When I was growing up, my mum used to make us ‘fish pie’. My sister and I thought it was wonderfully sophisticated. As an adult, I realised that my mother’s ‘fish pie’ consisted of a tin of tuna covered with mashed potato and browned in the oven. Hardly haute cuisine, and not even strictly a pie. But it was a staple of my childhood, and ‘fish pie’ will always be tinned tuna and mash to me.
We also used to eat ‘scoopers’ as a special dessert. A ‘scooper’ was an orange with the top cut off, enabling us to ‘scoop’ out the flesh with a spoon. It might sound like I had a very deprived childhood (Oooh, an orange for a special dessert! How exciting!) but it wasn’t at all. We just had our own unique language around food.
Now my kids and I have our own food terminology. I didn’t even realise until I began to make a list how many strange names we have for common foods. I imagine most families have their own food language … or at least I hope so, because otherwise we are kind of odd.
AFL noodles - In our household, penne pasta is known as AFL noodles. I have no idea why. Actually, I do have an idea. My son used to think that penne pasta resembled footballs. As he is otherwise a very intelligent child I have always found this a bit strange, as really, penne pasta does not resemble footballs at all. But still, they are AFL noodles now, and they always will be.
Pink Fish – I am so used to calling atlantic salmon ‘Pink Fish’ that I actually write ‘Pink Fish’ on my shopping list, and have been known to ask the fishmonger for a ‘piece of pink fish’. Interestingly, he has never even blinked. I guess salmon is ‘pink fish’ in more families than mine.
Recess Bars - Those strawberry and blueberry Twist things? The ones that are really high in sugar and fat but pretend to be healthy? They are recess bars. Even if they are eaten after school, or (NOT that this would ever happen, except very, very rarely, in emergency cases only) for breakfast. No other flavour is a recess bar. Just them. I'm sure it's perfectly obvious why. (Perhaps not to me, but to you?)
Ultimilk - This is milk with Hershey's topping in it. It began as 'Mum, can you make me the Ultimate Chocolate Milk?', evolved into 'Ultimate Milk' and is now simply 'Ultimilk'. Quik or Milo are not Ultimilk. Only Ultimilk is Ultimilk. Like, OBVIOUSLY.
Nana's Special Meat - Brisket is 'Nana's Special Meat'. Even if I cook it myself it is ‘Nana's Special Meat’ (except then it is 'Nana's Special Meat, but not as good as Nana makes').
Big Boy Cino - When my son was about five he wanted a cup of froth, but felt he was too old for a babycino. My mum in her infinite wisdom ordered him a 'Big Boy Cino' (after a subtle exchange with the waitress). He continued to order them till he was at least ten years old (which meant a lot of subtle words with a lot of waitresses), and then his younger sibling followed suit. Now my six year old asks for ‘Big Boy Cinos’. And she's a girl.
JuiceNoWater - I have always diluted my kids' juice with water, and they know it. So now the six year old asks for ‘JuiceNoWater’. The kid ain't stupid, and she knows it tastes better that way. I don't give it to her (okay, I only give it to her when she asks SUPER cutely), but she will never request ‘juice’, only ‘JuiceNoWater’.
Flat Cheese - This is a pre-sliced slice of cheese, as opposed to a hunk cut off of a block, or a Stringer, or a Square Cheese, or a Triangle Cheese, or a bowl of cottage cheese. Or any other cheese, really.
Spicy Drink - Soft drinks are spicy, and my kids don't like them. I don't know why they don't like them (considering they love fat, salt and sugar), and I don't know why they call them 'Spicy Drinks' and not ‘Fizzy Drinks’ or ‘Lemonade’. But they have always been ‘Spicy Drinks’ in our household, and that’s just the way it goes.
What strange language do you use in your house to describe food?