Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Dear Americans (Merkans)

As I have been blogging for over two years now I think I am just about getting the hang of your funny accent. What I can't get used to is your constant need to change perfectly good spellings, or your need to call something by a completely different name (I'm afraid to tell you that zucchini are really called courgettes).
I know that we probably gave you all our worst spellers in the beginning but this really isn't an excuse for mangling your original language (mangle = wringer - the thingy with the wooden rollers to get the juice out of washing, good for squishing worms as well).

I have noticed, during my extensive research, that English English has many words for the same thing and when we run out we just make some more up! I have also learned that your pants can go all the way down to your ankles whereas our just cover our bits and I now know that zip code does not mean deciphering a secret message before undressing. I am still a little confused by the jam/jelly/jello thingy but I do understand when you insist on calling chips 'fries' because you gave us McDonald's (thanks a lot).

I know that cookies are biscuits (except when they are choc chip cookies), diapers are nappies but what the hell is a moonpie? Twinkies look interesting but you can keep your Hershey bars (yuk), the dodgy looking super blow pops and will someone please explain hominy grits - it is beyond me? In return I will try my best to explain the intricacies of tea making, yorkshire pudding and umm, marmite (can anyone really explain marmite to the un-initiated?).

I believe that these cultural exchanges will cement our relationship with you merkans as long as we don't venture into any grey/gray areas.


Anonymous said...

Jam = with seeds and chunks
jelly = without seeds and chunks
jello = fruit flavored cows stomach
pudding = faster jello

grits = corn processed with lye

freedon fries = chips that have declared their independence from France

twinkies = insanity defense

hershey bar = brown wax

moonpie = biscuits with cows stomach marshmallow center, dipped in hershy bar brown wax.

marmot = large rodent native to North Merika
marmite = Bovril for sissies, high in vitamin B12

grey = tea
gray = colour somewhere between black and white

cement = grits left in the pot overnight

Anonymous said...

"courgettes?" I didn't even have to look in the dictionary to tell you that was french. "Zucchini" without looking in the dictionary is probably Italian.
Ok, I'll give you "nappies" & "chips" but let's not get "hoity toity" (that's prob. actually English)

I admit English Tea is the best.

Unknown said...

Leslie, I think I am glad that you don't own a resturant. Can you imagine what the menu would look like?

But I love a bit of 'hoity toity', Handmaiden - here's a bit from 1668...
"The Widows I observ'd ... Chanting and Jigging to every Tune they heard, and all upon the Hoyty-Toyty, like mad Wenches of Fifteen."
- I love the mad wenches bit.

Roberta said...

Grits are Palenta. Simple as that.

Hominy are grits with chunks of corn in them. (lumpy Palenta which is probably an amalgamation of the Italians (Columbus) and the Indians (who had the corn).

My husband hates jam and jello, but loves jelly. (Should be clear enough for you)

Chips are also potatoes only wafer thin and sold in bags. (Usually stale)

Twinkies are an angle food cake filled with a sweet creamy filling. It is said that they have enough preservatives in them to outlast the end of time.

Don't mess with my moonpie which is indicative of the south. A staple to every bag lunch of children under the age of 10.

I never understood the love of marmite. How gross is that? Give me a fresh tub of Nutella and a graham cracker and I'm in heaven!

I agree with Leslie. Grey is tea, Gray is the sky today. But most Merkans are now drinking Green tea which has nothing to do with the environment unless we decide to pour it into the Boston Harbour again in protest to all the SHIT we have to put up with these days.

My grandmother had a wringer washer.

What I don't understand about the English is why they waste perfectly good letters in words when the abreviated is serves just as well? ie: Colour; flavour. Perfectly good waste of ring finger motion when typing.

Cookies are sweet, biscuits are savory. We eat them smothered in sausage gravy or doused with jelly and rich butter.

I hope this clears things up for you, Dear Minx. When you come to visit, I'll have a moonpie and biscuits ready and waiting!

Unknown said...

Well, that has sorted out me grits, Roberta, but you can keep your lumpy corn mash for yourselves as we have plenty of porridgey/custardy type horrors over here, thank you.

Tea is not GREY!!! Even Earl Grey is not grey. Tea is brown, comforting, warm, lovely, lovely brown. We have already been through our green tea phase but most of us have sneaked back to our original addiction now.

The sloppy pilgrims dropped those colourful, flavoursome letters somewhere in the Atlantic. They are also responsible for being dyslexic about z's and s's.

Now, do you want to know about black pudding, jellied eels, spotted dick, bubble and squeak, toad in the hole, or shepherds pie (hard to find lean shepherds these days)?

Roberta said...

I have made shepherds pie, one of my family's favourites! Toad in the Hole is sometimes a welcome late night supper.

I've also made Bangers and Mash. However if I saw a spotted dick I'd run screaming the other way!

(My great grandmother was from England)

Unknown said...

I know about Marmite........It's fucking awful!!

Debi said...

Handmaiden's right about the French/Italian - glad she said it, not me.

What annoys me is the way spell checker wants to make my s into z all the time.

But what makes me laugh is remembering a visit from a gay Merkan friend who knew about fags being cigarettes but not about faggots being - well, I'm not quite sure exactly, but it's something meaty. I took a photo of him posing by a 'What a juicy faggot' billboard.

Anonymous said...

I can explain everything should you give me a chance.....
*note the heavy double meaning here*

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Leslie nailed every one of them. So funny.

One of the big differences I noted upon visiting London for the first time was Irish Coffee.

Irish Coffee in the states means coffee with 'green labled' mint-ish flavored "milk" stirred in as a creamer. Again with the chemicals that last longer than time.

Irish Coffee on your side of the pond is an experience in paradise. My dearest Jesse told me sternly NOT to stir the hot froth that was so carefully spooned over the top of my coffee, else I'd insult the creator of my dark amrosia and ruin the drink.

Can I just tell you, it is worth the time, flight, hotel, and cab fare to get to London to have real Irish Coffee.

Wonder where that recipe got dumped between here and there.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Unknown said...

You can have custard on your spotted dick, Roberta, and after a large helping you won't be running anywhere.

No, it's fucking lovely, John G - I am one of the 50% who love to love it. Did you know it takes its name from the french word 'marmite' - a cooking pot...nah, I dunno either!

Mine does the same, Debi. I can't find anywhere on my firefoxy browser that will allow me to change from US to UK English - narks!!
And you really should have pointed out the cultural differences of faggots. Nasty Debi.

You certainly have some explaining to do, Muts - my office, now!!

Stirring Irish coffee is illegal, Scarlett. I really enjoy one after dinner, or after lunch, or breakfast, supper or....

John said...

You should try the prairie oysters. A treat instead of a treatment.

Anonymous said...

What should I name my new restaurant?
"Marmite or mite not?"

(And tea is not gray, it's Earl Grey)

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm just going to have to try some of this marmite stuff. unfortunately i've never seen any in the supermarkets where I live.

Unknown said...

Just for a moment there, John, I thought you might have been talking a load of bollocks, but the wikiwotnot tells me that Prairie Oyster is a band from Canada. I know that you are far too nice to dangle a prairie oyster in front of a vegetarian!

Think I'd call it the 'Marmot Moonpie', Leslie.

Email your address, Handmaiden, and I will send a jar of our finest toast topper over. Love it or hate it - you decide.

Jan said...

WHY did someone mention Nutella?? I'm off to the kitchen NOW.

Unknown said...

I always like the sound of it, Jan (nuts and choc, mmmm) but one mouthful and I have had enough. Rather have marmite on burnt toast.

Anonymous said...


hominy: whole kernels of corn with no skin left on them. i don't like hominy, so don't ask me what the heck you do with it.

(in ye olden days of 'merka, these corn kernels were soaked in water and lye to remove the skins; then boiled down with a lot of water to make a thick, pasty like and apparently tasteless concoction which one English travel described to be just like Hasty pudding.)

grits: corn with no skin ground down to a med-fine texture. mix with water to make another, finer, pasty concoction - then add whatever you like to it: butter, salt, gravy, cheese ... side dish to main meals or breakfast cereal.

ps. modern grits are not made with lye anymore .....and neither is our soap !!

cheesy grits with shrimp and green onions (that'd be scallions to you) are yummy. otherwise, i pass on the grits too.

what i call a biscuit is what you 'ingish call a 'scone.'

what i call an english muffin is what you 'ingish call 'tea toast.'

i think the "j's" have been well described here. However, jello - the substance that makes it firm comes from the hooves of cows and horses. just an FYI

french fries ?? why 'merkans would call anything french is beyond me .... i'd use 'frog' personally .....(an no, i'm not apologizing for this statement!!)

twinkies: current trend is to fry them in deep fat boilers and serve them on a stick at county fairs. said to be instant cholesterol boosters and sugar high inducers.

hershey bar: a place to belly up to a wooden counter and order a BEER (not a pint or lager); or a mixed drink (that means with LIKKOR) and then turn to check out local potential sex partner market - all in a small town in Pennsylvania. Rumor has it that said town smells like chocolate all the time .... i try to imagine this during rush hour - ewwww!!

Moonpie --- ahhhh ...... now we are in home territory ..... see, growin' up in the south, nothing was better than riding your bike to the local country store and asking for an RC Cola and a MoonPie ....: two large chocolate dipped sweet waffers (biscuits to you) with marshmallow cream in between. i broke the habit years ago ... but in my dreams ????

As for various letter disappearances - well, personally i think we colonists just felt it was faster and easier to drop those unnecessary u's from words such as:


because, you know, each letter costs money and time. i, personally, think your old fashioned versions are quaint and will use them whilst writing on occasion... oh right - whilst is another one of those quaint english-isms.

i've been lectured repeatedly on the evils of Daniel Webster and his propensity for changing all those z's into s's .... as i was not asked for my opinion by mr. webster regarding said changes, i have no comment.

porridge = oatmeal (i like it lumpy with lots of sugar and milk)

cream of wheat = cream of wheat

tea = tea served cold, over ice, with lots of sugar at every meal. no we have no specific time for 'tea' - we drink it whenever we want.

marmite = vegamite = YUCKY YEASTY - we have over the counter meds for such nasties ...

and well ....

i believe i've pontificated enough and probably did not illuminate nor enlighten this conversation - but i did enjoy adding my own two cents worth to the discussion (two cents = one pence)



Beatrice V said...

Wow... what a diatribe... cannot opine as a foreigner (for Merkans: that is an "Alien" I think:) whose mother tongue is far from English... still have made my decision to side with you minx, since I was born a pedant or as newly coined a "language precisian" -not sure what that is in Merkan tongue.. but figure it out.. :) Sorry Merkan friends but this is life, you win some, you loose some, as they say here:)

Unknown said...

You two later comers should receive a slap for sloppy commenting but I will thank you instead for adding some intelligence to this closing post!