I’ve been blessed to have traveled to all fifty states in the USA and over twenty foreign countries. All of these place have their own cultures, which often includes different kinds of food. Here is a photo of some delicious Spaetzle, a dish popular in Germany and Austria. You’ll also notice an empty bottle of diet coke. Diet drinks are much more expensive in Europe than they are in the US. They are not as popular there either.
I have also lived in eleven different states and found even in the USA that we have cultural differences from region to region. I grew up in South Dakota and Montana. Coke or any carbonated beverage was pop, but as I moved around the country I learned that some folks call it soda, a soft drink or tonic, and some call all of it coke. When we lived in the south, sweet tea was often the beverage of choice. One of my daughters still loves sweet tea. I’m not fan.
When we moved from Georgia to Massachusetts, I learned that my pop was tonic, water fountains were called bubblers and wicked meant very. As I moved from place to place, I also learned that people refer to roads in different ways. Very often folks in Southern California put “the” before the number of the highway. They would refer to interstate 5 as “the 5.” When I lived in Chicago, they had names for the interstates such as the Kennedy or the Eisenhower. I could never remember which name went with which interstate. I wanted to say, “Just give me a number so I know where I’m going.”
When I graduated from college, I got my first teaching job near Cincinnati, Ohio. They have some special saying in Cincinnati. Instead of saying “pardon me” or “what did you say?”, folks from Cincinnati say, “please?” They talk about 3-way, 4-way or 5-way chili. Sub sandwiches are called hoagies while they are called grinders in Massachusetts. In Cincinnati a pony keg is the corner store.
Where my husband grew up in Illinois, they call tortellini “ravs.” They also fix breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches. My dad’s family was German and came to the US via Russia. They always fixed what we called “rounders” and some folks call “runzas.” They are dough pouches filled with seasoned hamburger and cabbage. Here’s a photo of some I made recently.
I could probably name a dozen other customs, expressions or culinary differences I have seen in different parts of the country, but I don’t want to make this post too long. I like to notice these differences because when writing a book, I want to make sure my characters talk, eat and live like the people who come from the area where the book is set.
What are the special customs or sayings where you live?
I’ll be giving away an e-book of A PLACE TO CALL HOME to one person who leaves a comment. I will draw the name of the winner on January 31, 2016.