I was watching ‘Victoria’ last night and Albert commented that the British press referred to him as a sausage. That’s quite typical of the British with our good balance of sarcastic, a twist of irony & a big measure of xenophobia. So, typical that even back then the press would refer to Prince Albert, as a German sausage because of their love for a good old boiled sausage.
But it got me thinking about all the food related nicknames we and other cultures throw at each other, more so embedded in the past and WHY?
Forget the sausage, that seemed to be replaced with Krout, as in sauerkraut for the good old fermented cabbage eating Germans. OF course, the irony is that sauerkraut is popular all over Europe’s central and Northern parts as well as being sold all over the world. Plus, has been proven to have super nutritional qualities – – in fact it originates from China, it’s not even German!
The French have a love for frogs legs, as do Asians, Caribbean’s and ME – – it’s just like Chicken. So maybe we imagine we call the French ‘Frogs’ because they eat it so much. But this is not the reason for the nick-name, it was because the aristocracy ordained their houses of wealth with statues of toads (the British used Pineapples), the good old English didn’t know the difference between frogs and toads so they called the Rich French aristocracy who fled to Britain for safety ‘Le frogs’.
While they called us Roast Beef, all because we taught them how to cook it in the Medieval days. Chefs from the Royal palaces would go over on cheffing tours – teaching the French to cook our fineries including the ever-popular Roast Beef.
New Zealanders are referred to as Kiwi’s as they grow and eat a lot but there quite happy referring to each other as a kiwi.
While the Germans called the Italians ‘Macaroni’s during the war. Although the Italians do have a great love for pasta, it was the Americans who boxed macaroni cheese in 1937 that increased its popularity. And where did pasta originate from – – yes, China.
Then the Australians called the British Pommies, after our Apple Rosy coloured cheeks or as in pomegranate, the colour we went in the sun.
While the Americans called us Limeys, because we drank lime juice on the ships to avoid scurvy. But of course, we eat oranges and lemons or whatever we could get hold of because no citrus grew in Britain in them old Armada days.
Then there’s the Asians who call other Asians ‘Bananas’, as in yellow on the outside and white in the middle – because they amerce them self in too much western culture or live in the western world.
There is a lot of fruit simile regarding negativities in colour – like Coconut, black on the outside white in the middle.
Plus, apple – used in North American Indian culture to describe a red Indian who’s lost touch with their culture and is white on the inside.
And now I read that the British are nicknamed ‘Potatoes’ by the Chinese because we consume so many of them. But did you know the Chinese grow the most potatoes in the world (over 20%) and are the biggest consumers, especially with the ever-increasing rise of fast food and French fry consumption.
But what intrigues me the most is the FOOD thing – if we grow a lot of something, or eat a lot of something then we are called that something, more in the past of course.
The irony not being ‘it’s what we do’ but ‘it’s what we eat’, or what food we look like. Like the boy in our village who was called Spud because he looked like a potato. Or the fellow at my middle school who was called egg because he loved fried eggs and bacon.
It kind of goes back to the time when you were little and your Granny would say – if you eat any more of that you’ll look like it.
I used to worry I would look like a banana or a baked bean – but I never did!!! But I did get called crisp sandwich for a bit.
And don’t forget it’s not big and it’s not clever to bully and call each other names, and as you can see from the past – it doesn’t even make sense.
So that’s it from this Potato.
Until next time my food loving friends.
By Zena Leech-Calton