Thursday, June 10, 2010

Little Difference #3


This little difference is about navigating around the grocery store and other situations when you might need to find, eat or talk about food.

A lot of common foods have different names here.

Tomato sauce = Ketuchup
Biscuit = Cracker & cookie
Dry Biscuit = Cracker
Soft drink = Pop
Mince = Ground Beef
Capsicum = Red/Green pepper
Chips = Fries or potato chips
Hot chips = Fries
Lollies = Candy
Chewy = gum
Lemonade = Sprite/7up/similar

Using the words you're used to is either seen as cute/weird/funny (ie: Pop) or as American (ie: Ketchup).
A lot of people won't do/say something if it's considered American - like hanging Christmas stockings, putting Christmas lights on your house outside, Halloween and using a word like ketchup. This is a bit frustrating because a lot of things I'm used to -as a Canadian- fall under the "acting like/doing something like an American" and we all know how much Canadians love being confused with Americans. While I can appreciate keeping a country's customs and traditions alive and well, I don't see people shunning tea drinking and driving on the left because it's "too British".

Because I'm not ready to start calling everything by their Australian names (ie: Tomato Sauce), the situation I'm in will dictate what word I use. First of all, you're "outed" immediately at the grocery store/similar if you ask for ketchup and secondly I've been in situations where people just don't understand (or pretend not to understand) when you ask for something like green pepper. (Last week I had a girl at Subway repeat "Capsicum?" to me about five times -after I'd said green pepper- until I finally gave up and said capsicum.)
I'm sure in time I'll just be calling things by the Australian names and it will come naturally instead of feeling like an impostor when I ask for "chips".

There's also the issue of navigating the whole range of NEW foods. Things like lamingtons, pavlova, the incredible range of fruit, different kinds of cookies, crackers, flavours of pop, and candy. It's fun to go to the store and try different flavours of things you're used to (like Musk Lifesavers) or different flavours of hard candy (like Barley Sugar).

Finally, there's the issue of familiar products tasting completely different or not existing at all. Most people eat spicy mustard (the mustard I'm used to is labelled as "American Mustard"), mayo tastes different - kind of spicy, pasta sauce has a different more tomato/tinny taste, 2 minute noodles taste different, canned soup flavours are different, cheese is different (I could write a whole post on cheese).
When I get homesick, I crave food from home. It's a bit disappointing to buy say, a jar of pasta sauce only to have it taste COMPLETELY different to what you're expecting. Creamy type salad dressings (namely Ranch) and things made with cheese (kraft dinner) taste completely different. The only place I know of to buy Rice-a-Roni is in an American shop on the other side of the city and a box is probably too expensive for it to become a regular menu item.

Temperature: +12C (feels like: +10C)
Sunrise: 7:31am
Sunset: 5:07pm


Jo said...

Okay - I want to see the post on cheese! As someone who had lived long term in another country (Japan), I completely empathize with how even familiar things can taste different. I absolutely could not stand the taste of milk in Japan. I think it is pasteurized differently - and that may be the same case in Australia. On the flip side, McD's tasted better in Japan - they did their fries in peanut oil.

Megan said...

haha ok! I'll get working on it.
Isn't it weird how familiar things or even the same brand of things taste differently? I remember Diet Coke tasting different when I was in England. Thankfully it tastes the same here or I'd be sad ;-)