Say what?

us_map_soda (1)


I hadn’t realized how long it’s been since I’ve lived in the US midwest until I watched an interview on TV last week.

A woman in Chicago was talking about the buying power of $2.00 in the late 18th century as opposed to 2016. “Back then, you could feed a family with two dollars,” she said. “Today you could maybe buy a good bottle of pop.”


Ask for a bottle of pop in some places and who knows what you’ll get?  I mostly got blank stares until I learned to call it “soda” in Boston.

  • In the midwest, people tend to refer to any sort of carbonated soft drink as “pop.”
  • In New England, Florida (except for the Panhandle!),  California, and a few other states, it’s called “soda.”
  • In the southern states, it’s just called “Coke,” regardless of what the label says.

It seems that there aren’t many regional differences any more, not with every mall and shopping center populated with the same stores. So I enjoy these regional terms and expressions across the country.

I sometimes have to translate menus for my friends when they visit. For example:

What would you call this:


A milkshake, you say? Well, here it all depends on the ingredients.

A milkshake has milk and syrup (no ice cream), but add some ice cream to the mix and you get a “frappe.” That’s pronounced “frap” (rhymes with “trap”) in case you want to order one.

Of course, you might want to order a “grinder” to go with your frappe, but that’s a topic for another post.

7 thoughts on “Say what?

      1. That really is the truth. I am up in the Panhandle and we are nothing even like Jacksonville of Orlando, which are about 6-8 hours away by car. But I am not in Alabama!


  1. Yep. Definitely soda here in LA. Once, at the restaurant where I used to work, a guest asked me for some pop and I had no idea what he was talking about (but I am Italian, so I get a pass).


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