Tag Archives: tea

1111. A gidday and a cheerio

Gidday. As some of you know, when it comes to a significant number, in this case Story 1111, I like to depart a little from the usual. However, I hope there is something here of interest.

I am a New Zealander, but lived, studied, and worked for some time in North America, namely Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Quebec. I don’t know much about what happens in other places, but there is a presumption that some words mean the same when in fact they don’t! We might read each other’s writings and presume we know what is meant by certain words. This posting will give a few examples.

1. Tea and Supper
Visitors to New Zealand from North America get caught out. Someone might say: “Tea is at 5.30 and we have supper about 9.30”. The guests can’t believe how much is devoured at 5.30. They politely nibble and await 9.30 for supper. Supper time comes and it’s a cup of tea! Tea is the main evening meal. Supper is a cup of tea or milk chocolate or even a wee nip of brandy or whatever before bed. A lot of New Zealanders would think that “The Last Supper” would not be a meal.

2. Rooting
One hears an American cheerleader declare that she is “rooting for the team”. “Rooting” in New Zealand is the colloquial expression for “having sex”.

3. Boots and Bonnets
In New Zealand:

A car’s trunk is a boot.
A car’s hood is a bonnet.
Gas is petrol.
A service station or a gas station is a petrol station.
Swiss chard is silver beet.
Rutabaga is swede.
A crib is a bassinet.
A diaper is a nappy.
A speed bump is a judder bar.
A rectory is a presbytery.
Ground meat is mince.
A chicken is a chook.
A bell pepper is a capsicum.
American football is gridiron.
Field hockey is hockey. Ice hockey is “ice hockey” and never simply “hockey”.
Rugby is football.
Football is soccer.
A woollen pullover is a jersey.
If you’re pissed off, you’re annoyed; if you’re pissed, you’re drunk.
French fries are chips.
Chips are chippies. A chippy is not a bimbo! A chippy is not a fish and chip shop! A chippy, if not edible, is a carpenter!
A baguette is a French roll. And on that note, most donuts and bagels made in New Zealand are horrible. Most donuts and bagels made in the States are to die for!
A dumpster is a skip.
Jello is jelly.

4. No and Yes
When I was in Boston I was known as the person who said “No” for “Yes”, and “Yes” for “No”.

Supposing I was dining at someone’s place in Boston:

Host: Would you like some more?
Me: Thanks.

And they would take my plate away because they took it to mean “No thanks”. Generally speaking, I found Americans say “Please” if they want a second helping. New Zealanders always say “Thanks” for more and “No thanks” for no more.

5. You’re welcome
The expression “You’re welcome” is creeping into New Zealand parlance. The more common (and older) expression in response to a person’s thanks is “No worries”:

“Thanks for doing the dishes.”
“No worries.”

Ending a phone call was always a bother for me when in America:

Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.
Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.
Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.
Me: Thanks.
American: You’re welcome.

In the end I would hang up feeling uncomfortable, because “Thanks” in New Zealand acts as an ending. I never realised this until I got stuck on the phone!

6. Gidday and Cheerio.
“Cheerio” for “goodbye” is disappearing I think, but “Gidday” is still here! When I was in Boston everyone would say “Cheerio” to me with a slight plum in their accent! They were taking the mickey out of me because I grew up with “Cheerio” as an expression for “See you later!”

When I was a kid, “Hi!” was regarded as very American; sort of in the same ilk as “Howdy”. Then “Hi!” took over the world!

7. Cheers and Have a nice day.
These are expressions I never grew up with and am uncomfortable with them to this day! Cheers! was used as a toast before an alcoholic drink and that’s okay; now “cheers” seems to have the added connotation of “thanks” or “goodbye”.

What I don’t like about “Have a nice day” is the word “nice”. Nice is such a below average concept. If I say something is “nice” I really mean it is horrible but I’m being polite. “Quite nice” is even worse.

8. Salad and Main
When I first landed in LA, everything was exciting. I was on my own and hungry. I found a place to eat and ordered. The waitress asked if I wanted a salad. I said yes. The salad came out, and I waited and waited for my meal to arrive. In the end I ate the salad and then the meal came out. In New Zealand we pile the salad onto the plate with everything else. Sometimes the salad is in a separate dish but only if you want to have “a touch of class”. It’s not eaten first or separately. The first time I saw salad in a separate dish was at a restaurant with my elderly mother. She said, “How are meant to eat this politely?”

An entrée is served before the main course. It is not the main course.

 

9. Bills and checks
In America in a restaurant one asks for the check and pays with a bill. In New Zealand one asks for the bill and pays with a cheque. Of course these days one just waves a bank card!

10. Tipping
In New Zealand there is no tipping. In the United States, I would worry the whole time, trying to work out how much to tip – getting a haircut, eating a meal… In New Zealand, the tip is included in the bill (oops! check). So don’t pay twice!

11. Cookies and biscuits
The term “cookie” is not used in New Zealand. It’s called a biscuit. In North Carolina, say in Taco Bell, a biscuit was some sort of bread, shaped like a scone. I said, “I’m sorry but I ordered a biscuit and not a scone”.

 

 

12. Eftpos
Since the late 80s New Zealanders have paid by Eftpos (Electronic funds transfer at point of sale). Cash can still be used if you have any. Some parts of the world still use the EFTPOS system sparingly, but here it covers the entire country. I haven’t used cash money for maybe ten years. I think a different word other than Eftpos is used in some places overseas, but I don’t know what it is. In New Zealand everyone calls it eftpos.

13. Cornmeal, cornflour and corn starch
These days I get muddled with these terms. There was a time when I knew… Cornflour in New Zealand is the fine stuff, so if you’re in the Americas and using a New Zealand/Australian recipe to make a pavlova, then use the corn stuff you might use to thicken gravy!

Conversely, if you’re in New Zealand and making something from an American recipe, don’t presume that all cornmeal is the coarse stuff. If you’re in New Zealand and the recipe calls for corn starch, use cornflour!

14. Knives and forks
Until I went to America I’d never used a fork politely in my right hand. If as kids we used the fork bent upwards we would be told to stop shovelling the food. No! The fork was held in the left hand, the knife in the right. The fork was bent down which made it almost impossible to eat peas! We still usually use the knife and fork this way.

15. Pumpkin
Pumpkin is a vegetable, along with potatoes and so on. Pumpkin pie is beginning to creep in, but more as a novelty and a slightly exotic foreign thing to do. Most of my family wouldn’t touch pumpkin pie: “Yuk! It’s a vegetable!” Personally I love it!

In the long run, no one gives a hoot – the world has grown so small. But these are some of the words and phrases and doings that I have come across that lend confusion to our wonderful world. It’s probably enough until Story 2222.

Have a nice day! And cheerio for now!

1027. Early morning cup of tea

1027kettle

Arnold had no idea when he got out of bed that he’d be electrocuted by the toaster that very morning.

His early mornings always followed the same pattern: rise at twenty minutes passed six, fill the kettle with water and place it on an element on the stove top (it wasn’t one of those automatic turn-off kettles; it was an old-fashioned kettle that whistled when it was time to take it off the heat source), put four slices of bread in the toaster, and pour a little bit of milk into one of the two cups.

Arnold’s wife, Janet, always stayed in bed until a few minutes after the kettle whistled. She would leave just enough time for the tea to draw and the toast to toast. Arnold, for forty-eight years, had always called out the same questions from the kitchen to the bedroom:

“How many slices of toast do you want, dear?”

“Two as usual, thanks dear.”

“What do you want on the toast, dear?”

“Honey as usual, dear.”

Janet snuggled up in the warm bed for the few remaining minutes. She would stay there for a little longer than usual.

The kettle whistled, and whistled. And whistled…

889. Teabag

889teabag

Well, we have finally met Mr and Mrs Fawcett. We were invited for morning tea. Quite frankly there were a number of things we found disturbing.

Mrs Fawcett, I cannot bring myself to call her Edna, especially after having met her just the once, made the tea using teabags. It’s a process I don’t overly mind, especially if one is in a hurry; and we were in a hurry given what I have to tell you next. We couldn’t wait to drink our tea and leave.

She put the milk in with the teabag. I can think of little else so disgusting. Milk in the cup with the tea bag! After which boiling water was added. But, for that brief moment, when milk sits at the bottom of the cup with the teabag in a sort of brown gunk! Yuck! None of our children were brought up to do that, unlike the children of Mr and Mrs Fawcett. It’s all most unacceptable. And all served in Duralex tempered glass cups!

Mrs Fawcett couldn’t stop talking; talk, talk, talk about nothing. That was when your father had this inspired thought: it’s almost impossible to turn a Fawcett off! He was just thinking about it, and he snorted his tea all over their formica-topped table! It’s almost impossible to turn a Fawcett off! It was hilarious! Hilarious!

So dear, to cut to the chase, your father and I forbid you to marry into that family, and as far as we’re concerned the engagement is off.

228. Connoisseur of fine tea

228finetea

Eduard was a connoisseur of fine tea. And he had a terrible laugh.

“I know a good tea when I sip one,” said Eduard to his friend, Esperanza. “Haw! Haw! Haw!”

In fact, Eduard drank only the one brand of tea. “I drink only Buckinghamshire Tea. It’s more expensive but it’s worth every leaf. It’s a strong tea, but it doesn’t go tart as it ages in the teapot. Haw! Haw! Haw!”

It was not impossible to construe that, when it came to tea, Eduard was a yawn. “Haw! Haw! Haw! Teabags! Good lord! Who would ever use teabags but peasants? And to make it in a cup and not in a teapot? Egad! Haw! Haw! Haw! And not serve it in bone china cups! With a saucer!”

Esperanza had invited Eduard around to her place for afternoon tea. It was sort of a date without being a date. It was too casual for a date; let’s just call it a cup of tea. She had promised to serve Buckinghamshire Tea. “It’s not just the taste, it’s the texture! It’s the aftertaste! Tea is like a fine wine! Haw! Haw! Haw!”

Esperanza served the tea. “It’s a ritual. Serving tea is an ancient rite. Of course, if one’s having sugar (spare the thought), one should use sugar cubes, with a pair of tongs. Silver preferably.”

“You see,” spouted Eduard, “how different it is? It’s all a question of quality: finest hand-picked buds, whole tea leaves; the time of year and growing conditions; when all these factors are taken into account, the tea retains its flavours and characteristics. Haw! Haw! Haw!”

I know (Dear Reader) that you already suspect that Esperanza served ordinary supermarket tea using ordinary supermarket teabags. You would be quite wrong. She purchased and used loose-leaf Buckinghamshire Tea specially. But she decided, during this occasion, that Eduard was a boring old fart.