Your Guide to the Confusing Language of Food Across the Globe

It’s a confusing world out there, and maybe one of the most confusing things is that foods just don’t have the same name across the English-speaking world. So we took to Twitter to ask you which of the different food words throw you every time!

Check out this guide to help overcome any recipe hurdles in our Cookbooks, Meal Packs and YouTube videos.

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Rocket vs Arugula

Kicking off with one that got a lot of you confused! In the UK we call the peppery green leaf ‘rocket’ – and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the things you fly in, or the Canadian sweets as @theory_query suggested! (or is it Canadian candy? That’s a whole other debate!). We just use the word from the north-Italian ruchetta, while most other English-speaking countries use arugula, which comes from the word they use in the rest of Italy. Could it BE any more confusing?

Coriander vs Cilantro

Not everybody likes this pungent herb. In the US coriander and cilantro describe different parts of the same plant – ‘coriander’ is the seed and the Spanish word ‘cilantro’ is used for the leafy part, as @zeddpoole points out. But in the UK we keep it simple and call it all the same thing – seed or leaf, it’s coriander!

Courgette vs Zucchini

This long green vegetable is delightful in fritters, risottos and even cakes! In the UK we call it by its French name, courgette, while in the US and most other English-speaking countries it’s known by its Italian name, zucchini.

Celebrate the courgette/ zucchini in all its glory with the ‘Spring Greens’ Meal Pack!

Swede vs Rutabaga

The root vegetable we call swede in the UK is known as rutabaga in the US and in France too, but it’s also known as Swedish turnip in some places and as neeps in Scotland, where it’s eaten with haggis on Burns Night! We love this wintery vegetable for a fresh twist on potato mash.

Try it in the Mustard Braised Fennel + Swede Mash from the ‘Autumn Comforts’ Meal Pack!

Aubergine vs Eggplant vs Brinjal

You know that purple emoji? In the UK we go with the French word for it, aubergine, while in the US it’s eggplant. And if that wasn’t confusing enough, it’s known as brinjal in South Africa and South Asia. Whatever you call it, it’s great in curries, parmigianas and moussakas. Why not try burning it for a little extra flavour?

This works perfectly in the Burnt Aubergine Curry from the ‘Fail-Safe’ Meal Pack!

Spring Onions vs Scallions vs Green Onions

Though not exactly the same, spring onions, green onions and scallions are all young onions, which means they are pretty much interchangeable in things like salads, soups and stir-fries. But what you call them depends where you are – in the US you’ll probably get scallions or green onions, while in the UK we’ll be calling them spring onions!

We love their flavour in the Herby Tabbouleh from the ‘Midweek Grillin’’ Meal Pack!

Peppers vs Bell Peppers vs Capsicum

We’re basic over here in the UK. Those green, red or yellow vegetables that are great in ratatouille, salads and fajitas? We just call them peppers. But in the US and Canada they’re bell peppers and in Australia, New Zealand and India they go by their Latin botanical name, capsicum. 

Broad Beans vs Fava Beans

Anyone remember Hannibal Lecter’s fave? @gismophilia does! Turns out those fava beans you get with ‘a nice Chianti’ are just the same as broad beans. We love ‘em in risottos, salads, pastas and soups.

Get your hit with the Broad Bean Minestrone from the ‘Spring in Your Step’ Meal Pack!

Double Cream vs Heavy Cream

Double cream is one of our faves for adding richness and creaminess to both sweet and savoury dishes. But in the US this thick kind of cream is known as heavy cream. 

Make the most of double cream – we love the rich and crispy Butternut Gratin in the ‘Hero Roots’ Meal Pack!

Biscuits vs Cookies

Fancy a sweet snack? In the UK we love a biscuit with a cup of tea, but across the pond you’d probably have a cookie instead. And if you were having biscuits in the US you’d probably be having them with gravy, as @ProsperousCheet points out. In fact, what Americans call biscuits are actually more similar to what we call scones in the UK. Got that? Whatever you do, just don’t come to the UK asking for biscuits and gravy!

Start cooking up these recipes now with the Meal Packs app!

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