Food-related misnomers
February 3, 2018 5:01 PM   Subscribe

What are some examples of food-related misnomers? For example, the infamous "Rocky Mountain Oysters" obviously have nothing to do with oysters, while a "Boston Cooler" is from Michigan, not Boston. Even restaurant names are welcome, like Boston/Boston's Pizza, which is not available anywhere near Boston.
posted by Seeking Direction to Food & Drink (76 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Danishes do not come from Denmark. In the Danish language, they are called "Vienna Bread". (I don't know if they actually come from Vienna, either).
posted by lollusc at 5:04 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


Oops, forgot to mention - they don't necessarily have to be geographical; stuff like "Welsh Rabbit" (made of cheese, not rabbit meat) is welcome, too.
posted by Seeking Direction at 5:05 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


French fries and french toast

Strawberries aren't berries

Jerusalem artichokes are from americas

Canadian bacon is from Canada

White chocolate isnt chocolate
posted by beccaj at 5:05 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Lots of mincemeat pies and tarts are vegetarian. Cf. sweetmeats.
posted by Beardman at 5:07 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Cf. sweetmeats.

Whereas sweetbreads are definitely not bread.
posted by basalganglia at 5:10 PM on February 3, 2018 [11 favorites]


Sweetbread - not sweet, and really really really not bread.
posted by ftm at 5:11 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Turkey has got to be one of the ultimates. In the US the bird is named 'Turkey' related to... Turkey the country. In Turkey it's the 'Indian Bird.' In India it's 'Peru.' In Arabic it's 'Greek'

and so on, and so on!
posted by Caravantea at 5:12 PM on February 3, 2018 [10 favorites]


Oh! And Buffalo wings are from the city, not the animal!
posted by Caravantea at 5:12 PM on February 3, 2018 [8 favorites]


Deep dish pizza, (that's actually an above ground maranara swimming pool for rats).
posted by raztaj at 5:14 PM on February 3, 2018 [12 favorites]


Boston cream pie is cake.
posted by brujita at 5:16 PM on February 3, 2018 [7 favorites]


German chocolate cake is not a misnomer, but it is often misunderstood. It was named for a person, Sam German, not a country of origin.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 5:21 PM on February 3, 2018 [13 favorites]


Most likely the Michigan hot dog. The Persian has nothing to do with Persians.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:21 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Laverbread (from the Welsh bara lafwr or bara lawr) isn't bread (bara) but a sort of pureed seaweed.
posted by humph at 5:22 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


An egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:24 PM on February 3, 2018 [11 favorites]


Head cheese
Apple butter
Lady fingers
Black pudding
Chess pie
posted by Ideefixe at 5:32 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


It must be weird for a non-native English speaker to walk into a bakery and see bear claws and elephant ears.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:45 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


And Buffalo wings are from the city, not the animal!

And people from the Buffalo area just call them "wings." You can have wings or beef on weck.

There are no pearls in a prairie oyster.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:55 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Manhattan clam chowder originated in Rhode Island, a place where a cabinet does not involve furniture.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:59 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


Kind of a stretch but I've visited many a Western-US pizza parlor labeled "New York Pizza" whose purveyors have clearly never actually tasted New York pizza.
posted by Rash at 5:59 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


It must be weird for a non-native English speaker to walk into a bakery and see bear claws

My sister and I once saw a convenience store clerk yelling at someone who reached into the doughnut case with his bare hand. Later, my sister said, "He should have said 'Keep your bare claws off the bear claws!'"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:59 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


Don't build a bridge from concrete in St Louis
posted by moonmilk at 6:03 PM on February 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


White chocolate contains no chocolate.

(I love this thread!)
posted by mochapickle at 6:09 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Peanuts aren't nuts, but legumes.
posted by velveeta underground at 6:10 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


In addition to not being from Jerusalem, Jerusalem artichokes are not actually artichokes, they're part of the sunflower family, the name is from italian - gira sole - meaning turns with the sun.
posted by smoke at 6:14 PM on February 3, 2018 [8 favorites]


Which is hilarious because in Italy we call Jerusalem artichokes “topinambur”. And “German turnip”. Annnnnd “Canadian sunflower”.

(And “Jerusalem Artichokes” so the translation must have looped back around at some point).
posted by lydhre at 6:20 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


A Great Lakes-area passed-down-through-the-generations recipe is city chicken - I've never had it made with chicken, usually it's pork.
posted by Merinda at 6:27 PM on February 3, 2018 [5 favorites]


There are probably reasons that cheesecake and doughnuts have the names they do, and maybe someone here can explain it, but on the surface, neither name makes sense.
posted by FencingGal at 6:32 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


I am confused.... It's a cake, made primarily of cheese? amitakingcrazypills.gif

Japanese okonomiyaki is often referred to as "Japanese pizza" - it bears no resemblance to pizza beyond being flat and circular and is more like a crepe or pancake.

Egg rolls typically do not have egg in or on them, though they may have once.
posted by smoke at 6:46 PM on February 3, 2018 [6 favorites]


Dough noughts became nuts at some point, I donut know why.
posted by Westringia F. at 6:47 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


lake trout, which is not trout and not even from a lake, as explained by preeminent etymologist Bunk.
posted by skewed at 7:18 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


How about a Hot Dog?

I read recently in an in-flight magazine that the reason we call these sausages dogs is because the Germans who created them in the Middle Ages sometimes used a mixture of pork and canine.
posted by Rash at 7:29 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


It's a trademarked name, but wtf Grape Nuts.
posted by workerant at 7:31 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


Sweet potatoes aren't potatoes.
Ground cherries aren't cherries.
Hamburgers are made of beef.
Sea beans aren't beans. They aren't asparagus either.
Buddha's hands aren't, well, you know.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:42 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


An egg cream contains neither egg nor cream.

/lindarichmanvoice
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:57 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]




Sugar plums sound like they would be candied plums, but they’re not.
posted by clavicle at 8:17 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Bavarian Cream/Crème Bavaroise is of French, not Bavarian, origin.
posted by The Toad at 8:26 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Coney dog is a Michigan invention, and you will never find one on actual Coney Island.
posted by Andrhia at 8:45 PM on February 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


St. Paul Sandwich.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:54 PM on February 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


The cheese part of the name is fine, but cheesecake has more in common with a custard pie than a cake.
posted by Aleyn at 9:33 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]


The Francesinha was invented in Portugal, not France.

The Kiwi Burger does not contain fruit or rare flightless birds.

Perhaps marginal, but a lot of fast foods restaurants in the UK and also New Zealand use American names, such as Tennessee, Kansas etc Fried Chicken, or Burger Wisconsin in New Zealand (my Wisconsinite friends confirm that nothing in it suggests Wisconsin in any way).
posted by Pink Frost at 11:16 PM on February 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


If you go to Singapore or Malaysia and look for carrot cake, you will find neither carrot or cake: it's primarily made up of fried chunks of some kind of steamed...thing (pastry isn't the right word, nor is dumpling) made up of rice flour and radish.

In the same region, the American chain Church's Chicken is called Texas Chicken, probably so as to not get into trouble with particular religious authorities.

Dagwood dogs in Australia aren't dogs and have nothing to do with Dagwood the comic character; they're more like corn dogs.

Pineapples are neither pines nor apples.
posted by divabat at 12:40 AM on February 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


Dutch ovens with legs, the kind that people use for camping, aren't really a thing in the Netherlands. If someone has one here, it's probably imported from the US.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:39 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Toad in the hole
Spotted dick
Scotch woodcock
Pontefract cake
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:47 AM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Rock salmon is a UK fish and chip shop euphemism to make dogfish sound more upmarket.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:54 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


i.e. it’s a kind of small shark and not at all related to salmon.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:56 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Bombay duck is a fish.
Yorkshire pudding, black pudding and white pudding are most definitely not desserts.
posted by Vortisaur at 2:38 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Coney Island whitefish. Not necessarily from Coney Island, and definitely not a type of fish.
posted by dancinglamb at 4:50 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Cincinnati-style chili isn't chili in the sense that people expect. It's a delicious meat sauce, but people expect chili to be a spicy tomatoes-and-beans standalone soup. I maintain that people would not malign the taste of Cincinnati-style chili if it were instead called "meat sauce".
posted by kevinbelt at 5:06 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Chicken fried steak?
posted by h00py at 5:44 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


The Coney dog is a Michigan invention, and you will never find one on actual Coney Island.

Coney Island whitefish. Not necessarily from Coney Island, and definitely not a type of fish.


And neither one is made from coneys.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:20 AM on February 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


Dutch oven is probably one of the many slurs against the Dutch still pretty common in English (Dutch courage is bravery induced by alcohol, Dutch treat is splitting expenses, Dutch uncle is someone who makes severe, harsh comments - unlike the usual meaning of avuncular, Dutch wife is a prostitute). Per Wikipedia, these originated during the Anglo-Dutch wars in the 17th century and gained prominence in 17th century New England during its rivalry with New Netherland.
posted by FencingGal at 7:26 AM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Dagwood dogs in Australia aren't dogs and have nothing to do with Dagwood the comic character; they're more like corn dogs.

Also known as Pluto Pups. (I did a Dagwood Dog deep dive a while ago.)

Also in antipodean culinary misnomers, a Chicken Maryland is a butcher's cut for a whole leg consisting of the thigh and drumstick.

Dutch oven is probably one of the many slurs

It's more likely that the derivation is cast metal oven made using Dutch style sand casting.

Yorkshire pudding, black pudding and white pudding are most definitely not desserts.

Yet they are puddings, which cannot be said of American pudding.
posted by zamboni at 7:56 AM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


The Beef Manhattan was invented in Indianapolis.
posted by Nedroid at 7:59 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also in that vein, American biscuits and gravy are scones covered with bechamel sauce with stuff in it.
posted by zamboni at 8:01 AM on February 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


Acadians (French Canadians from the East coast of Canada) have a stew called Fricot a la belette, which is literally, Weasel stew. There is no weasel in the stew, it's a meatless stew, but it is called this because either the weasel stole the meat or that the cook was sly as a weasel for leaving the meat out of the stew.

Another Canadian French dish we have is a Shepherd's Pie / Cottage Pie / Hachis Parmentier like dish called Pâté chinois which means Chinese Pie (which is neither a pie nor from any recognizable Chinese culture). We also have cigares au chou, Cabbage Cigars, which are just cabbage rolls and you wouldn't want to store them in a humidor.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:55 AM on February 4, 2018 [5 favorites]


American Chop Suey/Goulash!
posted by ifjuly at 9:14 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Some examples from Hong Kong:

Pineapple buns contain no pineapple
Mexico buns are definitely not Mexican
Singapore noodles are not from Singapore
posted by btfreek at 9:42 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Egg rolls typically do not have egg in or on them, though they may have once.

And spring rolls don't have springs in them, and are available all year round, like chicken fingers.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:45 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


New York Fries, which are actually a Canadian chain.
posted by tickingclock at 2:18 PM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]


Langues de chat are not made out of cats' tongues. I don't even think they look much like them.

Similar to the Kiwi burger mentioned above, Aussie burgers are not made out of Australians. Or even kangaroo.

Eggplant doesn't grow from eggs, nor do they look like eggs. But apparently once they did.

And Philly cheese steaks are definitely not made with Philly cream cheese, something I have had to explain to Australians. Including an expat (from California) who yonks ago ran an American-style restaurant in Melbourne and looked singularly unimpressed when I informed him of this fact.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:54 PM on February 4, 2018 [3 favorites]


I remember being very confused when I heard about American chilli and how there's no chilli peppers in it.

To continue on the Dutch trail, turkeys in Malay are known as 'ayam Belanda' - Dutch chicken.
posted by divabat at 3:44 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Speaking of Philadelphia cream cheese, it originally came from New York - though it is apparently named after Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
posted by moonmilk at 4:28 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Apparently Singapore noodles don't come from Singapore...
posted by zadcat at 5:32 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


There are a lot of ways to make refried beans, but none involve frying twice. It's a poor translation of frijoles refritos.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:59 PM on February 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


If you order fish and chips in Australia, especially at cheaper places, there's a reasonable chance that it will be shark. Which is technically a fish. However, it isn't Kosher. This has caught out a couple of Jewish friends.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 8:51 PM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Wienerschnitzel does not have Wiener Schnitzel on the menu.
posted by wachhundfisch at 6:32 AM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


Scotch eggs are not from Scotland.
Deviled eggs are not made by the devil.
posted by Grither at 7:49 AM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


We don't eat Amerikaners, the Danish ice cream cone, in America.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:18 PM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


A note on 'pudding' - pudden can still be heard as a dialect word in Northeast uk meaning guts, insides (as heard, kid stamping on an insect: Come look at it's puddens.) Hence what's poured into a gut casing before being cooked, like for instance blood, fat and grain: black pudding. Leading to any slurry poured into a cloth for cooking: pudding. Leading to suet pudding. Steak and kidney pudding. Leading to that method of cooking being used more commonly for deserts, ending up with the uk usage of 'pudding' to mean desert generally. /derail.

Garden eggs have never seen the bottom of a chicken.
posted by glasseyes at 2:45 PM on February 5, 2018 [3 favorites]


Deviled eggs are not made by the devil.

Unlike deviled ham, which has his picture right on the can.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:59 PM on February 5, 2018 [6 favorites]


I remember being very confused when I heard about American chilli and how there's no chilli peppers in it.

Er, what do you think chili powder is made from? (Also plenty of chili recipes have diced chilies in them, though it's not universal.)
posted by Aleyn at 10:04 AM on February 6, 2018 [3 favorites]


When visiting Australia, you might like to meet one of our famous spiders.
posted by brushtailedphascogale at 11:28 PM on February 6, 2018 [2 favorites]


Aleyn: when I hear “chili” I think just the peppers or like a chili sauce, not a whole beans-and-meat scenario!
posted by divabat at 2:11 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]


Oh how about what Americans call Canadian Bacon. Canadians have back bacon, which is usually a wet cured, uncooked, and usually unsmoked (though you can get it smoked) pork loin with a bit of the belly and presented as is (it looks like a pork loin) but in the U.S. it is usually smoked, cooked and put into a cylindrical shape and thickly sliced. Made out of the same part of the pig just processed differently.
posted by Ashwagandha at 5:20 PM on February 7, 2018 [1 favorite]




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