Sweet and Sticky Jelly: The American and British definition of every day words - Part 2

Following on the success of my last post in the word definitions series, today I continue with the word jelly.

Jelly is a popular food product both in America, and Great Britain.  Both nations love the sweet, sticky fruity stuff, and it’s especially popular with children.

But; I’m talking about two entirely unrelated foodstuffs.

Years ago, when I was little I was watching some American sitcom. I can’t remember which,  exactly, but I think it was either Blossom,  or Roseanne. Anyway, in one  particular scene, somebody was making sandwiches – peanut butter and jelly ones.

What? No way in my little corner of the world did peanut butter and jelly sound at all appealing.  Peanut butter? Yummy. Jelly? Mmmm! But, together? On a piece of bread? Gross! Everybody knew jelly went with ice cream…

The American definition of Jelly

Of course, Americans don’t put jelly with ice cream, and quite rightly, too! Why are Americans different? Because what they call jelly is what us Brit ‘s call ‘jam’.

No, I wouldn’t put jam with ice cream either. Yuck. But jam and peanut butter?  I can see the attraction. I’m still yet to try it.

Brett Baker, author of Dry it in the water was one of my helpers when I asked fellow ChicagoNow writers for their definitions of words. He describes jelly, as  “the delicious sweet, fruity stuff that pairs well with peanut butter.” He likes the stuff so much he has even written about how to make the perfect pb&j sandwich.


Image courtesy of foto76 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The British definition of Jelly

Put simply, jelly is what Americans call jello. I love the stuff, my favourite being orange flavour. Growing up I used to pinch it from the kitchen cupboard, and eat it “raw”. It’s quite understandable that the thought of this wibbly wobbly stuff in a sandwich turns the stomach.


Image courtesy of  Keerati / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t know anybody who had ever tried jelly/o with peanut butter. There must be somebody,  but I don’t imagine it to be a terribly delicious culinary experience.

Perhaps one of my old student friends – who was foolish enough to get involved with that stupid “necknomination” craze late last year/early this year – has tried it though? They’re all writers.  Perhaps they’ll write about their silliness one day, and we’ll learn that they did try jelly with peanut butter, or jam with ice cream, for that matter…

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