Wednesday, December 2, 2009

American/Canadian Dictionary Part Deux

It's already happened twice and we've only been down here in Mesa for about five weeks. What the heck am I talking about? The differences between Americans and Canadians. We look alike, we walk alike, but we sure don't talk alike! You may want to refresh your memory by rereading my post here. In a nutshell, most of the people we hang around with here in the park are from Canada. Every year I learn a new word or two from our neighbors north of us.

Recently a friend of mine from back in Illinois called and asked me to try and find a toy called a "Zhu Zhu Pet". It seems that they are the latest craze, and are of course, all sold out everywhere. They are on all the kids' wish lists, my friend's granddaughter's included. I told her that I'd look for the item down here. My Canadian friend, Lenore, mentioned to me that she was going to Walmart, so I relayed the information about the toy. I spelled it out for her. We continued talking; then upon departing Lenore said, "Okay, so it's spelled 'Zed-h-u Zed-h-u'".

I looked at her totally baffled and said, "HUH?"

Lenore laughed and replied, "Oh, that's right! YOU say 'ZEE' and WE say 'ZED'".

I see. But they don't say "ZEDBRA". They say "ZEBRA". Go figure. Anyway, I guess there are two schools of thought on how to teach the kids in school to say their abc's. Some schools say the letter "zee"; others say "zed". Now you know.

Not only have there been word differences between the two countries; but also food. For instance, chili. A group of us women were talking one day and one asked me, "What do you eat with your chili?"

"What do you mean? We eat ours in a bowl."

She replied. "We serve our chili over rice."

What? Why? I did ask other Canadians, and that seemed to be more of a Western Canadian tradition. As far as I know, Americans eat their chili in a bowl,

photo courtesy of food porn

unless they're spreading it over a hot dog or something!

photo courtesy of keithaque

So last night we were invited over to Pat and Bob's place. Pat told me earlier that she had made turkey soup and "matrimonial cake" for dessert.

All of us Americans drew a blank.

"You don't know what matrimonial cake is?" Pat asked increduously.

"No," I admitted.

Pat turned to Vivian and said to her, "THEY don't know what matrimonial cake is!"

"Well, what IS it?" Norma asked.

Pat described the ingredients, which included dates, oats, and flour.

"Oh," Norma said. "Date bars."

"No. It's a cake."

Whatever. It's made in a pan, you cut it into squares, or bars. Call it what you want. It's very popular in Canada.

Printed from COOKS.COM

1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. butter
1 tsp. soda
Grated rind of 1 lemon

Mix ingredients as for pie. Put half of mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 9 inch baking pan. Spread with date filling. Put remaining crumb mixture over date filling, pressing it down lightly.


1 1/2 c. dates, chopped fine
1/4 c. brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Enough water to cover dates

Bring to boil; simmer until thick and of spreading consistency. Cool before spreading on cake. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

While looking up recipes for matrimonial cake, I stumbled across this site. It's called Canadian Cuisine. It has everything you've ever wanted to know about Canadian food. So whenever one of my friends mentions something I never heard of, I now have a source I can turn to! But I don't care what they say. I am NOT going to eat Poutine: fries, curds and gravy.

And last, but certainly not least, who wouldn't want to munch on some pets de soeurs? The name literally translated means nuns' farts . They are also called Old Women Bellybuttons. It is pastry dough wrapped around a brown sugar and cream filling.

Pets De Soeurs


3c Flour
2tb Baking powder
1ts -Salt
1ts Sugar
0.5c Lard
½ to ¾ cups Milk


2tb Butter; softened
1c Brown sugar
1ts Cinnamon
1c –Water

Sift the dry ingredients together. Blend in the lard to form a coarse mixture. Gradually add the milk until a soft dough is formed. Roll the dough until it is fairly thin, although it should be thicker than a regular pie crust. Butter the dough with soft butter, cover with 1/4 inch of brown sugar and sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll and slice into circles about 1/2 inch thick. Pour water into a casserole dish. Put the sliced dough into the casserole and bake at 375F for about 30 minutes or until the pets de soeur are golden brown.

I need to rest now. All this CSL (Canadian as a Second Language) is giving me a headache. I'm going to dream about matrimonial cakes, nuns farts, and old women's bellybuttons. Good night and God Bless.


Pat said...

I see that my link didn't work for my other posting on Canadian-speak. It's dated July 4, 2009. Here's the link:

Fairy Footprints said...

Oh my gosh I am hungry right now all this food, I would eat chilli any way anyone would want to serve it to me I am dieting and man would I love to have some, chilli over rice sounds great, chilli in a bowl sounds great, and chilli dogs woohoo you had me at hello.

I love the post

.•:*¨¨*:•.Blessings*¨2 U 4¨**¨¨*the holidays .•:*¨¨*:•.


Fairy Footprints said...

Oh my gosh I am hungry right now all this food, I would eat chilli any way anyone would want to serve it to me I am dieting and man would I love to have some, chilli over rice sounds great, chilli in a bowl sounds great, and chilli dogs woohoo you had me at hello.

I love the post

.•:*¨¨*:•.Blessings*¨2 U 4¨**¨¨*the holidays .•:*¨¨*:•.


Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Okay Pat, bone fide Canadian here! :-)

The only thing I have in common with the Canadians you hang out with is that I call zees, zeds.

Never heard of matrimonial cake - what a gyp that would be to serve that as your wedding cake. We call them date squares.

Those pet de soeurs (which I have not heard of and I live in Quebec) we call cinnamon buns, but perhaps that is what French Canadians call them as slang.

I eat my chili in a bowl and have never had it over rice - nor have I ever seen it served that way in a Canadian restaurant.

I think some of it is due to regional speak and perhaps I am unfamiliar with those expressions and habits because they are from out West.

You forgot to talk about the weird way we say about, or roof!! Maybe you did in your past post.

One you missed always trips me up. In restaurants in the US if I ask for an extra serviette, I get a very strange look from the waiter or waitress. You call them napkins, right. Here feminine hygiene products are called sanitary napkins, so I would never ask for a napkin. Whereas, I think it is the opposite down there.

Oh well, variety and diversity are good for us, n'est ce pas?

SquirrelQueen said...

I guess I lived in Alaska long enough to pick up Zed but I've never heard of Matrimonial Cake. Same for pets de soeurs! I have eaten chili over rice and it is very good but over corn bread is best (Southern style).

I'm really hungry now, too much talk of food.

Betty said...

Love tthese. Sound delicious. I love chilli.
Hope you have a happy start to the Xmas season, Pat.

wenn said...

wow..delicious food..

Rae said...

Yummy & looks so good. Your story reminds me of an incident my friend had while in Canada. While at a restaurant she asked the waiter for a napkin. He looked aghast. Apparently napkins in Canada refer to women's sanitary products. In Canada you ask for a serviette to wipe your face. Go figure! Glad he didn't bring the other one to the table.

Lindy MacDuff said...

Another fun and interesting post!

All this talk of chili and that's what I'm cooking tonight. =)
Have you ever had chili 3-way or chili 5-way from Steak n Shake restaurant? The 3-way is spaghetti topped with chili, extra chili beef, and a special chili sauce. The 5-way is the same with the addition of diced onions and shredded cheddar and jack cheeses. Oh, served on a plate, not in a bowl.

I agree with Squirrel Queen, chili served over cornbread is best!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

And a rose by any other name.....

I have served chili over rice to stretch it when unexpeced gueats have shown up. Drew will eat anything over rice. He likes beef stew over rice. Rice is a staple in the south and we use it to strech many a meal.

But back to the curds and fries with gravy.....What? I love cheese curds, is that what the curds are. And why would you pour gravy over it?

WhisperingWriter said...

Oh yes, chili belongs in a bowl. That way you can put cheese on top of it and dip cornbread in it. I want some chili..

Brian Miller said...

i will eat my chili anywhere you put it...

we went to a place in NC and they served a side of brown gravy with our loaded fries...because there obviously was not enough good stuff in there was pretty good. curds though...

Valerie said...

Ooo Pat, we say ZED here. Aren't languages fascinating. Most of us have chili on rice, but it doesn't matter how it's served so long as it's served. Never heard of matrimonial cake before.

otin said...

I like chili on rice. I eat that sometimes. I am not canadian! lol

Snowflake said...

How about Nanaimo Bars? It's a favorite "dainty" at all the wedding and funeral lunches. And don't forget perogie pizza....served at Boston Pizza, a Canadian-based restaurant chain.

Gail said...

A feast for royalty!