’d rather have dark-chocolate covered almonds with sea salt. Those are wicked good.

    And my grandfather, who grew almonds for most of his life and was raised in N. California, always pronounced “almond” as a near-rhyme of “salmon”, i.e. “A-mond”. I picked that pronunciation up from the family and didn’t learn the more common “ALL-mond” until I was a teen.

  39. Love caramel, not much of a fan of the salted variety. When it’s a small square candy, it’s car-a-mel. When it’s a flavor, it’s car-mel. I do not know why. I don’t think it’s a regional thing, since I grew up all over the place…

  40. Meh. I can take or leave it. It’s interesting, and I do like the interplay of sweet, butter, and salt. If it’s around, I could have some, or not. I don’t seek it out or anything. There are plenty of other flavors in candy, ice cream, etc., that I am more likely to seek out. A nice strong coffee ice cream, for example, is one I would choose over a salted caramel flavor.

    As to pronunciation, I’m not a CARE-mel nor a CARE-a-mel person. car-MEL is a city in California. I’m a CAR-(a)-mel person, with the middle vowel almost nonexistent.

  41. The one time I tried salted caramel, it made me nauseous. More for you, if you like it, and you’re welcome to it.

  42. when your done with caramel how do you pronounce gloucestershire?
    In answer to your question. Ca ra mel and just no.

  43. megpie71 – Australian, female, fat, born in 1971. Been hanging around the internet (first Usenet, now blogs) since about 1997. Far too cynical for my own good.

    I prefer caramel with chocolate (preferably the chocolate-covered hard caramels which used to be called “Choccos” here in Australia when you could still get a 20c bag of lollies from the corner shop). Salted just sounds weird.

    Oh, it’s car-a-mel (more of an “a” like in “hat” sound than “eh” like in “wear” for the first vowel, to get the Aussie accent straight).

  44. Not a huge fan of salted caramel (ca-ra-mel) and, while we are sort of on the subject, YOU DON’T NEED TO ADD BACON TO EVERYTHING IT’S BACON IT’S OKAY BY ITSELF IF I WANT BACON LATTES I’LL LET YOU KNOW THANKS.

  45. Jay – New Bern, NC – INGREDIENTS: coffee, books, music, podcasts, NPR, cats, movies, the Oxford comma, and Netflix - - - WARNING: may contain nuts - - - MADE IN THE USA
    Jay E.

    I like salted caramel frappés and pronouns it car-mel

  46. Jay – New Bern, NC – INGREDIENTS: coffee, books, music, podcasts, NPR, cats, movies, the Oxford comma, and Netflix - - - WARNING: may contain nuts - - - MADE IN THE USA
    Jay E.

    Sorry for the stupid iPhone Autocorrect changes

  47. Care-a-mel as a candy, carmel when it’s covering something else as Luther M. Siler mentioned.The house would have to be devoid of other edibles before I’d eat the stuff though, salted or not.

  48. Provided the caramel is suitably mountainous, I’d say ‘Har HaCarmel’ just to be arch. And geographical. (Whereas, referenced place on the Monterey Peninsula isn’t a city so much as a twee-dom theme park, I’d say.)

  49. Cah-ra-mel, like Sarah Mel. (The Sarah that rhymes with Farrah: first ‘a’ is like “hat”, second is closer to “uh”. Definitely not say-rah.)
    Salty is fine. But not too much, please.

  50. It’s good but not a particular weakness! I pronounce the candy as care-a-mel, no particular accent, though at Pacific Northwest coffee shops, when I order a care-a-mel macchiatto, the barista says “Carmel?” Apparently care-a-mel comes from somewhere else.

    As others have pointed out, I also reserve carmel for carmel corn. Interesting.

    @dave, I believe Leicester = Lester, ergo Gloucestershire = gloucstershur??

    Linguistics is fascinating stuff!

  51. salted, unsalted. Makes no difference. It isn’t like we’re talking about French fries here. :-P

  52. I say it with a reduced schwa in the middle—how reduced depends on how quickly I’m speaking. However, even when I reduce it to nothing (which I do sometimes), I never pronounce it like the city in California, because that city’s name has the emphasis on the final syllable: car-MEL. Rhymes with “well”. The candy is CAR-(<tiny>ə</tiny>-)məl. Rhymes with “bull”, sort of.

    As for the salt, I’m not qualified to comment, because I’ve never tried salted caramel. But I have eaten salt in Carmel, and it was good. If that helps. :)

  53. CAR (like the automobile) uh (like the tiniest schwa you can still hear) mul (like a bigger schwa)
    but Karmal corn and Karmal apples because you’re fated to overeat them.
    Also, unsalted caramels can still have salt (sometimes terrible amounts of salt) in them, just not separated out to be all trendy on the top.

  54. Salted caramel has officially run its course, at least in Canada. How do I know this? Tim Hortons jumped on the bandwagon.

    Here in the frozen north, having Tim Hortons adopt a trend is like having suburban white kids adopt it: a sure sign that said trend is over.

  55. IT’s a fairly new craze over in the UK so I’m still on board and, naturally, we pronounce it “caramel.”

  56. JessicaMarieBaumgartner – I am an addict of the written word who loves to write and read others' work. Although a bit of a bookworm, I can't help but go out and enjoy my own adventures before coming home to sit down and engage in a story.

    I always say car-mel and my husband corrects me apparently it’s care-a-mel to him. This has been an ongoing war in our house for years. teehee

  57. car-a-mel is the candy, car-mel is what you get when you burn sugar (like for popcorn)

  58. Carmel only for popcorn, CARE-emel for everything else. Best served warm coating a dish of Michael’s Frozen Custard. No salt needed on the caramel as long as the pecans are toasted and salted!

  59. Yes, please. I am strongly in favor of both salty-sweet things and salt in general so I don’t even particularly care what the balance is.

    Also, “car-a-mel.”

  60. Salted chocolate covered caramels are sometimes nice. If the balance is off (caramel too sweet, chocolate too milk or too dark, salt too huge-and-crunchy) then I’m less excited.

    90% of the time I say car-mel. Accent on the first syllable.

  61. I like salted caramel an awful lot. Savory+Sweet in one package, plus, being quite chewy, it has a natural rate-limiting factor, which my complete lack of willpower requires.

    And it is definitely ‘car-a-mel’.

  62. Meh. And I couldn’t hope to tell you how I pronounce it; that is a skill I don’t have.

    catfriend99: A friend of mine tried the Molly Moon salted caramel ice cream and said “Mmm, tastes like 1923. Who wants some Teapot Dome scandal?”

    So that’s some weird tasting ice cream, and I have some very strange friends.

  63. In dark chocolate (never milk — just doesn’t work) and ice cream, it’s fine. Otherwise, no. Especially not covering an apple, that needs to be just plain caramel.

    CAR-mǝl, mostly.

    Car-MELL is a town in California. No matter how you say “caramel”, they don’t sound at all the same.

  64. I do not pronounce it “Car-mel” but neither do I pronounce it as three separable syllables. If we had, like, an RA with a swoop over it to indicate something like briefly rolling past the r into a vowel and then rapidly moving on, that’s what I do. and my ‘a’ for the first syllable varies, putting it on average halfway between “Care” and “Car. Basically our written language is deficient for representing how we speak, youhearwhatI’msayin?

  65. I don’t like food with much salt mixed in. I don’t even add salt when I make bread. But I like a little bit of salt on the OUTSIDE. Even on caramel and other sweets.

  66. Sustainahillbilly – Born in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains with generations of roots in this area. SC Master Gardener (2001) and Upstate SC Master Naturalist (2007). Garden writer for The Greenville News from April 2008 through June 2009. I'm one of the consultants for the Greenville Organic Food Organization community garden and I also work with several other gardens in the upstate, including my own. My backyard growing endeavors have been large enough at times to allow for selling extra produce at Greenville, SC’s downtown farmer’s market. Sustainability is a passion of mine and I also run the Greenville, SC chapter of Green Drinks International which hosts a monthly speaker on a green topic and averages about 30 attendees per meeting.

    Thank goodness it got popular and is everywhere, now I don’t have a hard time finding it. As a southern car-a-meller, I <3 salt.

  67. When I saw the dark chocolate caramels with large grains of sea salt, I knew we’d gone over the edge.

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