Not long ago, Dan and I planned to go to a New Coasters‘ potluck dinner. We thought taking something with Tennessee “roots” would be nice so “Chili Chips and Cheese” (like Petro’s in Knoxville) was initially the plan. This combination (with lots of toppings) was created during the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville and has continued in that area ever since.
Then we realized that the grocery had no Fritos. Really?? We took homemade bread.
Yesterday, at another grocery I was looking in the “International Foods” aisle. Not only did I find Fritos–but I also found A&W root beer, marshmallow cream, and PopTarts. What an all-American combination. The grocery store is always an adventure.
We’ve started a list of funny things Americans in New Zealand say and do.
Dan ran into the grocery for a few things, returned to the car in a busy parking lot. He jumped in, sat down, reached for his seat belt, then realized he was sitting on the passenger side. To cover his mistake, he acted like he was looking for something. Then he casually got out, walked around the car, got in and drove away.
Janet, a NZ friend, asked me one day if I had sorted our tea. I must have looked clueless. I knew the answer–“no”–that was the easy part. But I was clueless about the question. She then said, “I’ve made a lovely casserole if you and Dan would like to join us for tea.” OH! We were invited for an impromptu dinner at their house. She sorted her tea and ours too.
I have napkin issues. No nappies on the dining table–they are what catches the baby poo, not what you set on your lap at dinner, aka tea. Lynnette asked me to get some more serviettes. I was clueless so took a guess that she mean placemats. Nope–napkins (the non-baby poo kind)!
Many NZ terms make a lot of sense:
wheelie bins = rolling trash containers Today: Carlena told Dan someone nicked the wheelie bins. He was clueless. She thought they were stolen.
chilly bins = coolers
mince = ground beef
bickies = biscuits (which really equal cookies)
good as gold is pretty self-explanatory.
And as Paul Henry–our new-favorite NZ morning talk show host says, learning these translations take some real “mental nuggetiness.”