Saturday, September 12, 2020

Weekend Cooking: You say tomato...

English is a funny language really. Even though countries like Australia, the UK, America and Canada all speak English,  we have so many different words for the same things that sometimes it's hard to know if we are all talking the same language. It could be different pronunciation such as in the great scone pronunciation debate or even words like herb. It seems a simple enough word, but here we definitely pronounce the H whereas in American cooking shows and the like they talk about erbs with no H, or at least that is what it sounds like to me.

Having different names for ingredients was something I learnt from my very first Weekend Cooking post which was for Anzac Biscuits which included ingredients such as golden syrup, which is apparently hard to get in the US, but also what we call caster sugar which is called superfine sugar elsewhere.

Even though I have been participating for a long time now there are still ingredients that I don't recognise when they are mentioned. It wasn't that long ago that I saw a recipe that included rutubaga and I had no idea what it was! Turns out it is swede!

So, for today's posts, I thought I would list some things that I can think of that have  different names in various parts of the world! Let me know of other examples in the comments! I even have a couple of South African words in the list courtesy of the husband!

Image by clker-free-vector-images from Pixabay

Eggplant known elsewhere as aubergine or brinjal

Zucchini known elsewhere as courgettes

Capsicum also known as bell peppers

We call butternut pumpkin pumpkin but elsewhere it is known as a butternut squash.

Mange tout sounds very posh compared to snow peas, which is what we call them.

I've already mentioned swede and rutabaga

What we call rocket is called arugula elsewhere

Spring onions are scallions I believe!

And seeing as I mentioned herbs (however you say it) coriander is cilantro

Image by David Rock Designs from Pixabay

What we call mandarins are called naartjies in South Africa

We have two names for rockmelon.  We also call it canteloupe but it is also called spanspek and sweet melons. Whatever you call it I don't eat it, or any other type of melon for that matter!

Image by Cryptoskylark from Pixabay

It's not just fruit  and vegetables though. It is also other foods who have multiple names, and if anything some of these are more confusing!

Let's start with shrimp. Despite what Paul Hogan said years ago Australians don't throw a shrimp on the barbie. We do cook prawns. For us are tiny little types of prawns, just a few millimetres big.

Another example is what we call mince which you can get in chicken, turkey, pork, beef and lamb. I think that it is called ground beef in the US but I am not sure about other countries.

What we call lollies are called jubes in other places and candy in the US.

Then there are biscuits and cookie. For us biscuits are the what would be called cookies in the US, whilst bicuits there are kind of savoury scones. Very confusing.

And most confusing of all are what we call chips. For us chips can be either fries (often thicker than fries but the same) but we also call potato crisps chips.

Funny story about rocket. When I was in my teenage years I worked in the delicatessen section of a supermarket. We used to use rocket to separate different lines of items in the display cabinet. On Saturdays one of our jobs as casuals was to clean out that cabinets by which time the rocket was very, very manky - limp, slimy and disgusting. It took me a long time to eat it when it actually started to become something that was regularly put into salad.

Can you think of any other examples? I am sure there are more.

Weekly meals:

Saturday: Chicken fried rice
Sunday:  5 spice caramel pork with rice and vegatables
Monday: Steak, baked potato, coleslaw
Tuesday: Chicken parma and chips
Wednesday: Satay chicken, pineapple sambal
Thursday: Beef rendang, roti, cucumber salad
Friday:  Mee Goreng, Tofu, crispy egg

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.


  1. The different names and or pronunciations for the same ones is indeed a fascinating subject. And on that subject, I think your lollies would be suckers or lollipops in the US. If you didn't intend candy in a general or all inclusive sense.:)

    1. I was thinking more soft chewy lollies rather than hard boiled lollies Claudia

  2. Who knew I just had naartjies for breakfast? I love the different names and pronunciations! Although I did know, I guess. The first time we went to Scotland we had quite an exchange with a waiter trying to get biscuits, scones, and cookies straightened out. (In the end it didn't matter what we got - they were all great!)

  3. When I lived in the UK, my friends would always laugh at my no-H "erb." Pudding is another one. In the UK it was often used to mean dessert in general, but for me it meant, well, pudding (as in a creamy dessert).

    1. We haven't even spoken about dinner vs tea vs supper. BFR

  4. Thanks! I needed that! I do come across many of those names on blog posts mostly and have no idea what they are!thanks for hosting

    1. There's probably any number of other items I could have mentioned Judee. Who knows, amaybe there''s another blog post in it for another day.

  5. I was born in Ireland so I am used to some of these terms.
    My funniest was the first time my Canadian husband tried my mother's mince meat pies. He thought mince meat meant beef!
    He also just mentioned to me that there are chips and French fries as well as chrisps.

    In Canada and the States there are debates about yams and sweet potatoes.
    Being Irish a turnip was a swede, but groceries here label them rutabagas.
    I remember my niece on her first trip to Ireland asking what rocket was.
    Scallions were a big discussion with a friend here recently she said spring onions I say scallions. Or green onions.
    Heavy cream, 35% cream and whipping cream.

    1. I should add creme fraiche to the last line above.

      I just finished baking and thought of icing sugar and powdered sugar.

    2. I did have that one in my mental list Jackie but forgot to write it down.

    3. Chook! I learned that word watching Masterchef Australia.

  6. Interesting list and glad you put it together for us all. I really think I've heard rockmelon used by my grandmother.

    1. Thanks Debra! It was fun to put together

  7. Great list!

    For some of your examples, the different words actually refer to slightly different varieties of a vegetable. For example, at markets here in the US, we have a fairly large number of melons with different sizes, various colors of flesh, and different textures and colors of outer rind. Some of them are canteloupe, honeydew, honey rock, crenshaw, casaba, Cavaillon melon, and Charentais melon. I guess you wouldn't eat any of them. Also similar numerous distinctions among sizes, colors, types of squash and pumpkin varieties. It's a really challenging thing!

    be well... mae at

    1. It is really challenging Mae. I didn't even touch on the different names we have for the same thing in different part of Australia.

  8. This is such an interesting post! Your lists are exhaustive, I can't think of any more and I've learned so many tidbits here. I don't have a cooking post to link, but I've recently read an excellent nature writing/memoir that deals with multiplicity in language and identity as well. :)

    1. I did miss one big one Arti! I forgot about soda vs soft drink vs pop!

    2. What's funny about the soda vs. pop thing is that it's different throughout the U.S. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and we always called it "pop." When I moved to the Southwest, everyone called it "soda," so that's what I say now. Some people say "soda pop," and others refer to all soft drinks as "Coke." Weird.

  9. Fun post! It's crazy how many different words there are for the same item. Americans do pronounce "herbs" without the h, although "Herb" can be a man's name and then it IS pronounced with the h. Weird.

  10. Oh I love seeing your meal plan for the week, gives me some ideas for mine!

  11. I had visitors from Germany (I live in Canada) a few years ago. You should have heard me trying to explain eggplant and French toast.

    I believe that, although coriander and cilantro come from the same plant, 'cilantro' refers to the leaves, and 'coriander' the fruit. Certainly different tasting.