Different Englishes: Vegetables

vegetablesAs anyone who has spent time in the both the US and the UK can tell you, the two countries have a unique gift for complicating even the simplest things. Food is no exception, and indeed, this has been the cause of many arguments (and no small amount of confusion) between Americans and Brits. Part of the problem stems from the UKs proximity to France and mainland Europe (they take a lot more words from the Continent than the US does) but worry not – Different Englishes: Vegetables is here to help!

Key: UK vs. US word

Courgette vs. Zucchini

  • This is the green vegetable that looks like a cucumber but is generally eaten cooked (it is, for example, delicious when steamed with butter).

Note: With the English term taken from French and the American from Italian this one can baffle even native speakers!

Aubergine vs. Eggplant

  • No matter the name, this is the big purple vegetable with a soft skin that is often fried (as in eggplant parmesan).

Note: Even the most patriotic American will admit that a purple eggplant looks nothing like an egg but its name comes from the fact that the original variety of this vegetable was white/yellow in colour and therefore appeared more like an egg than it does now.

Rocket vs. Arugula

  • A green, jagged leaf that is considered a popular leafy green, no matter the name this vegetable is included in many salads and is quite popular in Italian cooking.

Swede vs. Rutabaga

  • Less common in the UK than in the US, this root vegetable is similar to a turnip but is orange in colour and worth knowing because of the dramatic differences in names.

Pepper vs. Bell pepper

  • Don’t let the pepper fool you. No matter the continent this is the hollow vegetable that comes in red, orange, yellow, or green and can be eaten cooked or raw.

Sweetcorn vs. Corn

  • Although the connection here is obvious, when talking about the yellow vegetable from the maize plant it is worth nothing that the “sweet’ is dropped in the US.

Note: “corn on the cob” refers to the fresh corn you eat straight from the hard central body.

Coriander vs. Cilantro

  • While this is not technically a vegetable, the fact that this spice is often used in Indian and Mexican cooking and that many people have a love or hate relationship with it means that you should be very careful when you order.

Note: Cilantro is taken from Spanish.

Hungry for more? Check out our mainpage for more examples!


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