Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Rose by Any Other Name by Jeannie Watt

One thing I have discovered since being published is that I sometimes use words and terms that I believe are common…but they aren’t. And I didn’t have a clue. I’m currently writing a three-book-continuity about cooks, and in my manuscript revisions was a margin note, from my very patient editor, which read, “Pans are called kettles?”

The note floored me. My first thought was, of course, pans are kettles. When I was a kid we had a set of kettles and my mom would ask me to get the small kettle, or the mush kettle, or the big kettle, depending on what we were cooking. It never occurred to me that kettle wasn’t a widespread term. Or that not everyone owned a mush kettle.

I went to find my husband for a judgment call. He hails from the northeast and his family has lived there for many generations. I hail from the northwest and my family has lived there for many generations. We share a common language, but there are some differences in our usage of that language. For instance, I drink pop and he drinks soda. I use a grocery sack. He uses a grocery bag. I eat mush and he eats porridge. (Porridge? Really? Bears eat porridge. Three of them at last count.) However, I will be the first to admit that I no longer say mush in public. I say “hot cereal.” Anyway, he is my sounding board for all east coast vs. west coast language issues and I’m certain he’ll agree with me on this one. I mean, come on, a kettle is a cooking pot.

I find him reading in his chair after being beat up by junior high math students all day and ask, “Are pans and kettles the same thing?” He doesn’t even look up from his book when he says, “No.”  

No? I’m having a hard time with this one, so I look up kettle in the dictionary. Encarta clearly states that kettles are metal pots used for cooking, usually with a lid. (It was the second definition, but it was there, right below the first that had something to do with boiling liquids.) My husband continues to disagree, even though I’m holding the laptop up in front of him and pointing at the entry, blocking the first entry with my thumb. He says that pans are for cooking and kettles are for tea. Hmmm. Well, he can call it whatever he likes as long as he cooks in it. 

With that happy thought in mind, I changed all the kettles in my manuscript into pans, but the next time I cook, I’m using a kettle. I can't help it. Some habits are just too engrained to change.

I know we have readers from all over and I’m curious—have you ever encountered words that were normal to you and others didn’t understand? Or vice versa?  Perhaps a phrase that reminds you of home or your particular area? I love regionalisms, so please share. I’m giving away a Kindle download of any SuperRomance book of your choice.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

70 comments:

Sarah Mayberry said...

Absolutely. Every time I hand in a manuscript I learn that a phrase I thought was universal is Australian. Who knew? For example, in australia, anything you use on the stove is either called a saucepan (high sides, for boiling water, soup, etc, etc,) or a frying pan. We would never just call them a pan. We also have cake pans, too. A kettle is definitely the thing you either plug in to boil water for tea or coffee, or set on the stove to boil tea or coffee, and it looks like the piccie in your post. We call pop or soda "soft drinks", I guess because they're not "hard liquor"! We also say a lot of things that are, apparently, unique to us. For example, if you were in a bar and buying a round of drinks for your friends, you'd say "My shout." Meaning my "treat", I guess. If someone was being a busy body, asking nosey questions, we'd called them a "sticky beak". If you're feeling sick, you might say "I'm feeling a bit crook." I have learned over the years that all of the above sayings are not readily comprehended by North American editors/readers. Reading that there are territorial differences between US states kind of makes me feel better about that. Language is a growing, evolving thing, and rather fascinating...

Sarah Mayberry said...

PS. And as far as I know, it's always porridge down here in Australia. What I'd like to know is if "oatmeal" is the same as "mush" and "porridge". I'd also like to know what a southern "biscuit" is like (our biscuits are what Americans call "cookies", I believe), and what gravy is versus sauce. In Australia, gravy is what we put over meat - made from the roasting pan juices and thickened with flour, or from a sachet bought from the supermarket if you're lazy like me - and sauce can be any liquid, really, that goes over a meal (mushroom, tomato, black pepper, etc). Gosh. That list got long really quickly. Sorry!

Babs said...

Oh boy, this is fun. I grew up all over the world because of my father's job and my 'regionalisms' are all over the place! How about bag v. sack v. carrier. Or trash bin v. waste can v. trash can v waste bin v. wastebasket...I never know what to call it. Or soda v. pop v. coke...how can all fizzy drinks be referred to as 'coke'? How do people know what they will get?

Sarah, in the US, biscuits are usually served as the bread part of a meal. Typical ingredients are: flour, baking powder, salt, butter or lard, and milk. Sometimes people add a tiny bit of sugar but that isn't necessary. And let me tell you, they are definitely regional. My husband grew up in Texas and Louisiana and has very precise ideas of what a biscuit should be. I honestly think Southerners are more picky about them...As for gravy -- the US idea of gravy sounds like it is the same as the Australian. Sauces, well, Americans aren't as into sauces...those they have would be more like condiments, e.g. ketchup or salsa if you are in the West or Southwest of the States. At least this is the case the places I have lived in the States...

Rula Sinara said...

Well, let's see. I was born in the west, grew up in the south (and elsewhere), and I'm living in the east. I have to say that a kettle has always been the metal 'thing' with a spout used to boil water on a stove top...or to brew tea in. The one we had as a kid whistled, and now I have an electric one. The only time I think of a kettle as a pot is when I'm watching a western and the 'pot' is hanging over an open fire.

I say 'soda', but I 'pop' the top on the soda can or bottle ;)

Now, when I moved from Texas to Northern VA, folks used to laugh at me for calling my children 'kids' (or kidlets etc...). Not everyone, but a lot of people. They asked me why I'd refer to them as baby goats, LOL. To me, children sounds so formal. I still say 'kids' and 'folks' a lot.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Sarah--I love Australian lingo. I'm going to say "My shout," next time it's my shout. I bet the people I'm with will understand. Babs did a great job of explaining biscuits and gravy. When I first started reading Harlequins, most were set in UK or Australia and, as a kid, I had the hardest time understanding why anyone would eat a biscuit with tea--and out of a tin! I later figured it out. At my house there was mush (Cream of Wheat) or oatmeal mush. Or just plain oatmeal. I do have cake pans, as opposed to a cake kettle. (Kettles are strictly top of the stove items.) And I use a frying pan or a skillet.

Could you please tell me is a "billy" is a kettle? I'm thinking of the lyrics to Waltzing Matilda.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

my husband is from the west side of VA, up in them-there hills. haha
I am German and have learned a lot of English by listening to people talk. My husband family calls "Pots and Pans" "Kittles". We are living in MI and I have learned, around here anyway, that a kettle is for heating water for tea or coffee.
Uli

Jeannie Watt said...

Babs--How neat that you've been all over. I imagine you have to develop an ear, such as "Oh, it's a trash bin here..."

I make southern biscuits--or I think I do--the kind that are several inches thick and light inside. You handle the dough as little as possible so the biscuits don't get tough. I eat mine with butter and syrup, like a pancake, but I haven't found anyone not from my family that does that. My husband is a butter and honey man.

What kind of biscuits does your husband favor?

Jeannie Watt said...

Hey Rula--I thought kid was a commonly accepted term. Wow. That's what I get for watching television, lol. I say soda now, because my husband still gives me a blank look when I say pop. (I think he does it on purpose.) When I go to my mom's house and say soda, she also gives me a blank look. Soda, in her house, is a white powder used for baking.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Uli--Yay for your husband's family! I do have family that came from that general area (them thar hills) a long time ago.

Jeannie Watt said...

Another small story--a friend of mine went to England and was telling the people she was visiting there about her husband's grandfather. She described him as a large man who wore suspenders, meaning braces. The people she was talking to were quite amused, thinking that she meant he wore garters to hold up stockings.

Anonymous said...

What a great topic! And so timely...my sister-in-law and I were just talking about a word I said my very lovely editor wouldn't let me use - stickers. Down here in the South, when we walk across the grass we look for stickers so they don't get embedded in our barefeet. Obviously, some say thistles. My mother and SIL were appalled. No one in Louisiana or Texas uses the word thistle...or cupboard. It's a sticker and a cabinet or pantry. But a few nights ago, my SIL texted me. She was reading my May book and found that they had left sticker in that book. She thought it was so funny she'd caught the slip.

Down here we say lots of things differently - it's a coke, not a pop or soda. You better make sure you tell them what kind of coke you want. LOL. I lived in New Orleans and several things they say there are different - making groceries is going to the grocery store, a brake tag is the inspection sticker, and neutral ground is the median.

It's fun hearing the differences in things.

Oh, and we cook in pots and pans. A kettle is a tea kettle like in the pic. And Southerners eat biscuits but usually for breakfast. We prefer cornbread or French bread with our meals. Or maybe that's Louisiana. Gravy is anything that covers meat.

Fun!

Liz Talley

Kaelee said...

Hi Jannie ~ I'm loving this post. I have lived in three different provinces in Canada and I should know some regionalisms but I just can't think of any right now. I can think of a few family expressions though. In our family you aren't jealous you are jello or green jello if it is a bad case. Also if you need to stop and relieve ourself, we call it making a rose bush. My English granny called this going to see Mrs Murphy. This leads to washroom restroom and bathroom.

I say pop. A kettle is for boiling water. A biscuit is eaten with butter at any meal.

Jackie S. said...

Your sentence...what kind of biscuits does your husband like....lol...lol....mine likes ANY that I don't make!!! My Mom was such a great cook, and her biscuits delicious.....so I can never compete. I always thought a kettle was for water....and not considered a pan.

Ellen Hartman said...

I hope I'm standing next to Jeannie next time she says, "My shout." (Or Sarah.) Then I can say, "My shout next."

The lovely folk from Scranton, PA say "pank." It means press down. As in, "My enormous 80's perm was blocking the rearview mirror so I had to pank it down." I've learned this is not a universal term.

My husband grew up just down I-81 from Scranton in a town called Old Forge where there is a big Italian population. At my house, we had spaghetti and sauce. At his house, the same meal was macaroni and gravy.

Jeannie--your husband cracks me up. I love that he saw right through your "thumb on the real definition" trick. Also, if anyone tried to serve me something called "mush" I'd say no thanks. Even if it tastes delicious, it sounds really wrong.

Sarah Mayberry said...

Jeannie, a billy is a sort of bush kettle - typically a large-ish tin can or pot with a handle on it (like a bucket handle or pail handle) so you can fish it out of the fire with a long stick once the water has boiled. Biscuits sound a little bit like scones. Or am I way off? Or don't you guys have scones? Ellen, I love "pank". I'm going to do my best to introduce it Down Under. Especially as my hair often needs panking.

Jeannie Watt said...

Liz--No stickers? We have stickers here and they are not thistles. They are small round things called goat heads that have evil sharp spines on them. They're about the size of pea. I bet I wouldn't be able to use goat head in a book (she walked through the yard, avoiding the goat heads... Somehow I don't think that would fly). I'd have to use stickers. Love all of your regionalism--especially the coke. I only biscuits for breakfast, too.

Jeannie Watt said...

Sarah--Biscuits are like scones, except they are patted out and cut into rounds. No currents or anything yummy like that in them. Thank you for letting me know what a billy is. I think I own one.

Jeannie Watt said...

Oh, Kaelee--I'm dying over green jello. I believe I will be introducing that into the family vernacular. Right now, instead of serious, we say, "I'm cereal." I use it in the classroom sometimes. The kids love it. I have been known to visit Mrs. Murphy, myself. When it's time to let the dogs outside to take care of business, I ask them if they want to go "hunt a coyote." They instantly run to the door.

Jeannie Watt said...

Jackie--Lol at the biscuits. There is a bit of a trick to them. Touch them as little as possible. I'm sure glad my editor caught that kettle bit, since I am definitely in the minority here.

Jeannie Watt said...

Ellen--I cannot tell you how much I love "pank". I will be panking here. (What to pank, what to pank...) Macaroni and gravy is new to me. It sounds like a hearty meat dish with noodles in it. We call macaroni and cheese "sleeze". I grew up eating elk (no beef--we only ate naturally harvested tough-as-nails animals; the larger the rack, the tougher the meat). Hate the stuff. I call it "uck".

Babs said...

Jeannie - my hubby likes biscuits to be fluffier than I can ever make them. I've tried loads of recipes but haven't found one that he agrees is as good as what he remembers from childhood. Now the weird thing is, his mother doesn't make biscuits so I'm still trying to figure out where he ate these fluffy as clouds biscuits as a kid?!?! Sometimes I think he's created the memory in his head. Or that is the excuse I use to skip making them from scratch and using Bisquick Baking Mix.

gloria said...

Loved the post and the comments. I can only add that besides regional differences in what one is talking about, add old age to the mix, sometimes I don't even know what my younger neighbors are talking about, yesterday somebody told me the neighbor was "hammered" and I thought she got beat up! Turns out she had one to many. Oh well, I just keep my mouth shut most of the time, too many words have changed their meanings since my youth.

Mary Brady said...

Jeannie, my grandma used to cook in kettles. She also used to worsh her clothes. People around here drink from bubblers and fountains are the things you throw coins into. So they look at you funny when you ask if there's a drinking fountain near by. Who would want to drink from one of those? fun post. Thanks!

Debra Salonen said...

Great post, Jeannie! We brought some regional speak with us when we moved from South Dakota to California. Pop vs sodas. The first time I heard this, I thought it sounded so affected. Beer out here is not a "tap," it's a "draft" (unless it comes from a can, of course). Who knew that tin foil is actually aluminum foil (like it says on the package)? We always went to the movies, people here go to the cinema or theater.

The biggie for us is: lunch/dinner/supper. There is no supper (evening meal) in California. Dinner was our noon meal in SD. Lunch was the mid-morning break workers took.

When my daughter was stationed in the south, she asked me to "Carry her to the store to buy something." My reply: "I'll drive you, but I'll be damned if I'll carry you anywhere." And I learned that barbecue is NOT the same as cooking some kind of meat over coals.

New-speak: my niece just told me they were stopping for "linner" on the way home. Apparently, eating around 3-4 o'clock now has its own name. Who knew?

I've never eaten mush. I do eat oatmeal and hot cereal. But when I first moved here, we ate breakfast food. (meaning cereal)

Deb

Debra Salonen said...

Oh, yeah, I forgot. We have pots and pans, skillets and roasters, but a kettle is for boiling water.

:-) Deb

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Love the post and all the comments. I am with Debra on a lot of things.

I grew up in Maryland and barbecue was "sloppy joe" type meat sauce on a bun. Or you barbecued bratwurst or steak on the grill.

Then I moved south to North Carolina and discovered barbecue is a a pig cooked for hours in a giant tin can split in half and filled with hickory wood. Once I got over the shock of no sloppy joes and dead eyes staring at me, I loved it. needless to say, we grill down here.

Getting hungry!

Peace, Julie

Kimberly Van Meter said...

Oh my gosh! This post was hilarious! I have to agree with the consensus about the kettle. It's not a pan. Sorry Jeannie! (But I love you so you can call it what you like!)

I call a creek a "crick" and my family calls enchiladas "inchies." And when I was a kid my mom hated the word "fart" so no one farted in our house. We tooted.

:-P

Rula Sinara said...

I just thought of another one that had me confused and drove our realtor crazy when we moved to VA from TX. In TX, the den is the big, family gathering room..aka informal living room/tv room. Up in VA, it's called the family room, and the den is a home office (usually a small room off the entryway).

And what about grits? Isn't that a purely southern thing? Anyone remember the show Alice, where Flo would say (in a very southern drawl) 'Well, kiss my grits.'?

msullivan said...

Jeanie, this is such a fun post! I love everyone's comments. Okay, so this would be the perfect crowd to ask: I have a teenager in my WIP going to the movies and having a pop. Or at least, that's what I thought he was having, but he's in Montana. So should I have him drinking a soda??? And is he in a movie theater? Or a cinema?

Jeannie Watt said...

Babs--I'm a huge fan of bisquick. I make a quiche thing out of it sometimes, too. Too funny about wondering where your husband ate those fluffy biscuits.

msullivan said...

Eeek, just noticed I only put one 'n' in your name, Jeannie. Sorry!

Jeannie Watt said...

Gloria--Words do change meanings and sometimes quite rapidly. I remember when you hammered on someone when you beat them up. Having raised teenagers, I'm also familiar with the other meaning. When the phrase bling bling first surfaced, I had to ask my kids what it meant.

Jeannie Watt said...

Mary! I worsh clothes, too. And I grew up next to Worshington state. I had to really work to stop putting r's in those words. Everyone said worsh. (As they cooked in their kettles.)

I agree with you on the drinking fountain. To me a bubbler is a gassy toddler in a bathtub.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hey Deb--I put the stamp of approval on all of your terms, lol. Especially tin foil. When my daughter moved to California, she had to give up supper, too. I don't know if she's had linner. I'll have to ask.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Julie--I had a roommate from Texas and that's how I discovered barbeque. He put a goat in the ground for my wedding and make brisket. It's always good to have a Texan in the house when one has a special occasion. I'm getting hungry, too.

Jeannie Watt said...

Actually he "made" brisket, as opposed to make brisket.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hey Kim--I grew up around cricks, too. Another word I had to relearn. Too funny about tooting. For years my kids thought fart was the f-word. Ah, the innocence of youth.

Jeannie Watt said...

Rula--I think grits are a purely southern thing, but I love them. They remind me of *ahem* hot cereal.

I'm of the school where a den is a small office or a retreat. The other is called the family room here.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Mary--I think I can field your question. If your kid is in Montana, he's drinking pop--at least in the western part of the state. And he's not going to the cinema. (I can hear my mom now--what the heck's a cinema?)He's in a movie theater.

There are so many ways of spelling Jeannie that I'm good with all of them, except for G-knee. I don't care for that one. ;-)

Kaelee said...

Oops! I misspelled your name also! Please forgive me. I'm loving these terms. We go to the movies here. I say hi or hello but lots of areas say hey. I am also guilty of adding an eh pronounced a into my speech. I'm Canadian EH!

msullivan said...

Perfect, Jeannie. Thank you!

autumnmacarthur.com said...

Great post! I grew up in Australia, have lived fifteen years in England, but work mostly with Americans, so I have no idea now whether things I say are Aussie, British, or US things I've picked up from my colleagues.

I do know it doesn't matter who I talk to, I always get something wrong!

I got some very weird looks from my English husband when I said I was going to wear thongs on my feet. In Australia, thongs are flip-flops. Here, a thong is a G-string panty.

I did hear about an American doctor working with an Irish nurse who offered her a ride at the end of the working day. She slapped his face. The poor guy had no idea at all. He just thought he'd be nice and give her a lift home in his car, she thought he wanted sex. Oops!

Lots of other differences too!

Jeannie Watt said...

Autumn--The ride is sooo funny. I grew up calling flip flops thongs. My kids grew up in the thong-wearing era. One day I ordered pricey flip-flops for my husband and when the box came in the mail, my daughter asked what it was. I said, "Dad's thongs." Loooong silence. Then quiet little voice, "...Dad wears a thong?"

Jane said...

In NY, coffee regular is coffee with sugar and cream. When we saw regular slice we mean a slice of cheese pizza.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Jane--I'm going to remember that when I go to New York for RWA Nationals. My husband is from New York, but hasn't been back for a long time. He bemoans the lack of decent cheese pizza where we live.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeannie,

I love this post. It's fun. I grew up in rural Texas and back then it was soda pop. Now that I've moved to the city it's Coke.

Here a kettle is for boiling water to make iced tea, and if you live in a rural area they make it so sweet it's like drinking syrup. Yuck. I never liked that.

Fixin' to, I reckon, sure 'enough and can you carry me to the store are very common here.

I get questions in the margins, too. LOL

Linda Warren

JV said...

This was a very fun discussion! I have to agree with Rula and others. I've grown up (in Kentucky) referring to cooking vessels, for the most part, as pans (which could be saucepans or frying pans, which we often request specifically). To me, the only thing that's a kettle is something like in your graphic or a kettle of stew hanging over an open fire.

Sarah, I was totally with you (who knew Australia and Kentucky were so similar?) in calling carbonated beverages soft drinks (though some just refer to all of them, generically, as a Coke much like facial tissues are often Kleenexes). As for porridge or mush, we name it specifically. It's either oatmeal or Cream of Wheat or whatever (and you can keep all of them as far as I'm concerned -- I prefer cold cereal).

As for Southern biscuits, if you've ever eaten at a Kentucky Fried Chicken (now KFC), you usually get a biscuit with a meal. It's the puffy, bready thing (that's yummy in my estimation). If you want to see a picture, put this link in your browser window: t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRT-najU1GNkrPAnsBq241VdCwBykB9pWM1Z5AyZ-aCJLGrVriy0A or go to kfc.com and click on "Sides".

As for beer, if it isn't bottled or canned, it's either on tap or draught (or draft). The things you put groceries in can be either bags (usually) or sacks but are never "pokes" as they are in some parts of the country.

In terms of meals, when I was growing up we had breakfast, lunch, and supper (the evening meal). We only skipped lunch and had dinner instead (a large, more formal, and involved meal served around 1:30 or 2:00 in the afternoon) on holidays or special occasions. Like we had Christmas Dinner or Thanksgiving Dinner. However, in recent years, most people here have dropped supper in favor of dinner as being the large evening meal.

Another interesting regionalism here is how you indicate a selection, especially of those things that are coveted by many. For example, if you're not driving but want to ride in the front seat, here you'd call dibs on the front seat. You might also call dibs on the last piece of pie or whatever you want to claim before someone else takes it. I'm told by a work colleague from Boston that they call it "hosies" (not sure of the spelling). She also tells me that what we call a milkshake or maybe a malt is always called a frappe (pronounced "frap") there. In recent years, we've learned about frappe drinks here, too, but they are usually not quite the same as milkshakes or malts.

Isn't diversity grand?

JV said...

Also, here gravy usually refers to a meat juice thickened with flour or cornstarch and poured over meat. Sauce is often a thinner liquid, which may be meat juice (as in "au jus")or another substance like cheese sauce, white sauce, Bearnaise sauce, etc.

JV said...

Babs, if you're having trouble making your biscuits fluffy enough, trying using Martha White or some other brand soft wheat flour. It makes a difference, and as others have said, handle it as little as possible.

Men who don't wear a belt to keep their pants up here wear suspenders.

Biscuits are much like scones (only sometimes softer and fluffier and usually not sweet, like scones often are here). And grits are basically like porridge or oatmeal only made from ground corn. Ugh on that one, too! (I know; I know. I've been told I'm an embarrassment to Southerners everywhere for not liking grits.)

Joan Kilby said...

Fun post, Jeannie! It's interesting to hear all the variations. Having grown up on the west coast of Canada reading British books and watching American TV, and now living in Australia, I no longer know where a word comes from! Had to laugh at 'making groceries' which I would call buying groceries or grocery shopping. Re biscuits, in Canada we called them baking powder biscuits. Sarah, they are almost identical to scones. Which, for our American friends, are pronounced 'skon' with a short 'o', not a long 'o'.

Jeannie Watt said...

Hi Linda--I'm glad I'm not the only one with questions in the margins, lol. I've never heard the phrase "carry me to the grocery store" before today. Interesting. Also I don't think I'd like supersweet tea, especially if it's hot outside. Love your phrases.

Jeannie Watt said...

JV--You are a wealth of information! Excellent stuff there. Also--I'm a northerner who loves grits, so we cancel out and the universe is in balance.

Jeannie Watt said...

Joan--I'm guilty of scone with a long o. I've heard it pronounced the other way, though. You do have a rich and varied background. I think we also called our biscuits baking powder piscuits. And if we added a little sugar to the dough, they were southern biscuits.

JV said...

I should have clarified my earlier statement: "Men who don't wear a belt to keep their pants up here wear suspenders." Younger men, it seems, wear nothing at all to keep their pants up and wear them about 4 sizes too large. Hence, the crotch of their pants is often dangling around their knees.

Kaelee said...

Dad wears a thong ~ priceless. Thank you much for a much needed belly laugh.

Virginia said...

I am afraid I cook in kettles here and I drink pop! We also have breadfast, dinner and supper. We eat biscuits with butter at any meal. But I love biscuits and gravy.

Sarah Mayberry said...

Okay, I just did some google detective-ing. It seems that Cream of Wheat might be quite similiar to what we call Semolina down here in Australia. My mother used to make it for me with sugar and milk as a kid. Yum. And grits seem as though they are somewhat related to what I know as polenta - maize/ground corn which can be cooked in stock/water, and served with butter and salt as a sort of substitute for mashed potato, or set into a pan and cut into squares and fried. Although grits, from the piccies I have seen, seem more like an "eat them from a bowl" sort of thing with savoury additions of some description. Does it sound as though I'm on the right track? I have to say, I have always been fascinated by grits, and I remember that same quote someone mentioned above "kiss my grits." This has been a fun conversation!

Jeannie Watt said...

JV--I am so tired of saggers. It's a style of dress taken from prison wear. They can't have belts, so their pants sag. No shoelaces is another prison thing. I was so happy when tighter pants for guys became fashionable. I hate seeing some kid's boxers hanging a mile out of his pants. Ick.

Jeannie Watt said...

Kaelee--Yes, that was a funny moment. She was so horrified.

Jeannie Watt said...

Sarah--I would say you are right on track (although I am not a grits expert. I do know from watching the movie My Cousin Vinnie that no self-respecting southerner would make instant grits). Cream of Wheat is semolina as far as I know. I'm getting hungry. This has been fun.

Sarah Mayberry said...

Jeannie, we saw a stand up comedian a few years ago who referred to the fashion for over-sized, huge jeans/pants as "fear of cloth." Perhaps saggers are related to this....

Annette Gallant said...

What a fun post,Jeannie! I grew up in Prince Edward Island (east coast of Canada) and we definitely have our own lingo. We say the sidewalk is "slippy" instead of slippery, use "scribbler" instead of notebook (this one produced howls of laughter from my students when I started teaching in Toronto), we "dress" our beds instead of making or fixing them, and even though we're on the east coast, we use "pop" instead of soda.

linda s said...

Too funny. I really enjoyed this post. I grew up on the prairies - the west to some, the mid-west to others as opposed the Pacific North West, of course. We had rec (sort for recreational) rooms now called family rooms and dens are for badgers. We also had a front room (living room) and a back room (family room). We didn't go to the movies, we went to the show. Kettles are for boiling water, pots go on top of the stove burner and pans go in the oven. Pots and pans are made of metal - if it is bake-proof glass, it's a casserole dish. I never thought how much trouble a word can be.

Jeannie Watt said...

Virginia--You are my kind of woman!

Jeannie Watt said...

SArah--Fear of cloth is too funny. Once I'd lost some weight and my pants were riding low and I heard a student tell another student that I was the only teacher cool enough to sag. I wore a belt after that.

Jeannie Watt said...

Annette--Thanks for sharing the regionalisms. I've never heard of slippy and love the scribbler. It sounds like something out of Harry Potter. I can just imagine the students reacting. Too funny.

Jeannie Watt said...

Linda--I find it interesting that pots go on top of the stove and pans inside the oven. That makes perfect sense to me, although I'd never thought about it before. (Except a frying pan--the exception that proves the rule.) I also call a glass dish a casserole. You are so right, though. Words can be trouble.

Anonymous said...

Late chiming in here, but this was a fun post! We call the "sauce pans", pots and the frying pan a frying pan :) Never really use the word kettle unless very occasionally referring to a tea kettle, but mostly it's a tea pot! We've always referred to cream of wheat as mush, oatmeal as oatmeal and grits as grits (though no one that i know eats grits here!) not even sure what porridge is!

I think we use a lot of words here that aren't used elsewhere. You don't even realize you're using them until mainland friends or tourists look at you strange!

Anonymous said...

Oh and I forgot, over here they're slippers, not flip flops, flipping and flopping is what a fish does when you land it on a boat! Thongs are panties here too. Though we have so many mainlanders here now that most of us have figured out that you need to take things in context to figure out what people really mean.

forgot to sign my last post...

Snookie

Jeannie Watt said...

Snookie--High five for Cream of Wheat being mush! Now slippers for flip flops is interesting. I think of fuzzy footwear worn with a robe when I think of slippers. I bet you do have a lot of words that mainlanders are unfamiliar with.

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