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A Queasy Dining Experience

April 20, 2013

cinnamon roll which is called a snail in California, USA, and a real snail on a plate and a coffee cup with lip print saying Property of Lemons R Us Café

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1. Ever heard a cinnamon roll called a snail before?

2. Do you have any funny names for food where you live?

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33 Comments leave one →
  1. April 20, 2013 5:14 PM

    I did some research, because my linguistic and etymological interests JUST won’t leave it alone. I don’t think the origins lie in California. See as well as the Wikipedia entry for Schnecken.

    “Schnecken” apparently means “snails” in German and was brought to the U.S. by Jewish immigrants. It’s still known in Germany by “Schnecke” (snail). Apparently, the name for this German variety of sweet bun was more broadly applied to other types of sweet buns, and became known outside of Philadelphia and Baltimore. The only firm reference I could find to sweet buns being called “snails” instead of “Schnecken” or “Schnecke” is the Cinnamon Snail, a vegan food truck that appears to operate in the metro New York/New Jersey area. They have their own website and were mentioned in the Gothamist.

    A reference in California has come a long, long way, then!


    • April 23, 2013 9:42 AM

      Thanks for your research, Jak. I’d never heard of a schnecken, but I can tell you this: I’m ready to sign on for a plateful right now!! They sound delicious.

      I’ve done some googling myself, and I’m ready to conclude that a “snail” is a pretty common term for a cinnamon roll– it certainly doesn’t appear to be unique to California. What inspired my post: the Word Power feature in an old Reader’s Digest. It featured words taken from the Dictionary of American Regional English (Harvard University Press). California was sited as the primary region where “snail” is used to denote a cinnamon roll.

      I should have been a bit more wary, since this same Word Power quiz included “hook Jack” as meaning “to skip school” in New England. I’ve lived in New England (specifically, New Hampshire) since 1979, and I’ve never heard that expression. Play hookey, yes; hook Jack, no! : )

      Many thanks for your kind comment and support.


  2. Lily in the Nova permalink
    April 20, 2013 5:33 PM

    Haha I’ve never heard of a cinnamon roll called a ‘snail’ before!

    I’ve always found ‘toad in the hole’ a bit of a funny name for food. Is rather tasty though! Must be a thing to give such appetising nicknames for our food 😛


    • April 23, 2013 9:47 AM

      Ha! Hi, Lily! Yes, you learn something new every day here at Ye Olde Armstrong Pastry Shoppe… : P

      Toad in the Hole!! That, in turn, is a new one for me. Not sure I’d’ve had the nerve to order same if I ever saw it on a menu, but since I now have your recommendation, I’m gonna go for it if I ever have the chance!! : )

      Always great to see you, thanks for stopping by!


      • April 23, 2013 8:17 PM

        The “toad in the hole” I learned was an egg cooked in the hole of a toasted bread slice. Actually, I learned the “Tuna del Monaco” variation first, which added a tuna-style gravy. Ooo. I think it’s delicious, but I guess my description doesn’t do it justice.


        • April 25, 2013 7:08 AM

          I wouldn’t worry about it, sir– it’s always very hard to do a toad justice. : )


  3. April 20, 2013 5:59 PM

    A snail roll? That sure doesn’t sum up the sugary-sweet concoction I love. Ewww!

    Bu, Mark, I’m sure if you were hanging out in a diner that you’d hear many odd names thrown around by the waitress to the cook that would have you in stitches. The only one that comes to mind right now is not appropriate for a family-friendly blog.


  4. April 20, 2013 6:00 PM

    That is so weird o.O

    I wouldn’t like to think of having to dive myself into a freshly baked snail….

    Love the illustration Mark! Though it looks like the snail may eat itself because it smells so delicious! Poor thing.

    I don’t know really of odd-named city-based foods here in London, but in the UK itself there is an English dish called Toad in the Hole: sausages in Yorkshire pudding batter, with vegetables and onion gravy.

    Personally I’m not a fan of it as I like my Yorkshires non-soggy, but for others it is yummy!


    • April 23, 2013 9:58 AM

      Freshly Baked Snails… yes, there’s something about that expression that depresses the ol’ appetite, I would say… : P

      And you’re right, I’m afraid I may have given that snail a bad idea. I’d hate to become the go-to blog for those interested in self-cannibalism… : (

      Hi, Sabine! and thanks for your lovely comment. We now have two mentions of Toad in the Hole, and I’m so glad you described it– you have definitely relieved the considerable anxiety that was going thru my mind… : )

      Delighted as always, and thank you for your non-soggy support!!


  5. April 21, 2013 6:56 AM

    A word we use for candy in New Zealand is lollies. Another is the word greasies – for fish and chips.


    • April 23, 2013 10:05 AM

      Ah! Many thanks for those excellent contributions. You have, coincidentally, summed up my own diet: candy and grease. I shan’t elaborate, I’m sure it would be setting a very bad example for a clean-living cyclist like yourself… : )

      Always good to see you, thanks for leaving tire tracks on my blog!


  6. April 21, 2013 8:03 AM

    Horehound Slugs It’s real, it’s New England and my mother loves them. Very old(e) type of candy but calling it a “slug” is a little less than appetizing…kind of a snail without the shell. I put a pic in my blog Top 10 Worst Excuses for Candy – Ever! The taste is medicinal in a more medicinal way than medicine.


    • April 23, 2013 10:59 AM

      Snails and Slugs… these aren’t mouth-watering delicacies, they’re mouth-closing delicacies!! : P

      You jogged a memory for me here. I used to work after school at a drugstore, stocking shelves and the like. There was a barrel of Horehound Drops that always used to be in the way. It wasn’t near the candy, which left one with the impression that it was medicine of a sort– a kind of cough drop, maybe. I never had the nerve to try one, and never saw anyone buy one. The name was off-putting enough without calling them slugs!! : )

      I enjoyed your take on the 10 Worst Candies, and many thanks for your good-humored comment!


      • April 23, 2013 8:18 PM

        I’ll say horehound is an acquired taste– and I’ve had both varieties. I much prefer them with cane sugar than corn syrup, however.


  7. April 21, 2013 12:16 PM

    Sadly we call them cinnamon rolls here, (I think… ) But I would definitely order a snail!! : )


    • April 23, 2013 11:03 AM

      And I would definitely pick up the tab! Waiter! A snail for this accomplished artist– and make it look like this!!

      Bon appétit, Annie, and thanks for your support!! : )


  8. April 22, 2013 7:51 PM

    Nope, Mark; but then, I’m not a cinnamon roll eater… 😉

    That’s a really cute illustration with a wonderful reminder re The Lemons R Us cafe.. 😉 😉
    I’m thinking though, the snail may be tempted to eat his home… Oh, poor snail… Where will he live if he eats his home… My heart is torn between yelling out to him – Stop, snail, stop…. and/or crying out… “I believe in fairies, I do….! 🙂

    Speaking of which, we do have ‘Fairy Bread’ – bread upon which ‘hundreds and thousands’ have been sprinkled. No tots party could be called ‘chic’ without them, however they are probably known universally… 😉

    A few colloquial names:

    Sausages = Bangers, Snags & Mystery Bags
    Cocktail Sausages = Little Boys….. You may guess why….! 🙂
    Chicken = Chook
    Tomato Sauce = Dead Horse
    Meat Pie = Maggot Bag
    Food = Tucker 🙂


    • April 24, 2013 8:19 AM

      My dear Carolyn! You have proved, conclusively I think, that when it comes to compiling a menu, you have no equal!! Dead Horse, Maggot Bag… I shall be eating peanut butter sandwiches for a month, and trying not to think about it!!

      Thank you for a most memorable contribution, along with your usual charm and good humor!! : )


  9. April 24, 2013 10:35 AM

    I’ll have you know Mark I’ve been wracking my brain over this since yesterday and I’m still mulling it over. What a great topic. I’m sure you know more New England-isms than I do, but it occurred to me that the Massachusetts folks are more known for their accents than their food names. In our house you might hear us say “Have you seen the Utz to go with the gwak and the Seadawg”?

    Utz – favorite potato chip brand
    Gwak – guacamole
    Seadog = popular beer.



    • April 27, 2013 1:50 PM

      Ha! I remember buying some Utz when they were on sale, and being very favorably impressed. I’m still waiting for them to go on sale again…

      Thanks, Amelie, for that delightful contribution! : )


  10. April 24, 2013 10:36 AM

    Usually uttered before a Red Sox game.


  11. May 2, 2013 8:52 PM

    My partner’s mother (they are both German), did use the term “Schnecken” for the sweet rolls.

    Better to keep the 2 separate.

    By the way, I do enjoy cooked escargots (snails). Very French.


    • May 8, 2013 1:48 PM

      Schnecken– I like that word! It’s fun to say, and definitely cooler than “snail”… : )

      Cooked escargots, eh?? I think I’m just going to sit over here in the corner with my peanut butter sandwich… : P

      Thanks, Jean, always great to see you!


  12. May 8, 2013 11:11 PM

    I think it’s boring here in the upper-right quadrant of Ohio, Mark, because I can’t think of anything out of the ordinary. Now you have me hungry for cinnamon rolls. Where can I get one at 11:11 in the evening?


    • May 14, 2013 10:52 AM

      I can think of something out of the ordinary in the upper-right quadrant of Ohio, Maddie– you!! : )

      I don’t have any cinnamon rolls on hand, but I did buy a 2-day-old loaf of raisin bread last week, and it’s in the freezer. I’ll attach it to my carrier pigeon’s leg and send it out to you straight away!! : P


      • May 17, 2013 12:02 AM

        You are sooo sweet! A complimentary comment and a complimentary loaf of slightly stale raisin bread. Thank you!


  13. May 28, 2013 10:32 AM

    In my place, they call a vegetable “chow chow” ! I still don’t know why ! 🙂


    • May 30, 2013 8:40 PM

      Excellent! The next time I’m in a restaurant and the waitress asks me what I’d like for my vegetable, I’m gonna say, “Chow chow!” and see what I get! : )

      And hopefully I won’t get escorted to the door by security guards!! : P


  14. anglogermantranslations permalink
    June 29, 2013 5:58 PM

    As a German I didn’t even have to do any research. Schnecken (plural of Schnecke) as cinnamon rolls are very common. You don’t associate them with those slimey creatures at all, because you wouldn’t get those at the baker’s. Just at fancy French restaurants. Chaqu’un à son gôut… BTW – snail mail is Schneckenpost in German.


    • July 8, 2013 1:42 PM

      Many thanks for this very jolly comment which brought me both a big smile and a laugh– especially the part about one only being able to get certain slimy creatures at fancy French restaurants, not the bakery– ha! Yes, I must agree– there’s no accounting for taste!! : )

      I love the idea that schneckenpost is German for snail mail– most delightful thing I’ve heard recently. Thank you so much for your visit, and your very enjoyable and informative comment. : )


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