Sunday, March 22, 2015

An Eggplant by Any Other Name


Aubergene. Courgette. Capsicum. Sultana.

No, I’m not speaking in foreign tongue, unless you consider New Zealand’s spin on English to be one. The aforementioned words are simply other names for foods, which led to substantial confusion during grocery trips especially during my time in New Zealand. 

Let me translate for those of you still scratching your heads (if you are still scratching them after my explanation, you may need to invest in some Head & Shoulders). Aubergene is another word for eggplant, courgette is the same as zucchini, capsicum is a pepper, and a sultana is a raisin (technically, a raisin that started as a sultana grape, because apparently you need to differentiate between raisin varieties). 

Capsicum? Pepper? WHO ARE YOU?

It took me awhile to adjust to this. When I went to Subway in New Zealand (yes, I went to a Subway in New Zealand, don't judge), I had to adjust to saying "capsicum" when they asked me "what salads I would like" (in this instance, "salads" means veggies). I also had to adjust to saying "beetroot" instead of just "beet," because New Zealanders have decided that they don't want to abbreviate the name of the vegetable. 


The one that frustrated me the most made a trip to the grocery store feel more like a wild goose chase, as the saying goes. I needed cilantro for a Mexican cooking endeavor planned for that evening. Simple, right? I began to scour the shelves in the produce section, but it was all for naught. So, I decided after my fruitless searching and a mere shrug from a grocery store employee that I'd settle, though not without some complaining, for dried cilantro. Once again, no luck. I would not be defeated! I refused to leave the store cilantro-less. 

Therefore, I headed back to the produce aisle. I stared at every ounce of the fresh herb section, and I noticed that the "fresh coriander" looked surprisingly similar to cilantro. I squinted and read the tiny description beneath the name, where it informed me that "coriander is also known as cilantro." 

Maybe that is common knowledge, and I just made myself look like an idiot, or maybe it isn't obvious to anyone not from New Zealand, and I just taught you all something. 

Anyways, the trip was successful and I had some delicious cilantro (I mean, coriander) for my fish tacos.

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