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Sunday, February 20, 2005


WARNING: This Post Is Disgusting

I was at the store tonight, buying cheese and caffeine, because that's basically what I live on, and I was stuck for a good three minutes at the register behind a woman who needed a price check. Not something I would normally take the time to write about, but this lady needed a price check on a can of Heinz's Spotted Dick. I found the transaction remarkable for several reasons: First of all, I wasn't aware that anyone in America ate Spotted Dick. Neither was I aware that it was mass-produced in this country. But what really had me cracking up was that the cashier didn't say, "Price check on Spotted Dick." Of course she didn't. She said, "I need a price check on this spotted sponge pudding." If she'd said, "Hey! How much is this Spotted Dick?" people would have thought she was referring to Michael Jackson.

Most Americans don't have clue one what Spotted Dick is, because we name our desserts innocuous things like Angel Food Cake or Jell-O Salad. Brits are just not like us. They like to have slightly more unusual names for their food.

For example:
  • In the U.K., what we refer to as "rice pudding" is called Grandma's Morning mucus.
  • While we might ask for two scoops of ice cream, a Briton would say, "Gimme two Witch's Titties."
  • On Main Street, you're getting a cream puff. On Fleet Street, you'll be having a Festering Boil.
  • What we call an apple turnover, they refer to as Crusty Britches.
  • Over here, donuts are popular; over there, you'd be stopping by Dunkin Puffy Bumhole.
  • At an Atlantic City Boardwalk booth, you might pick up some taffy. At a sweet shop in Dover, you'd be buying Used Condoms.
  • If you're a fan of the Baby Ruth bar, you'll want to try the British version, which is simply called Turd.
Nobody knows when the tradition of naming desserts after disgusting things first began in Britain. One scholar, James T. Chesterton of Oxford, has a theory that British dentists started the practice in the hopes of reducing the amount of sugar in the average Brit's diet and hopefully preventing some of the damage they do to their teeth. While this theory sounds extremely plausible--if ultimately futile--it has not gained universal acceptance.

But whatever the cultural difference between our two countries, I can't wait to go back to London, if only to sample once again my absolute favorite British dessert, Frozen Cup o' Pig Vomit. Mmmmm.

I'm like a 10 year old boy, disgusting things make me giggle.
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