Language Dossier

British & American English

Food & Cooking Terms

It can be a frustrating experience for Americans to try cooking with English books since so many of the ingredients change their names on the other side of the Atlantic. So here's a short list of some of the more common food-related British terms and their equivalent in American English.

aubergine : eggplant

beetroot : beet

biscuit : cookie or cracker (sweet biscuit or savoury biscuit)

boiled sweet : hard candy

brown bread : wholemeal bread

brown stock : beef stock

bully beef : corned beef

candyfloss : cotton candy

chicory : endive

chips : french fries

coriander leaves : cilantro

corn : almost any grain (see maize and sweetcorn)

corned beef : canned pressed ham (see salt beef)

cornflour : cornstarch

cos lettuce : romaine

courgette : zucchini

crisps : potato chips

crumpet : something a bit like an English muffin ("English muffins" do not exist in England)

custard : custard sauce, or sometimes baked custard

cutlet : chop

digestive biscuits : something like Graham crackers

double cream : heavy cream

doughnut : jelly doughnut

endive : chicory

fairy cake : cupcake

fillet steak : tenderloin steak

fish fingers : fish sticks

French beans : string beans

greaseproof paper : wax paper

green pepper : bell pepper

icing : frosting

icing sugar : powdered (confectioner's) sugar

jacket potato : baked potato

liver sausage : liverwurst

maize : corn

mince : ground beef / hamburger

mincemeat : mince pie filling (dried fruit, peel, brandy, etc; very occasionally contains meat)

offal : liver, kidneys, tongue, tripe and any other animal organs

perry : hard cider made from pears instead of apples

plum duff : plum pudding

porridge : cooked oatmeal

prawn : small shrimp

ring doughnut : doughnut

sherbet : powdered candy

sponge finger : ladyfinger

squash : juice drink

sultana : white raisin

swede : yellow turnip

tart : pie

toffee : taffy

treacle : similar to molasses

whipping cream : halfway between light and heavy cream

white stock : chicken or fish stock