As wonderful as it can be to explore supermarkets around the globe, there is a lot about the way they work and the things on offer that can make them confusing for a visiting American.
For instance, when you need to know how many apples you want by the kilo, but you have no idea how to conceptualize a kilo. Let’s not even touch of the perils of mentally mapping the U.S. dollar onto — what is this, a Euro? A pound? Or is this a leftover Singapore dollar? [related]
You leave defeated with enough apples to fill an orchard and your wallet feeling much lighter than a few minutes earlier.
Yet there a couple of other surprising elements to the market experience abroad that may leave you consulting your travel guide and scratching your head.
That’s where language comes in.
Accents aside, there is so much to be said for differences in language even between people who speak a common tongue, be it English spoken in the States compared to England, or Spanish spoken in Costa Rica compared to Spain.
Language is such an influential part of the world, and its everyday uses and intricacies can make the same word mean different things or different words mean the same thing.
This is especially true of food, which is so wrapped up in culture that the language surrounding it can often let you pinpoint a region or country by names and nicknames alone. So when you’re off traveling overseas and suddenly you start hearing people say they'd like some capsicum in their salads, or people are asking if you'd like tomato sauce on your hamburger, you’ll be reminded that no, you’re definitely not in Kansas anymore. Luckily, we’ve got you covered — read on for the wacky, surprising, and sometimes dizzying differences in the way we talk about food in America as opposed to our other English-speaking counterparts. Bon appétit!
Alexandra E. Petri is the travel editor at The Daily Meal. You can follow her on Twitter @writewayaround
Ah, candy — that stuff we love so much that lines deli counters and racks up our dentist bills each year. Candy, as we so fondly call it here in the States, takes on another name in native English-speaking countries including Australia, England and the like: Lollies. That’s right — and the term applies to any kind of candy, not just lollipops.
A cookie is a cookie is a cookie — but not in the U.K. or in Australia. Ready to be thrown for a loop? Cookies are biscuits, or bickies, just an ocean or two away. Leaving out biscuits and milk for Santa at Christmas doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it.