Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cookie Again

I'm reading a lovely indie book that takes place in Australia. Band of Gold by Maggie Christenson

In the book, the protagonist makes chocolate chip COOKIES. Not biscuits. Cookies. It's the same thing that happened on Offspring.

So is the word cookie being used there more?

One thing I'm wondering is if it's used when eating the chocolate chip version of the baking product.

Maybe chocolate chip cookies are associated with the United States so when Australians eat those, they say cookies?

Or am I wrong? Maybe chocolate chip cookies aren't American.

Okay...well, Lord Wiki agrees with me. He says they originated in my country.

So maybe some Australians are saying chocolate chip cookie, but maybe they wouldn't say, please give me a Tim Tam cookie.  

If you are Australian, what do you say? Do you ever use the word cookie? And do you associate chocolate chip...whatevers...with the USA?


  1. Most Australians would say a chocolate chip biscuit. I am guessing the author of the book is using the term Chocolate Chip Cookie because they are targeting an international market for their book. Given that, because we are exposed to a lot of international media here in Australia just about every Australian knows what a cookie is and the word cookie is slowly creeping into the Australian vernacular. Especially with international businesses like Subway Sandwiches and Mrs Fields Cookies using the word cookie instead of biscuit.

  2. Jason,

    A lot of Aussie books are Americanized when they're published for American readers. I don't think this book was very Americanized though. She did use some Aussie terms, and she used Australian spelling instead of American.

    I imagine it's more of a case of the second thing you businesses calling it "cookie". I don't know how I feel about fast food restaurants using American terms. Is it more respectful using Aussie words?

    I know if I went to an Australian fast food restaurant in America..., I'd want them to use Aussie terms. BUT it's a different story because we don't have enough Aussie culture here. Australia has too much American culture.

  3. I think that most Australians enjoy and want American food outlets using American terms.

    But that also applies to all foreign food outlets whether they are European, Indian, Vietnamese, Malaysian ..etc. Especially here in Melbourne where I live, the food capital of Australia.

    I know personally, I prefer it when a foreign shop or cafe is more authentic and true to it's cultural origin. Especially when it is American.

  4. Jason,

    I am probably being egocentric and thinking that I don't want to see so much American stuff in Australia!

    I do like knowing that some Australians like seeing American stuff. I think some Australians are okay with it, some are not okay, and some love it.

    And yeah. I agree. If I go to a foreign food outlet, I like to see them using the correct terms.

  5. Jason has covered it all pretty well. I don't normally use cookie, but it is becoming more popular.

  6. Andrew,


    It's interesting how language changes.

    You know, today I said to Jack "How are you going?" instead of "How are you doing?" and it's not the first time I've said it. I think it's from watching Aussie soaps everyday. It's hard not to pick up on things.

  7. I do not know how long I have known that "cookie" was American for "biscuit", but I expect most Australians do know. We have had the term "fries" instead of "chips" pushed on to us by fast food outlets but I'm not aware that it is much used outside these places.

    I recently read that a constant Amwrican complaint about British books is that they use British spelling and British terms!

    But this can be annoying, I'm currently reading a book about science in the 17th century and the author frequently uses the term "natural magic" but did not explain what it means. Basically just alchemy and astrology according to Mr. Internet

    I suppose that in these days of "find and replace" it is a matter of a few minutes to replace "biscuits" with "cookies" and "chips" with "fries" for the American market. Titles and covers are often different so why not minor changes to the texts?

  8. Ken, if a book is based in a certain location, the I expect the English to be from that country. If a book is set in England, I would expect English English, America, American English. If it was a translation, then the most relevant English to the book.

    Australia, it would depend on who was speaking. A teenager might say cookie, but I wouldn't expect a fifty year old to say cookie, but say biscuit.

    Interesting, isn't it.

    Dina, I was just thinking about language differences today, as I used the phrase take away and not take out. I think in England the do say take away, as do we, but take out is creeping in.

  9. Ken: Sorry. I missed your comment yesterday! I'm actually the opposite about British/Aussie spelling. I like it when books keep the original spelling. That being said...I didn't even really notice the spelling differences until I started this blog, quoted from Aussie sources, and Firefox kept trying to correct the spelling. I mean I did notice colors vs colours...but not stuff like apologize and apologise.

    I'm reading an Australian book published in America now. I haven't been paying attention to the spelling, but will next time I read. But there's a scene where someone mentions "a cup of tea". Maybe Australians do say that sometimes, but it sounded weird to me. I'm used to Australians saying "Cuppa".

    Andrew: If a book is translated, how do you figure out the most relevant English?

    I agree that it's more likely that a teenager say "cookie". But there could be a 50-year-old who spends a lot of time with teenagers. Or one who reads a lot of American books.

    Though I imagine a 50-year-old would be more likely interested in preserving Aussie language and make a conscious effort not to use Americanisms. heard "Take out" in England?