Tuesday, May 20, 2014

His - Living in America: What did you call that?

"What did you call that?" I have heard this phrase many times during my 12 years in America. Over the years I have learned to call several items by their American name, but sometimes I do forget and end up having to repeat myself and call it by its American name. Although there seems to be different names for things throughout life in America a fair share of them are associated with food. Below is a list of some of the items that have different names.

Capsicum: Capsicums are known as Bell Peppers in America. Most peppers are part of the Capsicum family including many of the hotter varieties like the Jalapeno. In Australia the hot peppers are known as Chilies. 

Rockmelon: I first came across something that looked just like a rockmelon on one of my first trips to a supermarket in America. I got confused because it was labelled as a Cantaloupe. I found out it was the same fruit after seeing one that was cut open.

Fairy Floss: Known as Cotton Candy in America this sugary treat is found at fairs across the world and is quite popular at many sporting events across the United States as well. I still prefer the name Fairy Floss over Cotton Candy

Jam: I had heard about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a kid when I watched TV. I never could understand the fascination with this combo as I knew jelly to be the jiggly gelatin product Americans call Jello. I found out that the word jelly is what Australians call jam. For all of those years I thought the kids were making peanut butter and jello sandwiches. Silly me!

Mince Meat: If you head to a butcher shop in America and asked for mince meat you will get a very puzzled look on the butcher's face. Mince meat is either known as ground meat or hamburger. Likewise don't ask for hamburger at an Aussie meat counter as you may get directed to the nearest McDonald's.

Dagwood Dog/Pluto Pup. These are known as corn dogs in America. They are named that since they have a corn meal breading around a hot dog. I am not sure why they are called a Dagwood Dog or Pluto Pup in Australia but the names in Oz sound much more interesting.

Devon: Devon is a very popular deli meat as it is cheap and many people like it. They call it bologna in America and I am pretty sure it is the same thing but can't be sure as I don't like either one.

Chook: This is technically a slang term but  is so widely used in Australia it might as well be the official name. Chook is what many Australians call chicken. I still call it Chook and once in a while confuse people who have not heard the term before.

Chips: This can be confusing when in Australia if you aren't paying attention. Chips can refer to the potato crisps that you but off the snack shelf (like Frito Lays) or can be hot chips which are known as Fries in America. I got caught off guard a few times when I dined at an American restaurant and saw that a sandwich was served with chips and didn't get the fries I was expecting. I have since learned to pay closer attention.

I am sure I have missed a few food items but these are the main ones that came to mind. Which ones are you favourites and why?


  1. I think it's funny that England and Australia seem to have quite a few words in common. I thought it was only England that said chips meaning fries and we call Jam too, I never knew what peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were growing up. It'd be a peanut butter and jam buttie here

  2. How cute that you thought kids were eating peanut better and Jello sandwiches :)



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