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Cooking Up Confusion 2010/12/14

Posted by Mummy Ruth in baking, Cooking, Musings.
Tags: , , , , ,

Yogurt aisle in Sainsbury'sI quite often look up recipes on the internet, but this brings in problems — not just translating between measurements, but also translating what things are called.  To be honest, this drives me crazy at times, and to make matters worse, some of the US American terms can actually be found in supermarkets over here!  For example, I can buy “Baking Soda” right from the shelf, yet it is a North American term for Bicarb!  I have seen Bistro menus in Glasgow using “Zucchini” instead of “Courgette”.  All the British and European supermarkets have signs above the aisles for “Yogurt“, only the American-owned ASDA uses the American spelling, “Yoghurt”. Yet it seems that “Yoghurt” (with the ‘h’) is proper English!

Yogurt aisle in TescoI guess if we were French, we would receive specially translated software, movies, novels and recipes.  The trouble with being British is that we just get the untranslated straight American stuff, and this makes us think we know what we’re talking about when we don’t always — I didn’t know they called Yorkshire Puddings “Pop-overs” until recently, and I have heard of “Scallions” for ages without knowing that this is simply syboes!  So I have decided here to put a table of terms in the hope that it might help someone sometime!

Aubergine Egg plant
Baking Tray Baking Sheet
Beetroot Beets
Bicarbonate of Soda Baking Soda
Biscuits Cookies
Broad Beans Fava Beans
Caster Sugar Superfine sugar
Chickpeas Garbanzo beans
Clingfilm Plastic Wrap
Coriander Cilantro
Cornflour Cornstarch
Courgette Zucchini
Demerara sugar Brown crystal sugar
Desiccated coconut Shredded coconut
Fairy cake Cup cake
Fish fingers Fish sticks
Flageolet beans Small navy beans
French beans Green beans
Glacé cherries Candided cherries
Gram flour Garbanzo flour/ besan flour
Green beans Dwarf beans
Ice lolly Popsicle
Icing sugar Confectioners’ sugar/ powdered sugar
Jacket potato Baked potato
Jam Jelly
Jelly Jell-o
Mince meat Ground meat
Natural yogurt Unsweetened yoghurt
Passata Sieved tomatoes
Peppers/ capsicums Bell peppers
Pie tin Pie plate
Plain flour All-purpose flour
Prawn Shrimp
Runner beans String beans
Scone Biscuit
Spring onions/ syboe Scallions/ green onions
Stew Hotpot
Sultanas Yellow raisins
Swede Rutabaga
Sweetcorn Corn kernels
Sweets Candy
Swiss Roll Jelly roll
Tofu Bean curd
Tomato purée Tomato paste
Tomato sauce Ketchup
Yorkshire Pudding Pop-overs
Four Ounce Margarine 1 stick

So there y’go. There are probably many more that I have forgotten about (or that I don’t know about), but it’s a start!


1. Charlotte - 2010/12/19

And to make things EVEN more complicated, in Australia we use a MIX of US and UK words – cause we’re bombarded with media from both countries, and therefore have no idea what we’re supposed to call things… ;-)

2. Donna - 2010/12/21

And don’t forget that Crisps are chips and Chips are French Fries or Fries.

3. Charlotte - 2010/12/22

And just to ADD to that confusion, Donna – in Oz, Chips are both crisps AND fries. Except if you’re at MacDonalds, in which case fries are just fries.

Fergus - 2010/12/23

This is hysterical. When I were a boy in Ireland, chips were either chipped potatoes (restaurants) or chips (fish and chip shops). For some reason we’d say “Fish and Chip” as if we were only going to have one chip!! Fries and French fries were what seem to be known now as “Crinkle Cut Chips”. There was no such thing as stick fries, freedom fries, potato wedges or curly fries!! Seems odd that some say “Fries” when talking about Oven Chips!

4. selina - 2011/01/20

I’m loving your blog :0)

We are becoming very Americanised, soon it will be diapers instead of nappies!

Now I had a mild panic and thought I’d been incorrectly spelling yoghurt the American way after reading your list, so went off to Google and found this article


I do hope its not bad n-etiquette to point it out :0)

Mummy Ruth - 2011/01/20

Thanks! I have added a line to the post to reflect your findings.

Then again, nothing surprises me — for example, we were taught to use a double space after a full-stop (or period), and I have just been told that this is now utterly and completely WRONG!

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