Saturday, June 08, 2013

Food Talk: How We Say It In These Parts

Josh Katz, a graduate student at in the Statistics Department at NC State, has put together "Beyond 'Soda, Pop, or Coke'", a dramatic site visualizing geographic difference in dialect that has stirred up a good bit of buzz on the Interwebs in the past few days. After having spent way more time than I intended clicking through all the maps, I've put together this meta-study if you will of what Katz and Bert Vaux's data tells us about the way we say stuff about food around here.

My findings about South Carolina:
  • We eat "man-aze" on our sandwiches, and we have no problem putting a little "slaw" on them. 
  • Despite the fact that Charleston has  a wonderful downtown joint called "Dave's Carry-Out", almost nobody in uses "carry-out" as a generic term for "take-out"food.
  • We have never heard of such a thing as a drive-through liquor store.
  • We seem divided on whether we like PEE-can or pee-KAHN pie for dessert, though if we drizzle a sweet topping on we'll call it "carra-mel sir-up".
  • We're just as likely to wash that pie down with a soda as we are with a Coke. (Mississippi, it turns out, is the hotbed of calling all carbonated beverages "cokes")

In the "who knew" category:
  • A lot of people around Kansas City apparently put "vinegar and oil" on their salads (instead of "oil and vinegar")
  • The use of "supper" to refer to the evening meal (and "dinner" to refer to the midday one) is not more prevalent in the South than the rest of the country. If anywhere is the hot-bed of eating supper, it's North and South Dakota. Nobody in California, on the other hand, ever eats supper--probably because the traffic is so bad on "the 5" that time of day that they'd never get there.
  • In Tidewater Virginia, they call drive through liquor stores "brew thrus"
  • When they want to get the front seat on the way to a restaurant, a lot of folks in Iowa shout "dibs" instead of "shotgun"
  • If you call a shopping cart a "buggy", you can rest assured that you are in the South. 

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