Food & Drink

An American's Guide For Buying British Produce

It's time you learn your swede from your aubergine.

English is the most influential language spoken in the world. It is largely spoken across the seven continents and yet holding a conversation with an English speaker from another country can be harder than trying to communicate with someone who speaks an entirely other language. We're not afraid to admit we turn on closed captioning when watching a British show. The thing that consistently trips us up is the different terminology.

Just trying to cook a meal from a UK recipe can prove to be a challenge because of their unique vocabulary. Zucchini isn't called zucchini; and who knows what a swede's supposed to be? Common fruits and vegetables go by not-so-common names across the Atlantic. But we've cleared it up for you, so that you can enjoy the great recipes from the UK (like from Yotam Ottolenghi's new book "Plenty More") without too much confusion.

Courgette = Zucchini
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Courgette comes from the French word for the vegetable. It's the diminutive of courge, which refers to a gourde. And zucchini comes from the Italian word, zucchino.
Swede = Rutabaga
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The British word for rutabaga refers to its Swedish roots. The Swedes introduced this plant to the UK in the 1700s and the Brits named it after them. Rutabaga is taken directly from the Swedish word, rotabagge.
Aubergine = Eggplant
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When it comes to eggplant, the Brits turned to the French for its name.
Coriander = Cilantro
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Coriander the herb is not to be confused with the spice. Just remember that.
Rocket = Arugula
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We might just start using the UK word for arugula because it's a lot more fun to say. It's not pronounced the same way you would a rocket ship; the stress is on the second half of the syllable, Roc-KET.
Salad Onion = Scallion
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Salad onion makes sense, because yes, scallions taste great on salads. But they're also good on soup, baked potatoes, etc. Just sayin'.
Greengages = Green Plums
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We would have never, ever figured this one out on our own. Thanks Google.
Maize = Corn
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The word maize comes from the Spanish form of the indigenous Taíno word for the plant, maiz. As to where the word "corn" came from, that has even deeper roots.
Beetroot = Beet
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Okay, this one is not hard to figure out. But still, we thought you should know.
Marrow = Summer Squash
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Stateside marrow usually refers to BONE marrow, but in the UK it's a lot more vegetarian-friendly. And, they win prizes for having big, beautiful ones too.

Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.

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