Why Isn’t the Entree at the Beginning? And Other Culinary Things We Don’t Understand

US vs AustraliaI had a question from a reader on my new EXPAT journey:

Question: What was the strangest food item or most difficult culinary challenges you faced when you moved here? Good question Lucy and a really easy one to answer.

When we came here for the first time, before moving here, I was pregnant with Miss Gremlin and Grand Master D was 3. We walked all over the city, I vomited in all the best hotel bathrooms. It was a great trip… well as great as you can feel when you’re 16 weeks pregnant and dragging a toddler everywhere.

It wasn’t the Kings first trip, he came all the time, setting up business and trying to get things moving for our move over here. I was oblivious or stupid or in that river in Egypt. I had no clue his real intention was to live here and I would never have agreed, wait, I didn’t agree! But here we are so I guess at some point he wore me down…As usual.

Anyway the thing that struck me as different, well weird and kinda stupid actually and for the first few meals I got pretty confused. The entree part of the meal. Now don’t get me wrong I studied high school French, I know a French word when I see one and I can pretty much work out the root and what it might mean. This word, the entree thing was a no brainer. We used that word in Australia all the time. Entree, entrance, beginning of meal…. right?

  • An entrée (/ˈɑːntr/ ahn-trayFrench “entrance”) is a dish served before the main course, or between two principal courses of a meal.[1][2][3]
  • The disappearance in the early 20th century of a large communal main course such as a roast as a standard part of the meal in the English-speaking world has led to the term being used to describe the main course itself in some areas.[4] This usage is largely confined to North America and it is unusual in most English speaking countries. However, this use is given by some British dictionaries[1][5][6] but not others.[7]
  • The term entrée is rarely used for an hors d’oeuvre, also called a “first course”, “appetizer” or “starter”. In France, however, the term “entrée”, a French word which means an entrance or beginning, always describes a first course, not the main course. In modern Australian usage, “entree” describes a starter, not a main course.

But we learned pretty quickly, not in America and ordered accordingly but I still to this day laugh about it every time we go out.

There are other differences, in Australia the humble coriander herb is just that, dried, crushed, seeds, fresh… All of it is coriander but not here. Here it’s cilantro when fresh and coriander when powdered or seeds. Huh?

Chilli is in a bowl and it’s meat with beans and mexican spices. In Australia chilli is the spicy pepper, like, you know Red Hot Chilli Peppers! Chopped chilli in jars, chilli flakes for your pizza. Chilli is chilli is chilli. Here it’s crushed red pepper flakes, spicy thai chilli, habernao or jalepeno peppers. All so very confusing. And that chilli dish? That’s Chilli Con Carne.

The supermarket is frought with challenges.Whatever you do, don’t ask fot the cordial for the kids unless you want ACS on your doorstep. Cordial in America is an alcoholic liqueur mixer, in Australia it’s a liquid concentrate sugary kids drink which we dilute with water, not unlike tang or crystal lite powders.

All the cheddar or tasty cheeses are yellow/orange. Its hard to fine sharp cheddar that’s white. How do they make that anyway? milk/cream is white… and making it into cheese doesn’t make it go yellow. What is that stuff? I try to stay away from it.

And the bread has sugar in it. You can taste it. It’s too sweet, you can get used to it but it’s not the same as nice bread from an Aussie bakery. And it never ever grows mold…. Hmmm makes you wonder about that wonder bread doesn’t it.

A Scone is a biscuit is a cookie ……How’s that for confusing…

Our tastes are evolving and we need less and less from the homeland but we are still often surprised by the things that go on here. It’s a perplexing place.

Got a question? Something you’ve always wanted to know?  A secret desire to learn more about Aussies?

Nothing’s too silly, I’ll answer anything, I promise not to laugh much… nah I can’t promise that but ask anyway 🙂 What have you got to lose? You might just learn something.


Comments 6

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  1. This is still my everyday life. We get Vermont White Cheddar from the deli to sub for Tasty or Coon. We search high and low for mustard and bread. the bread is still the big issue. We have gone to bakery after bakery… nothing. and the eggs. no egg has an orange yolk. And yes, the entree thing… that is mentioned every time we go out. Nothing is made the same either. Luckily we can get veg/pro mite shipped over, and pies and sausage rolls have been perfected in our kitchen. I have the admit, the Entree thing is really stupid.

  2. It’s so interesting to read about these differences. I really enjoy that we have no shortage of diversity in America. We can learn so much from each other. I see how confusing it is after reading your post. -And, I don’t know how we continue to eat bread that doesn’t mold. XD (LOL) I am one to seek out the farmers markets, organic markets and bakeries. However, I enjoy food as long as it tastes great, is fresh and well made.

    Thanks for visiting and linking to the Getting To Know You linky party. Happy Easter!

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