It has been said that the British and Americans are peoples separated by a common language, though it isn't always quite that simple. We won't make this complicated, however, as all you must do is match the food names that describe the same thing.
A matching quiz
Estimated time: 3 mins.
Mobile instructions: Press on an answer on the right. Then, press on the gray box it matches on the left.
(a) Drag-and-drop from the right to the left, or (b) click on a right
side answer box and then on a left side box to move it.
British terms are on the left. Move the American terms to match with the appropriate items. There's a mixture of snacks, vegetables and other foodstuffs for you to match.
2. Boiled sweets
3. Candy floss
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
As a foodstuff, the aubergine (or eggplant) is the fruit of an Asian plant, Solanum melongena. The fruit comes in purple, green and white and is most often eaten as a vegetable.
The British use the French term, aubergine, which itself derives from a Catalan word, which came from Arabic and before that Persian. Aubergine is also used to describe a shade of the colour purple.
The American term, eggplant, came about because the first examples of the fruit to reach that place were white in colour and ovoid in shape, looking much like a chicken's egg.
2. Boiled sweets
Answer: Hard candy
The British term, boiled sweets, describes the process, while the American, hard candy, describes the result. These delightful treats are made by boiling fruit syrup, moulding it into some sort of shape and allowing it to harden.
I remember a particular variety of this type of confection that we only got at Christmastime, here in Canada, when I was very young. They were hard little cylinders, brightly coloured and quite sweet. You could make them last a long time, but had to be careful they didn't split, and catch your tongue in a painful manner. Eating too many could also have a painful result.
3. Candy floss
Answer: Cotton candy
These terms describe that wispy spun sugar confection that kids find to be a must at village fetes (in England) and fall fairs (in North America). It is most often pink and usually gets the person eating it very sticky.
Neither term makes a lot of sense, really, when one thinks about it. The stuff isn't "candy" in the American sense of the word, and the British seldom use "candy" to describe sweet snacks. Apparently the original term in the UK was "fairy floss", which has persisted in Australia. The American term is said to stem from the sweet treat's resemblance to cotton growing in the field. One dictionary surmises that "floss" is derived from the Latin for "a tuft of wool", which would give the terms similar fabric-based origins.
Some complications can arise when discussing these oblong strips of potato which are fried and served as a side dish with almost anything. This is because, at least in Canada, fries are sometimes chips, especially when served with fish, because "fish 'n fries" isn't really a thing, is it? The terminology also gets a bit muddy depending on how thickly or thinly sliced the strips of potato are.
In general, however, an English child will enjoy chips with their fish fingers, while their American counterpart is eating French fries with their fish sticks.
Oh, yes, they're "chips" because they're chipped from the potato and "fries" because that's how they are prepared. The "French" part of the American term probably stems from WWI doughboys dubbing the treat they found in Belgium with a misnomer.
There can be some confusion when discussing the different terms for this herb, as "coriander" is used on both sides of the ocean, but for different parts of the same plant. In the UK, the whole plant is called "coriander", with the seeds being further described by the addition of the word "seeds". In the US, the leaves and stems of the plant are given the name "cilantro", while only the seeds are called "coriander".
The word coriander is said to derive from a Greek word meaning "stinking insect", apparently because of an odour given off by the leaves of the plant. Cilantro comes from a Spanish word for coriander, which came from Latin.
Both courgette and zucchini can be translated as "small squash" or "undeveloped marrow", in French and Italian respectively. They refer to the same foodstuff, also sometimes described as a summer squash. For whatever reason, the French term is used in the UK, while Americans use the Italian word.
It is perhaps interesting that "zucchini" is a plural word that technically should be used to refer to more than one of these small marrows. I also know that if I were to ask my market lady for a "zucchino" (the correct singular) she would likely laugh at me.
Crisps in the UK are what North Americans know as potato chips. At least one source notes that the British needed to call these delightful treats "crisps" because the term "chips" was already in use, for what others know as "fries".
At one time, in the UK, plain crisps were exactly that - unsalted, bland crisp slices of fried potato. If you wanted salt you added it yourself, often utilising a twist of salt that was included in the packet. Later you could buy "ready salted" crisps (which an American would think of as plain chips) and even later the flavour machine really took off in the UK, with all sorts of wild and wonderful flavours available. As a child in Canada (in the 1960s) my choices ran from plain (salted) to barbecue to salt and vinegar. When I later lived in England my favourite became cheese and onion. Whatever they are called, they are hard to resist.
The term porridge has developed from the words porage, potage and pottage, all meaning a thickened stew of some sort, made in a pot. By 1600, especially in Scotland, porridge had come to refer to boiling oats or other cereals in boiling water or milk. The more prosaic term oatmeal, used in the States, simply refers to the dehusked oats that are ingredients of the dish.
In the UK, "porridge" has another meaning, being slang for serving a term in prison, probably deriving from the fact that porridge is a frequently served breakfast in such institutions.
These terms refer to a type of salad greens, from the same family as mustard greens, that have a somewhat peppery taste, giving a bit of a kick to any salad they grace. The term used in the UK is "rocket" which derives from the French "roquette". Arugula is a corruption of the Italian term ruchetta or rucola, and is used in the USA. Looking at all of those words, one can see a similarity throughout.
As an aside, in Canada there's a type of candy called Rockets, which are called Smarties in the States. The reason for the difference here is that in Canada Smarties are lovely little discs of candy-coated chocolate, while the American version (Canadian Rockets) are small, chalky fruit flavoured discs.
These root vegetables actually confuse me a bit, as from the photos I find I'm pretty sure I grew up calling them "turnips", a vegetable which I love! (Aha! They are known as turnips in Canadian English! That explains it.)
Known as swedes in England and neeps in Scotland, and sometimes as Swedish turnips, they are a member of the Brassica species and related to cabbages. The American term "rutabaga" derives from a Swedish word, "rotabagge" meaning either "baggy root" or "thick root".