Celebrate Canada and Our Quirky Language of Food
Happy Canada Day weekend! It’s a great time to celebrate all those things that make us distinctly Canadian—from wearing shorts in November to our abiding love for old Stompin’ Tom Connors songs.
But there is much to celebrate in our differences, as well. And nowhere is that more evident than in our regional approach to food and eating.
Here are some of our most familiar differences when it comes to eating and drinking across Canada.
Supper VS dinner
In Vancouver and Toronto, the American term “dinner” is used to describe the evening meal. But outside of those two city centres, residents in BC and Southern Ontario sway back and forth between the two options, while the rest of Canada by far prefers the British “supper.”
Cutlery VS utensils VS silverware
While the majority of Western Canada uses “cutlery” to describe a set of forks, knives and spoons, residents of Northern Ontario and Quebec prefer “utensils,” the English version of the French “ustensiles.” This is likely due to the region’s heavy French influence. In Nova Scotia, however, the British “silverware” still reigns supreme.
Pop VS soda VS soft drink
“Pop” may be among the most quintessentially Canadian words, but we don’t all prefer the fizzy soda label equally. According to research, 63 percent of Quebecers surveyed preferred the term “soft drink,” while 20 percent of Manitobans use “soda” and “soft drink” interchangeably.
Chocolate bar VS candy bar
Saying “candy bar” in Canada is a great way to let people know that you’re from away. Nearly everyone here says “chocolate bar.” In the US, however, “candy bar” is the norm.
Pea-can VS pih-kahn
Speaking of our American neighbours, they’re more likely to pronounce pecans as “pih-kahns.” Most Canadians, however, pronounce it to sound like a can of peas, preferring pea-cans over pih-kahns. And yet, in Vancouver, Toronto, and other metropolitan areas with a heavy American influence, the “pih-kahn” is used interchangeably.
Care-a-mel VS carmel
Nearly all Canadians agree that caramel is a three-syllable word, except residents of Cape Breton and Newfoundland, who pronounce the sweet confection like the name “Karmel.”
Originally marketed with the slogan “a meal for four in nine minutes for an everyday price of 19 cents,” Kraft Dinner was eventually rebranded to Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in the US and to Cheesey Pasta in England. And yet, in Canada, the macaroni’s marketing has remained constant for decades, allowing the infamous “Kraft Dinner” to become a stand-in for all dishes involving macaroni and cheese.
Staying on the Canadian slang train, a “mickey” is used unanimously to refer to a 375-ml bottle of hard liquor throughout Canada. But it doesn’t translate well south of the border, where the term “mickey” or “Mickey Finn” is used most frequently as slang to refer to a drug slipped into a drink.
Napkin VS serviette
Both napkin and serviette may technically mean the same thing, but most Canadians use “serviette” to refer to a disposable paper napkin, while napkin is the catchall term for both cloth and paper towels.
Frosting VS icing
The Williams-Sonoma cookbook Cake defines icing as being “thinner and glossier,” while frosting is “a thick, fluffy mixture, used to coat the outside of a cake.” And yet, in Canada, the two terms take on a different meaning entirely. We use frosting to ice cakes, but the sugary topping transforms into icing once it’s on a cake.
Source: The National Post
12 Distinctly Canadian Foods
1. Butter tarts
4. Ketchup chips
5. Pink cream soda
7. Nanaimo bars
8. Bagged milk
9. Jos Louis
10. Coffee Crisp
12. Bloody Caesars