Finnish meatballs

Alison Murie sagehen7470 at ATT.NET
Sun Dec 14 17:10:32 UTC 2008

Another reversal of this sort occurs with the scourge known in America
as "Dutch elm disease," but as "American elm disease" in Holland, on
the grounds that it afflicts American elms.


On Dec 14, 2008, at 3:18 AM, Victor wrote:

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> Poster:       Victor <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Finnish meatballs
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> Matt Yglesias comments on some food terms derived from geography:<br>
> <br>
> <a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="
> "><
> ;</a><br>
> <blockquote>
>  <p>In Finland, they call Swedish meatballs “Finnish
> meatballs.” </p>
>  <p>It brought to mind a very angry conversation I once had with a
> Greek
> fellow about my description of a particular beverage as “Turkish
> coffee.” He was quite certain that it was <em>Greek</em>
> coffee, thank
> you very much.</p>
> </blockquote>
> Another item this brings to mind for me is "filet americain" in the
> Netherlands ("americaine" in Belgium, apparently). For example,<br>
> <br>
> <a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="
> "><
> britain.html></a><br>
> <blockquote>The one I liked was <em>filet americaine</em> in Belgium.
> Turned out to be raw hamburger with some onions and other stuff on it,
> spread on a baguette. Then there was <em>sauce americaine</em> as one
> of the six million things to put on french fries, and that was
> basically a ketchup/mayo mix. <br>
> </blockquote>
> From what I understood from Dutch food labels, this is not quite
> correct. "Filet americain(e)" certainly contains raw ground beef, but
> if that were all it had (with some condiments on the side), it would
> have been labeled "steak tartare" (not to be confused with "bief
> tartaar", which is just high quality ground beef, often packaged in
> small hamburger-style discs, but meant for cooking). Steak tartare,
> however, is labeled as such in Dutch supermarkets. The difference
> between "steak tartare" and "filet americain natuur" escapes me.<br>
> <br>
> For Dutch speakers, there is a whole Dutch Wiki page (and a second one
> that clarifies it further).<br>
> <br>
> <a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="
> "><></a><br>
> <br>
> <a class="moz-txt-link-rfc2396E" href="
> "><></a><br>
> <br>
> But I digress. The point is that, despite the name and like the
> English-language term "French fries", there is no apparent connection
> between the geographic identification in the food term and the food's
> actual geographic origins. This is slightly different from "Swedish
> meatballs" and "Greek coffee". And the significance of the "tartare"
> (or "tartar" or "tartaar") does not escape me in this context. The
> closest thing that I know to "steak tartar" is kibbeh (multiple
> spellings), which is a mix of beef and bulgur that is often eaten raw
> (with onions) when fresh (but is usually fried after that--
> commercially
> available kibbeh is always fried, as is the Israeli version,
> kubebbah).
> <br>
> <br>
> I wonder if anyone ever tried to compile a comprehensive list of such
> food misnomers. The blog post mentioned earlier that had sprung the
> "filet americaine" comment mentioned Swiss cheese, French toast and
> English muffins--prompted by a discovery of a product referred to as
> "American muffins" in England. There is also a (justifiable) rant
> concerning cafe americano as an abominable Starbucks creation. This is
> not quite accurate--at least, not with respect to Starbucks coining
> the
> term. One urban legend has it that the name was coined because
> diluting
> espresso with water was the only way to make normal coffee palatable
> to
> American tourists. But I have no hard evidence on the subject.<br>
> <br>
> So, I actually have two distinct long-term queries. First, a general
> one, concerning food items (in any language, but English is a good
> start) that are named geographically without any regard to the actual
> geographic origin (so Greek coffee would not qualify simply because it
> is also known as Turkish coffee; nor would Panama hat because it's not
> food). Second, I would like to compile a list of items that are known
> as "American" in other parts of the world (although not always in
> other
> languages). I suppose, in this case, American cheese does not qualify
> (and not simply because it is not really cheese).<br>
> <br>
> VS-)<br>
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