Soda Pop Coke and Fizzy Drinks

Is it soda? Or is it pop? Or soda pop? Or tonic? (Or sometimes even just plain Coke, no matter what kind of soft drink you order.) They’re all the right name for a soft drink. Which one you’ll hear depends on where you live.

Geographic differences

Back in 1993, Alan McConchie opened a window on the word war with his freshman computer science project. Instead of arguing over who was right, he just asked people to say which word they used and give their zip code. That project turned into the Pop vs. Soda web page, which was the first time anyone ever managed to map the places where people used different words for their soft drinks. He’s added a postal code for Canada too now, but after seeing the results, he didn’t bother making a map.

When you look at that map, you’ll see that it’s no wonder it’s a particularly heated debate between soda and pop. After all, they’re pretty much neck and neck for the number of people using them.

To make matters even more heated, it’s partly a red state-blue state divide. A lot of people on both sides of that divide are absolutely convinced that they and their neighbours are RIGHT and everyone else is WRONG! When it’s a city island of soda in the middle of a state of pop, you’ll hear people claim that soda is what educated people call it, and pop is what the hicks call it.


Soda water is the original name for the drink, from the sodium bicarbonate used to make the fizz. It’s traceable back to 1798, but the soda part goes back a lot farther. One of the most popular versions was phosphate soda, from a recipe which added just a little bit of phosphoric acid to soda water and fruit syrup. That soon became just plain old soda, which was served at soda fountains.

Soda is still the most common word on the opposite sides of the US, on the southwest coast and the northeast coast. It’s the main word in California. It’s also used in all of the original thirteen colonies, although the farther west you go, the more you’ll hear pop instead of soda.

New York and Vermont are cut in half by the Appalachian Mountains. In the east, you’ll hear soda. In the west, you’ll hear pop.

For some reason, soda is also dominant in half of Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It’s like a little north-south island in the middle of pop country.


You can find a reference to pop in a British letter in 1812. Robert Southey wrote that he drank a new beverage which was called pop “because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn.” So pop’s at least as old as that.

Pop’s pretty dominant all the way across Canada. In Canada, if you ask for a soda, you’ll get plain soda water.

Probably it came to Canada straight from Great Britain. That makes sense when you consider that pop’s really strong in the Canadian Maritimes and Newfoundland, where there’s been a lot of British immigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. There’s even more evidence for this because the only place in Canada where you don’t often hear pop is in Quebec. There, it’s usually called a soft drink when it’s said in English.

Pop’s also common across the U.S. Midwest. Maybe the word went from Canada to the States at the same time as the War of 1812. Or maybe it just moved along the manufacturing corridor in Southwestern Ontario. When you’re the shortcut between Chicago, Detroit, and western New York, all the truck stops along that route are going to start using the same words.

You’ll find pop in every U.S. state west of the Great Lakes, all the way west to the Pacific Ocean. Pop also goes down mostly as far as the Mason-Dixon line, except for that Missouri-Illinois-Wisconsin soda island.


Most of the U.S. deep South and parts of Mexico use Coke for all kinds of soft drinks. Maybe that’s because the original Coca-Cola plant’s in Atlanta, Ga.

Virginia, Kentucky, and Florida are both split between soda and Coke. Virginia’s right on the geographic boundary between soda and Coke. Kentucky’s caught between pop and Coke.

Florida’s southern population calls it Coke, and people who move to Florida mostly call it soda. That’s except for the Canadian enclaves, who sometimes forget and call it pop. Of course, if a Canadian asks for pop and the waiter says, “You mean a soda?” the Canadian just usually says, “Yes, please.”

A Short History of Dandelion and Burdock

Dandelion and Burdock is a traditional English soft drink. This alcohol free drink is the cousin of the American equivalent, root beer. This popular drink is made by many soft drinks companies and is sold in both bottled and canned varieties. Here is an overview of the history of Dandelion and Burdock.


Dandelion and Burdock has a surprisingly long history with the earliest record of the drink being made and drunk as early as 1265. Taking a walk on a country road one day, Saint Thomas Aquinas prayed to God asking him for inspiration. He made a drink from the first plants that he found. It just so happened that these plants were dandelion and burdock, so the soft drink was born. However, the drink was likely to have been very much different to the drink that people today know as Dandelion and Burdock. It may not have been as sweet as refined sugars wouldn’t have been used. If any sweetening substances were used at all, these were more likely to have been honey or fruit sugars. It is also possible that the Dandelion and Burdock of the time would contain alcohol due to the way in which it was brewed.

Ben Shaw’s

It wasn’t until 1898 that Dandelion became closer to the drink that people now know. Ben Shaw’s was founded in 1871 and they began to create lots of popular soft drinks that are still drunk today. Also around this time, carbonated drinks became popular and there was an increase in the manufacture of this type of soft drink. Ben Shaw’s began to make Dandelion and Burdock in 1898 and this means that they are the longest producer of this particular strong drink. They were also the first soft drink manufacturer to sell their drinks canned and this included Dandelion and Burdock. This move toward soft drinks as they are now known took place in 1959 and meant that people could have individual servings of the drink instead of sharing a larger bottle.

A Depleting Market

Although Dandelion and Burdock is still a popular soft drink today, its popularity has fallen somewhat to the wayside due to drinks, such as Coca-Cola, that are international favorites.  However, Dandelion and Burdock continues to be manufactured by many well-known soft drinks companies, such as Ben Shaw’s and Barr’s, as well as being found in the major supermarkets. Also, many boutique drinks companies make their own versions of this traditional English drink.

Powerade Mountain Blast Energy Drink Review

POWERade is another triumph from the Sunny Delight school of marketing. It has the colour (and indeed flavour) of Godzilla’s radioactive wee, and so in some twisted way we delude ourselves into thinking that something so obviously toxic can only possibly be good for us. Aided of course by the marketing people, most notoriously with product placement and ad campaigns based around the Matrix Reloaded, Matrix Revolutions and Enter the Matrix releases.

Still, the bottle is an effective design, ribbed so that you can grip it in one hand and drink from it while exercising. Obviously you should try and get a bottle with a sports cap rather than the flat top.

Fundamentally, an isotonic drink is one that contains the same kind of concentration of salts and sugar as the average human body. Yes, POWERade is basically just water with corn syrup and salt added. Corn syrup being the traditional base substance for fake blood in films, fact fans. You lose a lot of sodium as well as water when you sweat, so for all my carping, sports drinks are fulfilling a legitimate function.

Whether it’s legitimate enough to charge over a quid for a 500ml bottle (£1.25 in my newsagent, but prices vary a lot), though, is somewhat more debatable. Because that’s where the branding comes in. POWERade is produced by the fuzzy and lovable Coca Cola company, trying to muscle in on the similarly flourescent Gatorade’s market share (Gatorade being owned of course by Pepsi). POWERade was the official sports drink of the 1994 Olympics, as well as of various sports teams including the New Zealand, Australian AND English rugby teams. Talk about hedging your bets.

But when big brands battle it out with exciting advertising and thrilling celebrity endorsements (hello Wayne Rooney), it’s the consumer that loses out, paying over the odds for a bottle of sugary water that tastes like…


Yeah… it’s not the most unpleasant thing I’ve ever tasted (deep-fried calves’ brains, if you’re interested), but POWERade is not something anyone should ever even consider drinking for fun. An overpowering taste of sugar floods the mouth on first sip, and then you get a frankly foul salty aftertaste. There are sort of hints of some sort of fruit flavour, but very synthetic fruit.

In fact, it tastes pretty much exactly like the melty bit at the bottom of Freezer Pops. Only with added salt.

One thing I’ve never really felt from this product is any extra energy buzz or refreshment, at least no more so than from drinking water. Don’t be fooled by the advertising, this is not an energy drink in the same sense as something like Red Bull. It won’t keep you alert enough to pull all-nighters writing essays, and it won’t give you wings. It will make you feel slightly less exhausted in the hours after an intensive training session, and it will help you train longer than normal, but that’s a very different set of circumstances.

Now, there are those who say that this doesn’t matter, that you’re drinking it for the rehydration benefit rather than a taste experience. And that is a point of view, but it leads me to my conclusion.

Which is?

You should only even consider drinking this if you’re a dedicated athlete or sports person. By which I don’t mean someone who goes to the gym once a week for forty minutes until they feel a bit shagged out and then slopes off to the pub (me). By which I don’t mean someone who plays football at the weekend, generally with a hangover, and then goes for a curry (most of my mates). This is for people who train and compete until they’re drenched in sweat and need to recover enough energy to get home without passing out. Sports drinks should absolutely never be an image thing, because they’re so high in sugar and salt that you might as well just drink coke or beer or whatever.

Now, the website ( if you’re really bothered) will tell you that it’s suitable for sports participants in all sports at all levels, but that’s because they’re trying to shift as much product as possible.

When it comes right down to it, though, when I’ve been in need of rehydration products – during my stints of serious cycling, and occasionally even acting (you can laugh, but Oberon’s wig, cloak and leather trousers weren’t much fun on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of June under stage lights with no air conditioning), I’ve found Gatorade to be slightly cheaper, slightly better tasting, and just as effective.

Also, it’s an absolutely ridiculous name, that reminds me of Homer’s AppleSOURCE bars in the Simpsons. POWERade reeks of having been launched in the late 80s, and could do with a rebrand.

Melon Soup Canteloupe Honeydew Watermelon Chilled Soup

Melon soup adds a colorful touch of elegance to a summer luncheon, tailgate party, or picnic. Served chilled, it is as easy to pack in a cooler as it is to make for an after school snack for the kids. Full of summer’s bounty, melon soup can be a low calorie, low sodium and vitamin packed starter, an afternoon treat, or used as a novel cocktail mix. 

This is a forgiving recipe in which exacting measurements are not necessary. An average sized cantaloupe yields about 3 cups of fruit, a honeydew slightly more and of course watermelons vary drastically in size, color and flavor. Feel free to experiment with combining ingredients by smell, texture and flavor, it will still turn out well. The yogurt gives the melon soup a slightly tart flavor and builds the nutritional base with low fat, dairy based protein. Preparation time is only about 15 minutes.


3 cups canteloupe, chopped into large chunks

3 cups honeydew melon, chopped into large chunks

3 Tbl sugar

juice of 1/2 lemon, (about 2 Tbl)

2 Tbl fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup orange juice or, grappa (sweet Italian brandy)

1/4 cup honey or agave nectar

1 cup yogurt

2 Tbl yogurt or creme fraiche for garnish 

8 – 10 mint leaves for garnish,


Place the chopped melon, sugar, lemon juice and mint leaves into a blender and puree until just small chunks are left, about 1 minute. Add the orange juice or grappa, honey or agave nectar and yogurt and blend for about 1 more minute. Pour into a glass pitcher and keep chilled until ready to serve. Garnish with a small dollop of yogurt or creme fraiche and a mint leaf. Makes about 8 to 10 cups. Keeps for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Melon soup is excellent served as is, or with prosciutto wrapped bread sticks, chunks of ham, or grilled chicken. Watermelon can be used in place of the cantaloupe and honeydew for a variation. Sweeteners such as Splenda can be substituted for the sugar without affecting texture.

As a cocktail mixer, melon soup is versatile and easy to use. Some may choose to omit the yogurt and honey. Light rum can be added over the rocks, or blended with ice for a frozen drink. Vanilla or fruit flavored vodka mixed with melon soup makes a tasty martini. The mint leaves or melon balls on a cocktail stick make an attractive garnish.

Starbucks to Compete with Nestle and Green Mountain

Starbucks has announced the company plans to sell a single-serve coffer maker. The name of the machine is the Verismo™ System, and the coffee giant indicates consumers can use this machine to recreate the Starbucks experience.

With this new product, consumers can make single-cup servings of Starbucks® Caffé Lattes, espresso, and brewed coffee from the comforts of home.

“Starbucks is passionate about coffee and passionate about innovation,” says Jeff Hansberry, Starbucks president, Channel Development in a company press release  . “We are entering a highly dynamic and burgeoning market at a premium position, and we will win on quality and technology.”

The machine has made its debut this week, and is available on, however, the coffeemaker won’t be available in brick and mortar stores for another few weeks. The company said in October it plans to sell the product in participating Starbucks stores and “select high-end specialty” stores, although the company did not share which stores the coffeemaker would be available at for purchase.

It comes in a variety of colors including black, silver, burgundy and champagne. There will be two different models, the higher-end version will have additional features. The coffeemaker is priced between $199 – $399, depending on which version is purchased.

“For more than 41 years, we have been committed to bringing exceptional coffee and espresso beverages to our customers,” says Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO, in a press release  . “We are applying that passion and commitment, once again, to the fastest growing segment of the coffee market, the multi-billion-dollar premium single cup segment, with the introduction of a breakthrough at-home Starbucks® coffee experience that is second to none. What we are bringing to market today has been impossible until now.”

With this debut, Starbucks is creating competition in the market for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc and Nestle SA, two companies that currently dominate the single-cup coffee market. According to Reuters (courtesy of Chicago Tribune  ), Green Mountain’s Keurig machine maintains a healthy 75 percent of the U.S. market, while Nestle SA enjoys a 35 percent global market share. How the new Starbucks machine will impact this market remains to be seen.

Over the past two years, Starbucks has made significant strides to stretch beyond selling its popular coffees. To date the company has opened a juice bar, specialty tea store, and is selling wine and beer in some select markets. Another recent announcement shared by the coffee giant is the company is piloting   recycling old coffee grinds and stale muffins into other products, such as laundry detergent.

The Impact of Basil Downy Mildew on Italian and Thai Food in the us

Italian food typically uses sweet basil, while Thai basil is generally preferred in preparing Thai food.

The blight affecting Italian and Thai food is the dangerous basil downy mildew disease, which has recently developed an outbreak in the United States, including some eastern states, such as New Jersey, and New York, as well as, the southern state of Florida.

What does the basil downy mildew disease look like? The first evidence of this blight occurs when the top of the leaf starts to turn yellow. Underneath the basil leaves, the spores appear darker in color, to almost black, showing the growth and spread of this disease on the basil plant.

Basil downy mildew can quickly spread to other plants when the wind picks the spores up dispersing the spore particles through the air. This scenario is especially frightening to those gardeners and restaurants, which rely heavily on basil for their food preparation, particularly in their pesto sauce.

Italian pesto sauce is traditionally made with fresh basil as the key ingredient, along with extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and pine nuts.  Traditional pesto sauce is mainly green, although a red pesto sauce, using sun-dried tomatoes is another variety that has increased in popularity.

The basil downy mildew blight greatly impacts the preparation of Thai food, since Thai cuisine is known primarily for using fresh basil, rather than dried herbs as their main ingredient.

Thai red and green curries, soups, and salads all rely on large quantities of fresh Thai basil for their recipes. Thai food attributes the unusual basil flavor in many of their dishes to Thai basil, which resembles sweet basil in appearance, but has a distinct anise flavor.

Since many of the authentic Italian cuisine and signature Thai dishes rely on fresh basil as a primary ingredient in their recipes, the basil downy mildew disease could have a negative effect on the overall preparation and service of these dishes.

This plant blight can affect both professionally prepared food, and food people enjoy making themselves at home.  Fresh basil is almost always preferred, in lieu of dried herbs, for a richer and better tasting quality of seasoning.

If the basil downy mildew becomes widespread many people will feel the repercussions in terms of food preparation. If a shortage of basil threatens the local grocery store, changes will have to be made in substituting the fresh basil , for a dried version of the herb, changing the preferred taste and quality of many authentic Italian and Thai cuisine choices.

Some people have even chosen to harvest all of their basil and make pesto ahead of time, then freeze it, to avoid losing their entire fresh basil crop. Avid pesto fans don’t want to lose their key ingredient of using fresh basil in their sauce, or those individuals who prefer sprinkling fresh basil on the top of their favorite Italian or Thai dishes.

Basil downy mildew can threaten the fresh basil crop if this blight continues to grow, affecting many authentic Italian and Thai food cuisines that depend on using fresh basil.

Is Mountain Dew Addictive

Enjoyable, yes absolutely, Mountain Dew is an awesome drink, but taste and preference does not create an addiction.  Unless you specifically buy “caffeine free” Mountain Dew, it does contain caffeine which is an addictive substance.  But for Mountain Dew to be “addictive” would confuse the issue of chemical dependence versus delivery system.  Like a delivery truck, a delivery system is simply the substance that contains a driver (in this case caffeine) that follows a road into the body.

If a delivery truck were in an accident would we blame the truck or the truck driver for that accident? Naturally, barring some massive mechanical failure, it is the fault of the driver for causing an accident.  That is why we get angry with, not the company that makes the truck, the tire company for letting the truck roll, or the gas station where the fuel was purchased that operates the engine.  A truck without a driver, and again barring some massive mechanical failure, would not cause an accident.  The driver is added to the truck and changes a harmless piece of machinery into a powerful object.  The same can be said for the addictive chemicals added to otherwise innocuous substances.  Caffeine is the driver that is added to the vehicle called Mountain Dew.  Yes, caffeine is addictive, but Mountain Dew is not.

Looking at addiction, it is dependence and desire for a chemical, and that chemical is obtained through some form of a delivery system. Are heroin addicts addicted to needles? Are crack addicts addicted to glass pipes?  The answer in each of these cases is no, the delivery system is not the source of the addiction.  The chemicals that are obtained through those delivery systems are the source of the addiction.  The delivery system is just the method for getting those chemicals into the body, and although we can argue that those chemicals should not be used, the fact remains that they are, that people enjoy using them, and they will continue using those delivery systems to get that chemical.  The difference here is taste and preference, in addition to other market factors, that can shape the delivery system someone uses. 

People have addictions, some of them since childhood in the case of caffeine.  While many people drink Mountain Dew, there are others who drink Coke, Dr. Pepper, or one of the various and plentiful other caffeinated beverages.  The results are the same; the choice of beverage is just a matter of taste and preference in how they receive their caffeine.  It’s the same as a heroin addict who uses clean needles each time, one that reuses needles, or shares needles, or has found a way besides injection to get the chemical that they are dependent upon.  In the end the result is the same with whatever delivery system a person chooses.  Just because someone has a taste and preference for a flavor in that delivery system, does not mean that that delivery system is therefore addictive.

When should you Drink Coke and when should you Drink Pepsi

Living in Atlanta, it is patently obvious that there is NO occasion when one should drink Pepsi. All good, god-fearing Americans are Coca-Cola drinkers. Around these parts, we start drinking the mighty Coke from an early age. Seeing a youngster wandering around in a fresh white diaper and taking a slug of the dark drink from his bottle is as much as part of the landscape around here as is the Kudzu that covers our magnolia trees.

We also know that only communist soccer-lovers would ever drink that other brand. I’m not even sure how I’d even get my hands on any of the Pepsi stuff to begin with. Sure as heck you couldn’t order it at a restaurant around here. Maybe you could go to an all night grocery store and hope nobody saw you buying the stuff, but why would anyone take that kind of risk? I can just see myself getting caught with a bottle of Pepsi by my family. Trying to explain to my mom that I was just curious – the sobbing and yelling – nope, don’t need that kind of drama in my life.

I’ll just close by quoting my mom’s favorite sayings, most of which are also stuck to the back bumper of our car: support our troops, Jesus loves you, Say no to drugs, and drink Coca-Cola (we don’t have a sticker for that yet).

Product Reviews Sangaria Ramune

Once again I have taken a voyage to’s Japanese section to taste their wares. This time, I decided to sample a Japanese soft drink. The reviews on the product page made me a little skeptical at first. It was allegedly a “faint knockoff of Sprite…” I attempted to read a few more reviews before making my final purchase. Other users also commented on the faint reminder of Sprite, but also how refreshingly good it was compared to American soft drinks.I decided then it was now, or never. Even though I personally assumed it would taste like flavored water or club soda, I made a very wise decision in deciding to try it anyway.

A few days (and a week) later, my double order of Ramune soft drink arrived. Thanks to the freezing cold weather, it was also perfectly chilled and ready for a taste test. The bottle itself is a challenge to get in to. Many of comsumers who had tried it made sure to let this be known. It’s actually very hard to explain. To open the bottle, you have to push down on a clear marble on the top of the bottom. An opener is provided with the bottle. It’s a small, plastic neon green thing; and you’d expect it to do nothing. Given a little force, the bottle opens with a smacking sound and white (yet safe) steam rises from the opened container.

Let me tell you; the first sip is what will get you hooked. Not only is this soft drink healthy; (little sugar, few carbs)but it is just the right amount of sweet, fizzy, and a little tart. It’s not as sugary or as strong as some of the lemon-lime sodas we have here in America. (I repeat this because it is true to the comments made on the page.) I was totally amazed. I am a true to life sugar fanatic. This light hint of sweetness was perfect for me. Some people may say it is a little bland; but I’ve also tested this on family members with whom I thought would say the same. my thirteen-year old cousin (who has a sweet tooth compatible with mine) absolutely loved them as much as I did. Since the flavoring isn’t as powerful as most things he drinks, I actually thought he’d throw it out. All in all, Sangaria Ramune soft drink is quite the Japanese treat.

Health of Artificially Sweetened Soft Drinks

Just think of the word “artificial”, meaning that it isn’t natural. It is very hard to see how this can be more healthy than a substance that is natural, and which the body breaks down in a natural way.

The fact is that in many cases, artificial sweeteners are not only less healthy, they are actually dangerous. Several have already been banned, but not until many people consumed them.

An excellent example is aspartame, found in NutraSweet and other products. Originally aspartame was for many years blocked for use by the FDA. About 10% of aspartame is methanol (wood alcohol), which breaks down into formic acid and formaldehyde once inside the body. Both of these are toxic. The amount of methanol alone in a standard soft drink is many times higher than the recommended consumption level. In effect, people drinking it are poisoning themselves!

“Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen, causes retinal damage, interferes with DNA replication, and causes birth defects. ” source:

In fact, people have used aspartame as a very effective ant poison! This might not be the safest product to use as a sweetener in soft drinks.

Contrast this with sugar, which is metabolized and broken down into it’s constituent parts: Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen, all of which are normally found in a healthy human body in far greater concentrations than in the sugar. This said, due to the complexity of the table sugar molecule, it isn’t broken down easily. However, the same cannot be said of fruit sugar or fructose, which IS broken down easily, though there are still problems.

With just the one example it is pretty easy to see that artificial sweeteners pose much more of a health threat than sugar. They definitely aren’t healthier than soft drinks containing sugar.

Honey is yet another natural and healthy sweetener. It can be used in soft drinks as well as drinks such as tea, without the problems associated with artificial sweeteners that contain chemicals. It is strange that people would love the idea of organically produced fruits and vegetables, and yet would drink soft drinks containing chemicals they are trying to avoid.

Isn’t it amazing that man keeps on trying to produce something ‘better’ than what mother nature already produces, yet even though we’ve never succeeded to date, we keep trying? The shame is that products that are so dangerous are forced upon people who don’t even know it. They are added to the soft drinks that are consumed, though the consumer is often totally unaware of it. Often times they are even wooed by phrases like “low calorie” or “zero calorie”. People need to become more aware of what constitutes natural and artificial sweeteners.