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Misleading Names of Certain Preparations

Some traditional dishes have names that lead those not in the know to try them and reject them because, based on the name, they expected something different. For example, any time there appears a thread about Cincinnati chile, some joker will post that he once tried it and it was terrible since it wasn't at all like chili. Well folks, Cincinnati chili is quite different from Texas (or "normal") chili, but that isn't a valid basis to say there's anything wrong with the one you tried.

Another example is New Orleans BBQ shrimp. There is very little if anything that BBQ shrimp has in common with what most people think of when they think BBQ (although I have stumbled across some ghastly versions where somebody actually dumped "BBQ sauce" on cooked shrimp and claimed it was BBQ shrimp -- blech!)

Are there any other examples you can think of where the name of the preparation connotes something unlike what the dish actually is?

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  1. Rocky Mountain oysters
    Chicken oysters
    Welsh rabbit
    Canadian bacon
    Long Island iced tea

    11 Replies
    1. re: phofiend

      My sister was at lunch with friends and ordered iced tea. The waiter brought Long Island Iced Tea. It's bad enough when you order iced tea and swig a mouthful of (not - ordered) sweet tea, but this was sweet AND boozy. That was a surprise. She never would try a Long Island Iced Tea after that. I think she was traumatized.

      1. re: phofiend

        It's Welsh Rarebit, not rabbit. It is sometimes called rabbit either as a mistake or a joke.

        1. re: Steve

          I think that rabbit has been perpetuated for so long, it's acceptable.

          1. re: Steve

            Not really. The first cited instance of Welsh rabbit is 1725. Rarebit came much later, in 1785, probably a corruption of rabbit. Granted, this is a Wiki article, but it says it better than I can:


            1. re: phofiend

              Ah, I must be thinking of the places i've eaten since 1785.

                1. re: phofiend

                  Jane Grigson's "English Food" lays this question to rest. It was originally rabbit, and rarebit became used later. It was a joke at the expense of the Welsh, because apparently the English didn't think they were good hunters, so a Welsh rabbit would have no rabbit at all. "Scotch Woodcock" is a similar jest from a time, she says, that we weren't so aware of other people's feelings.

                  1. re: jmckee

                    That's pretty much what I always heard, that it's pronounced "rabbit". Haven't had it in years.

              1. re: phofiend

                I've always known headcheese as hog headcheese. But there's nothing cheese-like about it.

                1. re: Nayners

                  Sure there's a similarity. Compare how curds are packed in mold with how the chunks of meat are packed.

                  Most of these names are 'misleading' only to people to take things too literally. Most make sense if you have a bit of imagination or sense of word play.

                1. Spotted dick
                  Toad in the hole

                  1. Some people in Indiana call a Sloppy Joe a 'Barbecue'. It's made in a crock pot, for cryin' out loud. How can it be Barbecue?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: kitchengardengal

                      In Central PA pulled beef with BBQ sauce is called beef BBQ.

                      1. re: melpy

                        I think once bbq sauce is added, it's called bbq beef, pork, etc. Although not everyone likes barbecue sauce on their barbecued meat. The other thing people confuse is barbecued meat vs grilled.

                        1. re: melpy

                          This is made with ground beef and a tomato sauce, not actually BBQ sauce. Like Manwich.

                      2. I must be the one you're referring to about that Cincinnati abomination.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: ChiliDude

                          I don't think so. You may not like it, but at least you know what it is. I was talking about folks who order it expecting it to be somewhat like "regular" chili, and are taken aback when they get it and it isn't.

                          1. re: johnb

                            It's an unfortunate name for a very savory, wonderful concoction of slurpy goodness. I've been making the same recipe to the letter for 30 years. My only detour is breaking the spaghetti in half before cooking it. Firm, dark red kidney beans a must.

                            Call it anything but don't you "dare" it chili lol!!

                            Feel sorry for anyone who can't get past the nomenclature.

                            Yum. More for me :o)

                            1. re: nlgardener

                              Oh, nonsense. It's chili. There is no "one" chili.

                              1. re: jmckee

                                It's funny to me, that there's so much attention paid to being cosmopolitan when we're abroad, but we're xenophobes in our own country.

                          1. re: flavrmeistr

                            Johnny Marzetti.. No Johnny or Marzetti. I hope.

                            1. re: firecooked

                              Comfort food from Marzetti's in Columbus, Ohio. Love that stuff.

                              1. re: kitchengardengal

                                I have only seen it in cafeteria steam trays, where most things are hard to love.

                            2. re: flavrmeistr

                              I would not order one for years because Indidnt know what it was.

                            3. Maryland Crab Cake or Chicken Maryland (found overseas).

                              1. Yorkshire pudding. Which I love, so it was more puzzling than disappointing.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: monfrancisco

                                  Not certain what is wrong with Yorkshire Pudding, it's from Yorkshire and is a pudding like a Steak & Kidney pudding or a Pease Pudding. Desserts can be puddings, but not all puddings are desserts.

                                  1. re: PhilD

                                    Turns out I don't know all the pudding permutations in our common (!) language. Thanks for this; I'm going to go take a look at S&K (followed by Pie in my parts) and Pease (unknown except for the nursery rhyme and maybe some Shakespeare).

                                    1. re: monfrancisco

                                      Most savoury puddings in the UK use suet pastry if it's shortcrust it's a pie. That said suet is also used in desserts like "Jam Roly-Poly", Spotted Dick, Sussex Pond Pudding, and boiled sponge puddings with syrup/treacle or fruit in the bottom. Here is a link to lots of recipes:

                                      1. re: PhilD

                                        Thanks again! Much more informative than my wanderings have been . Incidentally, my "unkown" above should have been followed by "to me."

                                2. Hot dish is way too vague. An awful lot of things can be served hot in a dish, but most of them are not hot dish.

                                  3 Replies
                                    1. re: sandylc

                                      No, I'm East Coastern. College roommate was from Mpls, though. Her mother gave me a recipe for tuna hot dish that involved lemon slices and Bisquick. I made it once; it was pretty good.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        Hot dish is basically any type of a casserole, usually involving Campbell's Cream-of-what-have- you Soup(aka "Lutheran binder"), and any combination of canned vegetables, hamburger, tuna fish, potatoes, potato chips, noodles...you get the idea. Keeps body and soul together during those long winters.

                                    1. Speaking of chicken oysters, how about the Pope's nose?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: monavano

                                        In my family we fight over who gets the popes nose!

                                      2. Mincemeat Pie, I don't think Suet is used much as one of the ingredients.

                                        Leberkäse at the German butcher contains neither Liver or Cheese, it is Veal loaf.

                                        1. Golabki (Polish stuffed cabbage) = little pigeons.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: monavano

                                            There are these traditional French Christmas cookies my friends' grandmother makes. I can't remember the French, but it translates as "little assholes". They look like tiny cinnamon rolls, quite tasty despite the name.

                                            1. re: dave_c

                                              You can call it anything and I'll still eat it!
                                              I think diner lingo really fits into this category.

                                            2. Do google around for hilarious foreign product names eg soft drinks called Pschit, Pet Sweat, and Pee Cola.

                                                  1. re: monavano

                                                    Fly Cemetery, pronounced "flea symetry" in Scotland.

                                                    Cookies with raisins as I recall.

                                                    1. re: DockPotato

                                                      Flies graveyards or squashed fly biscuits - aka garibaldi biscuits.

                                                  1. Mississippi mud pie, shoo fly pie, dirty rice, pico de gallo.

                                                      1. Hot dogs! And hamburgers!

                                                        1. Boston Bluefish - it's pollock, not bluefish

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: greygarious

                                                            In Mexico, I prefer to order boquinette rather than what Americans call hogfish!
                                                            My favorite.

                                                          2. City Chicken. Just because it's shaped like a drumstick doesn't mean it came from a bird.

                                                            1. Girl Scout cookies. Not made with Girl Scouts.

                                                              1. popular in Japan: langue de chat

                                                                1. Soylent Green - it's made from people!

                                                                  1. sweetmeat
                                                                    elephant ear
                                                                    ants climbing a tree
                                                                    ants on a log
                                                                    puppy chow
                                                                    pigs in a blanket
                                                                    duck sauce
                                                                    black pudding