Ameri-speak: Zucchini (Zoo-key-nee)
Brit-speak: Courgette (Kur-zhet)
The back story: Culture shock when I moved to the UK wasn’t that bad. Sarcasm and the ability to laugh at myself were certainly keys to surviving, dare I say thriving, here (A cabbie once told me to go back to America and to smack my mom for giving me my Christian name). But what I wasn’t prepared for was the moment my first intense culture shock hit. My colleagues and I had to do our first big food shop and headed to a supermarket called Asda, which is owned by that global conglomerate, Wal-mart. I should’ve prepared myself for the worst simply based on that fact alone. I mean have you SEEN People of Wal-mart?
I expected to stroll in and stroll out in 30 minutes with a few bags full of items I’d need for the week…. Nearly two hours later I was about to pull the biggest adult temper tantrum of my life. I’m sorry to say that at that point I would have been okay with hurling myself on the floor, red-faced, kicking and screaming, either that or curling into the fetal position and softly whimpering, “Help me. Please, please help me.” The problem? Everything is called something different here. Okay, not everything, but a lot of things and when you are walking through the aisles relying on those stupid hanging signs to show you what is in each aisle and they say things like, crisps, squash, and international food (where they keep the Old El Paso), it can all feel really frustrating. And when you are so fed up that you finally go up to a member of staff and cry, “Please, could you just show me where I can find some zucchini!?” and their reply is, “What is that?” all of the sudden you’ll find that you become okay with the idea of physically assaulting someone.
To this day I still have rage against Asda – and it is only that supermarket. Anytime I convince myself that this time it will be okay, this time will be different, I walk away with dangerously high blood pressure. After my last visit I left muttering, “I hate this place. HATE IT! I hate this place,” as The Duchess stared at me with a troubled look.
So there you have it Americans. There is no zucchini bread here, instead we’ll call it courgette bread. Except that you wouldn’t because that would make British people think of actual bread, so you’d need to call it courgette cake. And when you do that, you can be pretty sure that 95% of the population won’t want to touch it because that sounds disgusting to them. (See my Thanksgiving post about not mixing sweet and savoury).
And Brits, be warned. When those Americans come calling around and say, ‘Oh, would you like to try my Zucchini bread?’ It’s not as exotic as it sounds. They’re making a cake with courgette in it. You might just want to weigh that one up before you accept.