Tips for Bagging your Groceries

Bagging up groceries is always a problem especially if the supermarket is busy. One can be pressurised into rushing and food items can be squashed and battered by the time one reaches home.

How can one bag groceries so they come to no harm during transit from the supermarket to the home?

First if you buying frozen goods during the summer months it might be a good idea to either carry a cool box in the car or buy a cool bag. Cool bags are sold in almost all supermarkets these days and are not terribly dear to buy.

So one has a cool box or cool bag handy and your in the process of pushing the trolley around the store. It might be a good idea to place all the tinned items at one end of the trolley, followed by bottles and frozen goods. Next fruits that cannot be squashed easily like apples, melons and oranges etc.  Lighter goods like bread, cheeses and yogurts should be placed behind these. Last to go in the trolley is soft goods like some breads, tomatoes and especially eggs.

If one has the trolley loaded correctly when you reach the check out you can place the good on the conveyor belt in order that they might be packed. Tinned items can go in one or two bags without damage. The important thing is not to overweight the bag. Bottles can be carried back to the car lose in the trolley or again packed in a couple of bags.

The frozen goods can go straight into the cool bag or carried lose in the trolley to be placed directly into a cool box in the car. Next pack the heaviest items like cheese and fruit into a bag. If there is space at the top of the bag you might consider filling it with a light item like a loaf of bread. Vegetables like tomatoes will need to be packed with other light items.

Always put bleaches, washing powders and the like in their own bag away from food in case of leakage.

If you have purchased eggs make sure you know which bag they are in so it can be handled gently back to the car.  Lastly when you return to the car, remember if you have a cool box, to plug it to the cigar lighter socket. This is in order to keep your frozen items in good condition until you reach home.

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Temperature and Wines

It is extremely important to serve a wine at the correct temperature. It is not enough to open a bottle, pour wine in a glass and swallow it in one gulp. Wine is probably the only drink to talk about before tasting and after drinking or at least after the first sip. There is a whole ritual that anyone interested in wine can observe even though he is not an expert.. As we talk about the best temperature we are not meaning herein the so-called picnic wine to quench one’s thirst, the one you can drink at the top a dune overlooking the sea when the sun sets before crunching greedily on a sandwich.

We are talking about the choice of a correct temperature and therefore the atmosphere in which we find ourselves namely the dining-room. The dishes are known. The hostess has made her choice and will be cooking the dishes. Eventually it might be an important family gathering and a restaurant owner may have been called in to deliver the meals, quite a luncheon then.

However and whatever the way meals will be coming from out of your own cooker or from an external specialist, you have decided to serve your own wines because you have some good bottles lying in your cellar. Even though you are not a specialist you have indeed some knowledge over the fact that there must be a good match between the meals and your wines. Your reputation is at stake in a way !

 Ideally, you will proceed as follows:

 – A few days before this “luncheon”, you will take care of your selection. It is assumed that you already have the wines in your cellar or that you will be purchasing them from a fine wine-shop in your district..

– The day before the meal, bottles must be brought from the cellar into the dining-room and be put up on a furniture. 48 hours would be preferable so that the wine can adapt itself to the room temperature at least for the first 24 hours. Of course we are talking about red wines that need not be refreshed !

 – The day the ceremony open the bottles and put the corks back onto the bottle neck. This is meant to aerate the liquid and have the bouquet expand. Let us not forget that he wine has been kept locked up for a very long period or several years as may be the case. This operation is meant to have the bouquet develop and the temperature of liquid matching slowly that of the room. However there is a warning: our aim is not to overheat the wine just because the room temperature is 23°C since the hostess is cold, has got a cold or a headache and needs the heaters to be turned on. We are talking about a normal temperature, namely 19 or 20 degrees. There is no question of overheating a red wine

 – Let us summarize now the conditions against each existing categories (red, white, rosy, sweet wines, champagnes):

– red wines like Bordeaux: between 16 and 19 ° C. At this temperature, the claret will be releasing a pleasant bouquet.

– light red wines like Beaujolais: between 11 and 13° C. It is practically the cellar temperature. Therefore, you will not bring the wines out of cellar 48 hours in advance as said before but will take them in the dining-room a few minutes before service. In doing so, we will avoid trying to refresh them a bit in cold water.

– white sweet wines like Sauternes: between 5 and 8.

– dry white wines: serve between 6 and 12 ° C.

– rose wines: same as dry white wines as white and possibly at 12 °C if the alcohol level is high in the bottle (ie: 13% by volume indicated on the body-label).

It is important to treat the wine correctly from beginning to end and thus avoid the refrigerator if you want to chill a wine (maximum 2 hours), avoid ice cubes, overheated rooms, avoid placing a red wine near a heat source to accelerate its rise in temperature. Do not put a white or rose wine in the freezer to accelerate cooling! As far as white wines are concerned, whether dry white or sweet white, rose or champagne, use an ice bucket filled with cold water.

– champagne is also to be served between 6 and 8 degrees.

If you follow these instructions you will be praised for your knowledge on wines and your wife will certainly be honored with compliments on the service of meals along with wines. Your reputation will be growing as a wine specialist and in the long run people will know that upon crossing your doorstep that “inn” is indded a good place for food and wines.

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The taste of coffee

I have never particularly liked coffee. I know this is a contrary opinion. Coffee has ascended to near nectar-of-the-gods status in certain quarters, its cost reflecting that reputation, not to mention the enormous diversity of choice currently available. Somehow, the eminence of this delicacy escapes me. Coffee for me is an abomination. It goes through my system like some infernal drain cleaner, flushing me quite thoroughly.

When I was a boy, coffee drinking was strictly for adults. In order to imbibe, one had to attain the ripe age of fourteen before being permitted to taste the proscribed elixir. One thing, coffee always fascinated me, probably due to its illicit nature, forbidden fruit and all that. Moreover, it had a wonderfully savory aroma brewing in the mornings. What with bacon in the skillet and coffee on the boil, breakfast was one of the highlights of culinary experience in my house.

I would come to my abhorrence of coffee a bit later in life. When I went to sea, coffee was a time-honored ritual. With lots of time to spend between watches, seamen have a natural affinity for the restorative qualities of a good hot cup of coffee. Shipboard coffee runs the gamut of quality, reputedly made quite well on a number of voyages on which I participated. That said, the quality was lost on me, as it typically tasted quite foul.

My mum’s coffee reportedly was not half bad. I remember clatches at our house in which the guests were exceedingly complimentary and given the tenor of their remarks, this was not some idle prattle but genuine appreciation. Whatever my mother’s gastronomic shortcomings as an Irish-American, she didn’t exactly have a long tradition of culinary excellence from which to draw, she could at least make a good cup-of-Joe.

Tea, for me, has always served as a reliable stand-in. I enjoy many kinds of tea but I have a particular preference for Earl Grey tea. I do not countenance brewed beverages that simulate tea. Tea should be made from leaves of the tea plant and I mean the leaves not twigs (e.g., Koukicha, for all its so-called medicinal attributes, it still tastes like its name i.e., twig tea). Although the choice of tea over coffee may not address the caffeine issue, it still is highly preferable in my world. I know I am sure to hear opinions to the contrary on this matter.

I digress; let us return to our story. On the morning of my fourteenth birthday, I awoke to the familiar fragrance of breakfast. Knowing what awaited me I hurriedly dressed and sat at the table assured of my entry to the world of adults. The coffee was poured; the scent rose to my nostrils; the die was cast. I sipped and blech was my immediate reaction. Surely, this foul tasting muck couldn’t be the long-awaited panacea of my dreams. I was not prepared for this ill-tasting nostrum.

Coffee had let me down. Not unlike many of the so-called rites of passage that would come later in life, the proof was not in the pudding; disappointment ruled the day. To this day, whenever a server comes around with a round of coffee and orange juice (I have a similar aversion to OJ, preferring apple juice), I defer and think of that fateful morning.

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Tips and Tricks to Make Vegetables Taste better

Convincing Your Picky Eaters to Love Their Vegetables

Everyone has that picky eater who just insists they hate vegetables. It might be the “meat and potatoes” guy who refuses to eat asparagus, or the super finicky six year old that just isn’t going to budge no matter what you do.  Dinner time becomes a frustrating battle in serving a healthy meal that will actually be eaten, rather than simply pushed around the plate.  Whatever shape or size your challenging eater comes in, there are ways to get them on board with eating more nutritiously.

The biggest challenge of getting your family to love their vegetables is taste.  Everyone has their likes and dislikes, but even more, if what you have served is a limp, tasteless blob on the side of the plate, no one is going to be excited about it.  Offering up tasty alternatives will make a difference.  Try using spices and herbs. For example, drizzle a little olive oil and garlic salt over asparagus and lightly broil it, leaving it to a slightly crunchy texture.  A little lemon juice squeezed over your vegetables will give a light, refreshing taste to what might otherwise be bland.  If your guy likes spicy foods, try adding a few sliced jalapenos, or a sprinkling of red pepper flakes.  The key is to know what your family likes, and try alternatives that meet what they like. Try a little honey mixed in with sliced or baby carrots for a sweet alternative.

Try disguising your vegetables.  Add finely grated carrot to your spaghetti sauce or soup base. As well, crush your tomatoes instead of chopping them when you add them to spaghetti sauce.  That child that hates tomatoes, but loves ketchup won’t even notice them.  Try zucchini bread as an alternative to banana bread. Don’t tell them what they are eating. Give it a fun, funky name – Funky Monkey Bread, or something similar, that will delight your child’s imagination. Puree vegetables to add to sauces, soups, stews or even pasta dishes for an extra punch of nutrition that will also hide the flavor and texture of that much hated vegetable.  Another example to think about: puree cooked cauliflower and mix it in with your mashed potatoes, or finely chop spinach and add to a homemade dip.

Some other alternatives may be stuffing vegetables such as squash boats, peppers, tomatoes, mushroom caps, or even artichokes.  Try slicing a yellow squash in half, scoop out the center to make a “boat”, then finely dice the squash, mix with a little bread crumb, some crumbled bacon, a sprinkle of cheese, and stuff the boats, then bake it just until the cheese melts. 

While frying might not be the healthiest alternative, try something new as a special treat.  Lightly coat long green beans with your favorite wet batter and fry them just until the batter is golden brown, then serve with your family’s favorite ranch dressing or dipping sauce.  This kind of compromise will have your family excited about boring, tasteless green beans for once.

Sometimes with children it’s all about presentation.  If you serve them cooked, soggy vegetables, it may simply be a textural issue for them. Small children are learning all about the things they do and don’t like.  If your child doesn’t like cooked squash, try slicing it and serving it raw with ranch dressing for dipping.  Arrange raw vegetables on a plate in the shape of a smiley face, or something else that will bring a smile to your child’s face.  You are more likely to get them excited about eating that carrot for once.

Finely diced onions and mushrooms, sautéed with a little minced garlic is a great topping alternative to grilled steak or fish.  Plus, the aroma of that trio will have your family’s mouth watering, even if they claim they don’t like eating them.  Thinly slice eggplant, squash and zucchini, brush it with a little olive oil, or for a different taste, try sesame oil, or a hot/spicy oil and grill just until they have those nice grill marks on each side.  In other words, try other cooking alternatives.  A very light stir fry of crunchy vegetables mixed with your family’s favorite herbs and spices may go over much better than steamed.  Experiment.  Try tossing in a few chopped pecans or walnuts.  If something doesn’t work for you, try another alternative.

The key is don’t let past frustrations force you to give up.  Think about what your family enjoys and find ways to successfully introduce healthier alternatives in a way that is friendly to your family.  It may take several attempts and some major failures, but eventually you will find what brings them to the table and makes your entire dinner experience a much happier and healthier one.

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The best Tunasalad is a Salad Nicoise

The best tunasalad is a salad nicoise , a real french salad that is rich in garlic anchovies and lovely green beans. For the best result use fresh tuna stakes if you can get them . But if you can not use tinned tuna .

You will need.

3 tomatoes

225g/8oz green beans

200g/7oz tuna

 ½ a red onion

1 little gem lettuce

6 anchovies

2 eggs

8 black olives

1tbsp white wine vinegar

3tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove

Fresh parsley and chives

salt and pepper  

There is a lot to do for this salad so start by getting some hot water on the stove. Then cook you beans . As soon as they are cooked get them in to cold water to stop them from cooking and so they stay nice and green.Then take you eggs and place then in a pan of boiling water and boil them . You want them hard boiled but not to hard boiled . For a real authentic look you want the very centre to have a little under cooked look. once they are cool cut them length ways.  

Now take your tomatoes and quarter then. slice your onions as thin as you can and break up you lettuce. Add your olives and anchovies to the bowl. Dice your anchovies up a little before you add then to the bowl or some one will get all the anchovies and some one will not get any.  

 Now to make the dressing crush the garlic very finely and add the olive oil and vinegar to the mix. season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and then add the finely chopped parsley and chives. Whisk them all together and then add them to the bowl with the tomatoes onions and lettuce.Take your beans and dry them off and get them in to the bowl.  

Now it is up to you haw you wish to have your tuna . If it is fresh you could have it just char-grilled in the very top of the salad . Or you could have it precooked and chilled and just mix it in . Or if you have to just take it out of the tin and add it to the salad.   Toss together all the things in the bowl and then arrange them in a large salad bowl. Make sure that you have a good mix of all the components of the salad all threw the bowl and finally finish with the hard boiled eggs on the top.   

On a warm summers day this is a real taste of the south of France on a plate. 

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The Wines of Burgundy France

France is well-known for its wines. Many of the world’s best known high quality wines come from France. It is no wonder that French wines are very popular as this country has a long history of making wine. French winemakers have been constantly perfecting their craft since ancient times. They still continue to do so. And the wines of the Burgundy region are amongst the finest in the whole world.

Brief history

The region of Burgundy has a tradition of winemaking dating back to ancient times. The oldest known documents mentioning the local wine date as far back as 312 AD. However, it is probable that vineyards could be found here even further into the past.

Of course, the production of wine did not cease after that, though the next known documents come from later medieval times. At those times, the wine mentioned in documents was mostly made by monks. However, it is almost certain that many other landowners grew grapes as well. Vineyards of Burgundy were indeed very important as king Charles VI enacted an edict specifying boundaries of the region as a wine producing area in 1416. The production continued since then and Burgundy still remains one of the most famous and important wine producing regions in France.

Vineyards and production

Vineyards cover a huge area of the Burgundy region. In fact, the official website devoted to local wines states that vineyards cover an area of nearly 29 500 hectares. This is indeed a lot. The size of production is equally as high. The region produces about 200 million bottles of wine a year.

There are several varieties of grapes being grown on local vineyards. Some of them are more important than others. For example, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chardonnay and Aligote are the most significant varieties. On the other hand, Tressot and Cesar varieties are not as widely used.

Variety of wines

There are 112 wine businesses in the Burgundy region producing many different types of wine, though the number of individual vine growers is several times higher than that. Search on the official website revealed close to 1000 different vine growers.

Official website

An interesting fact is that there is an official website devoted to wines of the Burgundy region. There you can find a lot of information about the history of vine growing in the region, grape varieties, process of making wine, different types of wine, local vine growers and their wines. Checking out the website is a must for every fan of the wine.

To conclude, wine has been produced in Burgundy since ancient times. Local vineyards produce huge amounts of high quality wines every year. There is even an official website devoted to this region’s wines. This website provides a lot of interesting and useful information.


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Taking a look at Oktoberfest Beers

Just to prove the fact that our beer palates can evolve with time, and sometimes for no discernable reason, I have come to more fully appreciate a beer style that has heretofore been one of my least favorite seasonal offerings. I’m talking about the German, or German-inspired, Oktoberfest (Marzen) beers. These amber lagers always had two things working against them for my personal affection – they’re lagers and they’re amber. This combination, quite frankly, generally always evokes one thought in my mind; boring.

There is exception to every rule, of course, and I have never gone so far as to say that all lagers, and all amber beers in general are boring, but I certainly have counted them among the more pedestrian of beer styles. This has not been an arbitrary assessment either; I’ve sampled plenty of amber ales and lagers that have only strengthened my conviction in this regard. I am an ale man, through and through or at least I was.

Enter the Oktoberfest beer. I don’t know what changed this year for me, but I have really grown to enjoy this fall favorite in a way I’d never enjoyed it before. Maybe I have sampled better examples of the style this year, or maybe I’ve grown to recognize subtleties of aroma and taste that have been lost on me in the past, I don’t know. Whatever it is, though, I’m thankful. The Oktoberfest style is a terrific session beer that also paired very well with a variety of foods and is flavorful enough to stand on it’s own – a particular distinction for a lager, in my opinion (at least a lager than is not a bock).

The first Oktoberfest beer I tried this year was from Millstream Brewing Company. This beer has remained my favorite of the lot so far. I can’t speak to just how closely this beer sticks to the nuanced criteria for a true Oktoberfest beer (noble hops, etc ), as I’m no authority on the style, but I do know that this beer is just plain tasty and in some ways reminds me more of a good nut brown ale than a lager. Here are my tasting notes on this one:

Pours a nice amber brown color with a bubbly light tan head. Active carbonation in the pint glass and thin rings of lacing are evident. The nose is of roasted malt, slightly nutty and a touch of floral hops. The palate is quite malty, with a pleasant nutty character that is , to me, not unlike a good nut brown ale. Well-balanced flavors and enough hop presence to keep this one on the dry side. Mouthfeel is medium, at best, and quite crisp and clean on the finish. This is certainly one of the better American-made Oktoberfest beers I’ve tried in recent memory.

I figure I’ve sampled a total of nine different O-Fest beers so far this year and am planning on a few others in the coming weeks, before I focus my attention more fully on some of the glorious strong and dark ales of winter for which I have a passion. I’ve greatly enjoyed broadening my horizons with this surprising lager. If you’re curious about the other examples of the style I’ve tried so far, here’s a list (in order of preference):

1. Millstream Oktoberfest Lager 2. Schlafly Oktoberfest 3. Beck’s Oktoberfest 4. Harpoon Oktoberfest 5. Paulaner Oktoberfest 6. Samuel Adams Oktoberfest 7. Spaten Oktoberfest 8. Leinenkugel Oktoberfest 9. Michelob Marzen

If you’ve had other O-Fest beers you particularly like, and think I need to add to my list, please let me know. Now that I have a newfound appreciation for this not-so-new beer style, I figure I have some catching up to do! If you’d like to find out more about the Oktoberfest celebration, and the accompanying beer style, start here.

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Sweetening Food and Drink without White Sugar or Artificial Ingredients

In today’s overwhelming environment of fatty and sugary foods, conditions such as diabetes have run rampant. Now, although this condition is mainly caused by a genetic predisposition, its overall predominance in today’s cultures is primarily involved with an overabundance of sugar. This can be granulated sugar, also known as table sugar, brown sugar, powdered or confectioner’s sugar, and even raw sugar.

This of course begs the question, ‘How do you sweeten your food and drink, without adding these sugars to them?” One way that works for you, the modern health-conscious cook, is to first start with ingredients that contain their own natural sweetness. Although fruits contain sugar, even in a high quantity, this sugar is fruitose, and ultimately it is handled better by the body. Many popular ‘sweet’ dishes can be made using a fruit base in order to give them the sweetness you want, without adding that extra white sugar that you would normally add.

An example is your standard, everyday Bolognese or Italian meat sauce. If you are one of those who like to make their sauce from scratch, you are already ahead of the game, as those fresh tomatoes actually contain some natural fruit sugars in them, and haven’t already had sugar added to them in the canning process. If you start your tomatoes stewing in a pot on the stove, first, peel them, as the skin of the tomato can be quite bitter and cancel out the natural sweetness. Instead of adding sugar to the stewing tomatoes, which is normally part of the basic process, instead try adding a fruit component, recommendations include some sweet berries, such as strawberries or raspberries to the mix. Alternatively, for those who don’t want to add actual fruit, you can substitute grape or apple juice, as long as it’s 100% no sugar added for your stewing liquid, and another good idea is to use roma and cherry or grape tomatoes as your base instead of your garden variety steak tomatoes. Traditional Italian red sauces actually were made with roma tomatoes and sweet roasted red bell pepper, and if you get the bell pepper when its really bright red, and maybe mix in some yellow or orange bell pepper as well, you may get plenty of sweetness for your palate.

 As can be imagined, by creating a sauce with sweet ingredients, you don’t need to add that extra tablespoon or more of sugar you might ordinarily be inclined to. Another often forgotten source of sweetness that is actually a staple in most cooking is the sweet onion. Many malign the onion, because of its strong flavor profile, and smell, but if you cook it down, and caramelize it in its own juices, there is a world of sweetness that is released in this simple and very healthy vegetable and aromatic. Just be sure not to burn your onions, because like any member of the Allium family, like garlic, they become very bitter and astringent once you burn them.

Now, you are hardly going to want to be adding onions to your coffee or tea to add sweetness, and fruit is not always the flavor you want in your drinks as well, although, in the right drinks, fruit can be quite refreshing, so your best bet when it comes to sweetening your beverages is your local honey. Local honey is recommended for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is from the area, so because it was cultivated with the local plant life as its source, the honey helps build up your immune system to allergens in the air. Secondly, also because it comes from a local source, the sugars developed in the honey are more naturally handled by the digestive tract of those who live in the area and are exposed to its foods. Now, the best way to add honey to a drink is when it is hot, obviously, as colder drinks will tend to cause the honey to solidify and congeal on you, however, many cold drinks can originally be prepared warm, with the honey, before refrigerating them. Conversely, colder drinks that include honey can have just the honey heated slightly before adding it, or can be blended drinks where the blender actually uses the high speed mixing to loosen the honey until its incorporated into your drink.

By judicious use of honey, fruits, and other sweet ingredients, like onions or sweet peppers, you can infuse your dishes with a natural sweetness that is much better in this diabetic plagued society, where there is already a large amount of sugar added to preserve our prepared and prepackaged foods. Also by making fresh whenever possible, you can control the overall amount of sugar you take in.

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Simple Chicken with Red Wine Sauce

Absolutely Delicious…I created this recipe from looking at the mushrooms in my fridge I had purchased the day before.  Chicken and mushrooms how can i change it up?  When I began slicing the mushrooms I said what goes with mushrooms and chicken?  Wine of course…then I just got started cooking and that is how this dish was created.  Not only is it delicious but the presentation is beautiful especially on top of white rice.  It is a great weeknight meal or a meal for guests.  Either way make it, enjoy it and finish off the rest of the wine.  

4 Chicken Breasts

Olive Oil

1/2 Red Onion (diced)

2 Sprigs Rosemary


2 Packages Mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)

1 1/2 Glasses Red Wine


1/2 Cup Heavy Cream

Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil

Over medium heat add the onion and rosemary

Season with salt/pepper

Cook till translucent about 5 minutes

Add mushrooms re-season with salt/pepper

Add one glass of red wine

Cover and cook till mushrooms are tender about 12-15 minutes

Once mushrooms have cooked remove from pan and set aside with the remaining sauce

In a zip lock bag add 2 cups of flour, salt/pepper

Add chicken breasts, zip bag and coat chicken with flour

Remove from bag and place chicken in the same pan as used for the mushrooms

Add a little bit more olive oil and remaining wine

Cook on medium low heat till juices run clear and chicken is no longer pink inside

Once chicken is cooked add mushrooms and sauce back to pan

Bring to a boil and add cream

Cook till thickened about 5 minutes

Serve over rice

*Remember to discard the unused flour and the zip lock bag used for coating the chicken.  Wash you hands throughly after handling chicken* 

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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.”