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Apr 12, 2009 01:59 PM

What do you call it?

I came across this map of U.S. terms used when referring to soft drinks.

I'm always intrigued by regional differences in terms, especially food related.
Any other categories that vary widely (or wildly)?

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  1. Interesting map title: "Generic Names for Soft Drinks". And that's what I call them generically: soft drinks. Otherwise I refer to them by brand name.

    1. In the UK, depending on where you come from, a sandwich is also known as a butty but also a bap. Although a bap is a kind of roll, I think!

      Going back to soft drinks, I have never heard the names soda or pop for a coke till I came to the USA. The Brits call them fizzy drinks or carbonated drinks or ask for each type by name. Soda water is seltzer. The Brits also have squash which is a soft concentrated drink diluted with water - these come in a staggering number of flavours and in the supermarket take up most of one aisle - not to be confused with American squash (zucchini etc).

      3 Replies
      1. re: smartie

        "Although a bap is a kind of roll, I think!"

        It is. And you could start a UK version of this thread just on the subject. I call a bread roll a barmcake (or just barm). 10 miles one way, it's a bap. 10 miles the other, it's a cob. Then there's oven bottoms, which are kind of bread rolls but different form the others.

        And "pop" used to be what we called carbonated drinks when I was a lad in the 50s.

        However, wherever you are in the UK, if you're eating a burger, it's on a bun.

        1. re: Harters

          Speak for your corner-- in mine, they seem all too keen to put the burger on a floured bap.

          1. re: Lizard

            Cor blimey. Yer learns summat ev'ry day. Like, yer know, innit.


        1. I checked out the map and it is accurate for my region, SE Texas. The overwhelming majority said coke, as in, "'I'll buy you a coke. What kind do you want?" Reply, "A Dr. Pepper," or Sprite, or whatever. I know it sounds stupid, but that's how we grew up.

          9 Replies
          1. re: James Cristinian

            I live in Southern NE and we still primarily refer to subs as grinders and when I first moved here in the 70's milkshakes were also called cabinets...

            1. re: James Cristinian

              I grew up that way in Virginia...everything is a Coke. And from there you specify "diet Coke" or "Dr. Pepper" or whatever.

              1. re: James Cristinian

                Yep, just like James in my neck of the woods here in Texas it is all Coke even if you want a Big Red.

                1. re: swamp

                  And we don't even HAVE Big Red (except the chewing gum) here in New England. But I learned about it from a woman I used to work with in Texas. "It's a small world after all..."

                  But Sean (above), you lost me at cabinets. I love a good grinder, but I never heard of a cabinet until your post. Does this mean you're from RI? :)

                  These little regionalisms are so interesting. How about "package store"--where does the line stop and start on that versus liquor store? We always use the term "packy run!"

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    I'm going to go on a packy run, you want me to pick up grinders?lol gotta love ct

                    1. re: kubasd

                      That'd be great--welcome back home. :)

                    2. re: kattyeyes

                      Regionalisms indeed - Where I'm from Paki (pron. like your "packy") is a derogatory term for someone of Pakistani origin.

                      1. re: kattyeyes

                        Yes, I grew up in East Providence but currently reside in North Kingstown...

                  2. In New England, particularly around Boston, the name for soda used to be tonic, meaning any soft drink not tonic water. The usage is dying, as reflected in the map.

                    Anyone who's been to NE knows the long discussions about what a milkshake is versus a malt versus a frappe, even versus an ice cream soda. Usages could vary from town to town.

                    Another major difference is a sub sandwich, which used to be a grinder in NE, except in Maine, where it is often - still - called an "Italian" no matter the filling. It's also sometimes called a torpedo but the hoagie name is more middle Atlantic, more Philly.

                    14 Replies
                    1. re: lergnom

                      In the Philly region, we call a fizzy soft drink a "soda". As you get to the western end of the state, however (Pittsburgh), it's called "pop".

                      Just as an FYI, I have seen those torpedo-shaped sandwiches called "grinders" here in Philly, however that term is used to refer to a hoagie that has been heated, usually in a pizza oven. A cold one is ALWAYS a hoagie. The name is thought to be derived from the sandwiches that immigrant shipbuilders in an area along the Delaware River called Hog Island used to bring for their lunch/dinner. An Italian hoagie (or just "an Italian") is a type of hoagie, using Italian meats & cheeses (cappicola, genoa salami, provolone) -- as opposed to turkey, roast beef or even tuna salad. The bread must have a crust that is crunchy, not soft all the way through, and the hoagie should be dressed with a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, Italian herbs/spices, salt & pepper.

                      1. re: PattiCakes

                        The word "hoagie" always makes me think of Cliff Huxtable on The Cosby Show. :) Specifically, of the time he went for a stress test and had to stop eating them!

                      2. re: lergnom

                        I grew up in northern NJ, and they were always hoagies (Boy Scouts used to sell them as a fundraiser). Now, I'm in the Boston area, and subs are what I call them.

                        And it's always been "soda" for me. Not that I drink it anymore...unless it's ginger ale, and then I just ask for a ginger ale.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Hey Linda, grew up in smack Central NJ (New Brunswick area..) and we always called 'em subs. Oooh...Tastee Subs @ Stelton Rd. (I think...) and rt. 27 in Edison. Always just called soda "soda", unless referring to a specific brand; eg. "Bubble-Up" or "Wink". Weird that just a few miles away, you called 'em hoagies. Thought that was a Philly in South Jersey- Camden, Cherry Hill, etc. Where in north NJ were you? AFAIK, they called 'em subs in NYC, too. adam

                          1. re: adamshoe

                            I was in Bergen County - just over the river from Manhattan.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Linda, you may have been a Bergen County anomaly - we always called them subs ;)

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                LOL! I'm sure there were sub shops - my family just never went to them. But the Boy Scouts' fundraiser was most definitely called Hoagie Day. A Saturday, IIRC, and we'd go pick them up at some parking lot. :-)

                            2. re: adamshoe

                              I too am from Central Jersey (North Brunswick). We always called them subs. Such as "bring me a turkey and provolone sub from Tastee sub, and pick me up a soda while you're at it" (There is also a Tastee on rt 27 headed toward South Brunswick)

                          2. re: lergnom

                            Yeah, I haven't heard "tonic" in a long time. Even when we moved here (mid-80s) it was mainly the older townies that you'd hear saying "tonic".

                            1. re: jgg13

                              Yep, the same people who may know why the local package store is called a "spa."

                              1. re: lergnom

                                Never heard this term- please educate me!! TIA

                                1. re: macca

                                  i thought a spa was more of a soda fountain type place -- not a packy.

                            2. re: lergnom

                              Sooooorrrrrrryyyyyy...... but North of Boston... think up Rte 1 north.....a Sub is a sub sandwich with Italian cheeses and "cold cuts." I've lived here all my life and No One ever called it a torpedo, a hoagie or an Italian. It's a Sub, dammit.

                              1. re: Gio

                                You are absolutely right. Never hear- or heard- it called a torpedo or a hoagie. It is a sub- and a sub is never confused with a grinder!