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Ask Carb Diva: Questions & Answers About Foods, Recipes, & Cooking, #126

Updated on March 1, 2020
Carb Diva profile image

Linda explores food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes, one ingredient at a time.

The Wait is Almost Over

About 5 miles from my home is the Old Settler’s Cemetery. Established in 1855 it is the location of about 250 graves of the area’s early pioneers. The site is barren and dreary, those resting here apparently long forgotten, except in the spring. When winter snows melt and the ground begins to warm, flowers are placed on each of the burial sites.

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It’s a beautiful, touching sight, and a reminder to me that the season of renewal and growth and promise and hope, the season of Spring, is just around the corner.

Let's Get Started With Today's Mailbox

If you're an old friend, you already know how this works. But, if this is your first visit, let me introduce you to my kitchen.

Each week I receive questions about food ingredients, cooking or baking terms or methods, requests for recipes, and queries about nutrition. Just about anything food-related has been covered here.

I'm sharing this past week's questions and my responses; it happens every Monday. Want to join in the fun? You can leave your question in the comments below, and next week the answer will be right here. It's that easy.

Why Do Some Foods Have More Than One Name?

"Something that has made me wonder at times is in regard to the different names of certain foods/products. I know it is common that names vary in different countries e.g. coriander (Australia) and cilantro (USA) but what about things like ketchup vs catsup? We just call it tomato sauce."

Jodah (John Hansen) you have no idea how happy you've made me. I love delving into the history of foods and the etymology of food names. But before I dig into the research, I'm going to present my hypothesis. (Sorry, can't help it; I've lived with a scientist for almost 40 years and a bit of him has rubbed off on me). Anyhow, my guess is that we have a global dining table. We don't just eat the foods in and near our little villages anymore. And, since there are goodness-knows how many different languages and dialects, the name of the same food item can take many different forms.

Let's take your example of catsup vs. ketchup. The word (either one) is an Anglicized version of the name for a condiment that was introduced to British sailors in the late 17th century. The word itself is thought to come from the Cantonese k’ē chap or the Malay kēhap, both of which refer to a kind of fish sauce. Yes, once upon a time, ketchup was made from fermented fish guts. (Thank goodness that recipe has been lost!)

Today ketchup is the preferred spelling but that hasn't always been the case. Are you ready for some data? I found this chart on the website Writing Explained.

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"The above graph charts the use of ketchup vs. catsup over time, and, as you can see, ketchup is used much more frequently than is catsup. If you are a writer in any English speaking country today, ketchup is the spelling you will want to use." — Writing Explained

Until 1837 ketchup (or catsup) was not commercially produced and distributed so the naming was a case of "anything goes." Then Heinz entered the scene and branded their product as "Heinz tomato catsup." In the 1880's they changed the name to "Heinz tomato ketchup" so that they would stand apart from their competition. It worked, and now ketchup is the preferred spelling (and pronunciation). So in this particular case, it wasn't a regional difference but rather a bit of keen marketing.

Want some other examples? Here's a short list:

  • zucchini/courgette
  • eggplant/aubergine
  • fries/chips
  • biscuits/cookies
  • scones/biscuits
  • pancakes, hotcakes, flapjacks
  • hoagy/sub/poor boy/grinder
  • arugula/rocket
  • broccoli rabe/rappini
  • calamari/squid

Can you think of others?

Are There Foods That Mimic Arthritis?

"Do you know of foods that can mimic arthritis? I'm getting some pain here in Germany. I'm suspecting cheese, maybe coffee too. Let me know what you come up with."

Manatita, I'm sorry that you are feeling some discomfort. I have osteoarthritis, so this is a topic that really gets my attention. I haven't found any research that names coffee (caffeine) as a trigger for inflammation, but cheese certainly can be a problem. Here's a list of foods to avoid (or at least limit your intake):

  • Saturated fats (that's cheese, full-fat dairy, and red meats)
  • Sugar (oh, I know, that's a difficult one, isn't it?)
  • Trans fats (these are the artificially produced fats; margarine is a good example).
  • Omega-6 (vegetable-based oils, mayonnaise)
  • Refined carbohydrates (white flour)
  • Aspartame (artificial sweetener)
  • Alcohol

There has been research pointing to a connection to stress and inflammation, so perhaps travel, housing away from home, poorly-timed meals, and the change in time zones could be the problem for Manatita.

New FDA Food Labeling Guidelines

Did you see that the FDA has new guidelines about food labels? You could write about that...just saying! Happy Monday my neglected friend!

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Bill, you have humbled me. As the resident foodie you’d think I’d be on top of all of this stuff, wouldn’t you? Believe it or not, I had not heard about this so thanks for bringing it to my attention. The changes made to the nutrition labels on our foods are to help us (consumers) make better-informed choices and to update standards for serving sizes and daily nutritional needs.

An example of the "new and improved" label is above. Not sure how it differs? Well, here's a side-by-side comparison.

Source

Calories per serving clearly stand out now, serving size is easier to see, and actual amounts (by percentage) are provided for nutrients.

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Why Is Jersey Milk More Yellow?

"Why is Jersey milk more yellow? Is it just a higher cream ratio?"

Mary (Blond Logic), you're absolutely right. Jersey cows produce less milk than (for example) Holstein cows. The higher the volume of milk, the lower the percentage of fat solids which translates to fat (cream) color.

Holstein and Jersey Comparison

Holstein

  • Yearly milk yield - 10,512 kg
  • Fat 3.90%
  • Protein 3.22%

Jersey

  • Yearly milk yield - 6,883 kg
  • Fat 5.01%
  • Protein 3.28%

We're Organized

Did you know that there is a Table of Contents for this series? I have created an article that provides a detailed listing of each question I've received. It's broken down by category, and within each category, the questions are listed alphabetically. Each question is actually a hotlink back to the original post.

Here's a link to that Table of Contents.

I have also cataloged all of my personal recipes that I have shared with you in this weekly Q&A series and in all of my other articles as well. The link to that Index is here. There are hotlinks to each recipe and this will be updated as new recipes are shared.

I'd Love to Answer Your Questions

Let's do this again next week. If you have questions about foods, cooking techniques, or nutrition you can ask them here. If you are in search of an old recipe or need ideas on how to improve an existing one I can help you. If you want to learn more, let's do it together. Present your questions, your ideas, your comments below. Or, you can write to me personally at this email address: lindalum52@gmail.com.

And, I promise that there will always be at least one photo of a kitty in every Monday post.

© 2020 Linda Lum

Comments

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    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Jonathan, your story has really touched my heart. Please check back on Monday (the 9th of March) and I will have some ideas for you. If you can't wait until Monday, you can email me (see the section "I'd Love to Answer Your Questions."

    • profile image

      Jonathan 

      3 weeks ago

      I am a college student and my parents' financial circumstances have significantly changed. I've gotten a part-time job in addition to classes and tried to cut financial corners with my food and expenses, but I have lost a bunch of weight. What inexpensive but nutritious food and meals can I eat? People are starting to ask if I'm on drugs, and I absolutely am not. For technical reasons, I do not qualify for my local food bank. Help!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      MizB, I'm sorry about your Essie. I lost my Kyla almost 7 years ago and I still miss her so much. We have another kitty, but they are each their own little person and you build a unique and special relationship with each of them.

      I agree with you about giving us the portion size in ounces. I'm baking tater tots for crying out loud. Just tell me how many I'm allowed (if given free rein I'd dump the whole bag on my plate).

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      I meant to include this comment about Jersey milk. My uncle kept Jersey cows, and their milk always made me slightly nauseated. After I grew up he explained to me that they were specially bred to give milk that was 9% butterfat. No wonder! He sold the milk to the local cheese factory.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James MizBejabbers 

      3 weeks ago from Beautiful South

      Great information today, Linda. Somehow I nearly missed this one. I used to have a sweet kitty similar to the one in the photo. That photo makes me want to kiss that little pink nose. I miss my Essie so much.

      Cheese, or any dairy product makes my body hurt all over. I had a friend years ago who sometimes brought me Mexican food smothered in cheese for lunch at the radio station where I worked. After I ate that lunch, I started noticing that typing on our old manual news typewriter was very painful to my hands. That was before I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, but I did begin to suspect it then.

      I like the new labels, but ya know what gripes me? Those labels on foods like cookies or crackers that specify the serving size in ounces rather than individual cookies or crackers. If we are trying to watch calories, we shouldn't have to get out the scales and weigh the amount rather than counting crackers.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Audrey, thank you for this helpful information. I will post this in next week's Q&A so that no one misses it. You're a gem!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Linda, there will always be kitties.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      3 weeks ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Manatita - (and anyone else)Turmeric has given me more relief from arthritic pain than anything else. It helps reduce inflammation. I use organic turmeric powder and sprinkle it on eggs and legumes. Using pepper with it to enhance anti-inflammatory effects. The key compounds in turmeric are called curcuminoids. Curcumin itself is the most active ingredient and appears to be the most important.

      Turmeric supplements are unsafe if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have certain conditions. Supplements can also interact with blood thinners and diabetes medications. However, turmeric seems to be safe when used as a spice in food.

      I hope this information helps. This is such a great series!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I love the idea of growing spring flowers in the cemetery. You've shared some interesting information, especially in relation to ketchup. I appreciate seeing another cat photo.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Donna, I'm glad you enjoyed the article. If you'd like to see my garden, place this in your Maven search "Walk With Me (A Tour of My Garden)"

    • Donna-Rayne profile image

      Donna Rayne 

      4 weeks ago from Sutter Creek

      Linda, earlier this week I noticed on a table that it was a bigger print for calories and I thought that was odd, but now I know it's what companies are changing too.

      A very informative article that has helped me a lot. Thank you!

      Have a lovely day,

      Donna Rayne

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Mary, I use plastic wrap too, but ours always comes with a metal strip to aid in cutting it (but it isn't infallible). I don't have an instant solution for you, but I'll see what I can come up with.

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 

      4 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for tackling my milk question.

      Interesting questions this week. Having lived in the UK and the States, I feel well versed in the dual food language. Except when I want to make American style biscuits. I end up just calling them a savory scone for peaceful life.

      Although not politically or environmentally correct, I still use plastic wrap to cover items before putting them in the fridge. We don't have a serrated metal strip on our boxes and I am forever trying to unroll it using a fingernail edge. Sometimes I end up with half of it rolling and tearing and the other is still stuck. Have you got a kitchen hack for this? I have tried rolling it backwards to get a ridge and also inserting a piece of paper to help.

      Glad to hear spring has almost arrived in your neck of the woods.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Shauna. I don't know why the FDA dropped the info on the percent of calories from fat. But I CAN explain the "added sugars." Sugars on the label are the ones that occur naturally (fructose, lactose, etc.). Added sugars are the supplements to augment flavor or improve texture such as honey, syrups, granulated sugar, etc.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      4 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Linda, I wasn't aware of the change in food labels, either. One thing I noticed is they no longer state how many calories come from fat.

      Also, what are "added sugars"? That's pretty vague, don't you think?

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I don't use pesticides. Ever. I do what I can to encourage the "good bugs." We have a pond and so dragon flies love it here. Lady bugs and ants do cleanup work too, especially on aphids. A blast of water from the hose is enough to kill some of the nasties.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      I hope so too Bill. As a society as large (pun intended) we need some serious help.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish, the cilantro/coriander conundrum. I can answer that next week. I hope you have a great week.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for discussing the new label guidelines. Hopefully they will help many. Spring, good golly, is almost here,although I was scraping ice yesterday. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      4 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wow! How cool on John's question. I think all my children at young age called it Catsup -- more fun. I am afraid that in this house fish sauce and ketchup run neck and neck.

      I really like cemeteries, especially old ones. Probably a strange admission to most.

      Thanks for another great piece.

      Based on you edible flower and mentions of gardens I have a straight up question so as to make my food healthy -- what to you use for pesticide?

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 weeks ago from Sunny Florida

      Happy Monday, Linda,

      You covered a variety of topics that were a bit unusual. I did not know the food labels had changed either. I found all the topics interesting today and, as always, you rose to the callenge.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      Manatita, good morning to you. The flowers are crocus, a bulb that puts forth blooms once a year in late winter.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      I got stuck on coriander being cilantro not that I recall cooking with either much, but I didn’t know. This was a useful article. The symptoms and label information were helpful.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      4 weeks ago from london

      Pancakes, and flapjacks are different foods to me. You've done very well with John's question and have made the whole thing very interesting.

      I loved seeing the beauty of the advent of spring in your photos. Are they blue bells? Or daisies, perhaps.

      Thanks for the info. I 'll add more water too. Peace.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      4 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      I'm glad you enjoyed it John. It was fun researching.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Linda, thank you for answering my question so thoroughly using the ketchup/catsup example. That was very interesting.

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