Between binge watching The Crown, fascinations with the new Royal baby and the upcoming Royal wedding, it seems all of the Western world has become unapologetic Anglophiles. But just because you’ve taken up drinking tea and wearing Burberry doesn’t mean you’re a full-blown expert on British culture. In fact, you may even struggle just looking at a simple restaurant menu.
Americans and Brits speak the same language, but after 400 years of history and one giant ocean of separation, navigating the two dialects can be difficult. For anyone planning an upcoming trip to England (or anyone just looking to expand their studies past six seasons of Downtown Abbey) here are 14 foods that go by different names across the pond.
(UK — US)
Abergine — Eggplant
Brits call the purple vegetable “aubergine” instead of “eggplant.” Keep an eye out next time you’re shopping. Some American retailers have picked up on the word, and you’ll see that dark purple shirt or accessory labeled “aubergine.”
Biscuit — Cookie
To Americans, they’re cookies, but “cookies” in England are called biscuits. British “biscuits” can be sweet or savory, and are baked in the oven. Americans would recognize them as either a cracker or a cookie — like a shortbread. You’ll sometimes hear Brits call chewier cookies like chocolate chips or snickerdoodles “cookies,” but those aren’t nearly as common.
Candy Floss — Cotton Candy
At least both countries can agree it’s candy!
Chips — Fries
This is probably one of the more well-known differences in what we call our foods. If you ask for “chips” with your meal in England, you’re going to get fries. But Brits don’t consider any old stick of potato a fry. More specifically, chips have to be thick cut like steak fries.
Chocolate Bar — Candy bar
When Charlie found the golden ticket to Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, it was in a “chocolate bar” because author Roald Dahl is British. In America, we refer to pretty much the same item, except we call them a more general “candy” bar.
Cider — Hard cider
Say the word “cider” in England and it certainly means the alcoholic stuff. In America, say “cider” and you’ll most likely be handed something closer to apple juice.
Coriander — Cilantro
If you’re not a fan of cilantro in the States, steer clear of “coriander” in England.
Courgette — Zucchini
If you want summer squash on your trip abroad, you’ll be out of luck if you’re looking for “zucchini.” It goes by “courgette” in England. Similar to American “zoodles,” “courgetti” is courette spaghetti.
Crisps — Potato chips
If you have a hankering for your favorite American snack while traveling in the UK, you’ll need to ask for “crisps.” Try Walkers, which is basically the British Lay’s. You’re likely to find a “ready salted” flavor which means it’s the “original flavor.” Also try the popular cheese and onion flavor. Yum!
Ice lolly — Popsicle
While Americans hijacked the brand name Popsicles (much like how Kleenex is now an acceptable term for tissue) to describe these frozen fruit juice treats, Brits take their term from the fact these are basically iced lollipops, so they’re called “ice lollis.”
Gammon — Ham
The difference between the two is basically non-existent. Both refer to the cured and smoked hind leg of a pig.
Prawn — Shrimp
In the US we distinguish between larger prawns with their extra set of claws, and smaller shrimp with their shorter legs. In the UK, both crustaceans are usually referred to as prawns.
Pudding — Dessert
Pudding can either refer to the sweet at the end of the meal — what Americans know as dessert — or it can refer to a specific dish. Still, if you’re in England and get asked if you would like pudding, don’t expect Jell-O pudding cup. It could be anything from the traditional bread and butter pudding to the quirkily named Spotted Dick.
Rocket — Arugula
A few fancy restaurants in America have picked up on this alternative term, but when you’re in England, any and all things “arugula” will be called “rocket.”
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