I speak English.
Ben speaks English.
But there are times when I can’t understand a single word that he says to me. I mean, I understand the words coming out of his mouth, but I have no idea what they mean. And then sometimes he tries to explain those words with another string of words that mean nothing to me.
My family is from an island in Canada called Newfoundland. Newfoundland is known for its thick accent, unlike any other in Canada but very much, I’ve discovered, like an Irish accent. There are a lot of British and Irish roots in Newfoundland. We have traditional fry ups, a love of sausages, pubs and fish & chips. Coronation street is on heavy rotation and I can quote more episodes of Are You Being Served? than any self-respecting Brit. But there are times when the cultural gap is so wide that Ben might as well be speaking another language. It makes for some hilarious conversations.
Here is a small set of examples:
Sweaters are jumpers.
A toque is a beanie or bobble hat.
And, what I know as a beanie (a skullcap with a propeller) doesn’t exist.
Pants are trousers and underwear are pants- which has led to many embarrassing situations, for example: “Oh no, I’ve got a stain on my pants”.
A vest is a waist-coast and a tank-top is a vest.
And, I still haven’t figured out what the hell a string vest is.
Don’t ever call it a “fannypack” or children everywhere will laugh at you… instead, call it the much more respectable name of “bumbag”.
For a vehicle, it’s boot and bonnet instead of trunk and hood
HP sauce is brown sauce
Ketchup is tomato or red sauce
Tomato paste is puree, tomato puree is passata and pasta sauce is tomato sauce (yes, I know, that is ALSO ketchup!)
Pickles are gherkins,
A zuchhini is a courgette,
Cilantro is coriander,
Eggplant is aubergine,
And don’t even get me started on the chips, crisps and French fry debate.
And no, you incredibly rude North American, it’s not “can I get a… “
It’s “may I have a…”.
And, finally, these tea biscuits. Which Ben thought were going to be crackers, because crackers are called biscuits in England and cracker isn’t a word that exists… well not with any polite connotation, anyway.
It turns out that these are scones.
But, whatever it is that you call them, we can agree on one thing, they are delicious.
- 2 cups (200 g) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 TBSP baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP white (caster) sugar
- ⅓ cup (75 g) vegetarian shortening or vegan butter (stick not tub)
- 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened soy)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening or vegan butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- To ensure they stay extra fluffy, place freezer for 10 minutes to ensure vegan butter stays nice and cold.
- After 10 minutes, gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.
- Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead just until dough comes together (5 times or so). The less you handle the dough, the fluffier they will become.
- Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick.
- Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour.
- Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.