Today I learned that in the US, “chilli powder” usually means a mild spice blend intended for use in the dish called “chilli”, not actual powdered chillies. This makes so much more sense; until now I’d always just assumed that cooking-enthusiast Americans must really like ultra-spicy food!

In retrospect, something that would’ve been really, really valuable to learn in Home Economics classes are all these words for food ingredients that mean different things in different countries. When I read a recipe that calls for something we don’t even say here, like “green onion”, I can look it up and work it out. But when we use the exact same word, just for something different, it can take me years to work out that what recipe writers mean by that word is different from what I mean by it! Imagine if we’d just had a few more weeks in Home Ec learning how to interpret recipes and a few less weeks cooking gross vegetable fritters…