Lamb

Is the richness of lamb too much for Canadians? Do they just not like eating baby animals? Or is the idea of mint jelly on meat just too strange for us North Americans to handle? To be fair, us Canadians have our weird moments – we of the land of peanut butter and jam sandwiches. Yeah you grew up with it, but think about it. It’s weird, at least for an Australian who has never tried it before.

Whatever the reason, I definitely eat lamb more in Australia than I do in Canada. In the Great White North, it’s something I might enjoy once a year if I’m lucky. Down under, it’s in the regular weekly rotation with chicken, beef and the like. Personally, I find it a bit rich, but I don’t complain because it seems like a crime to call perfectly grilled lamb chops anything other than delicious.

Chemist

When I first saw the word “Chemist” on storefronts in Australia, it conjured up images of Erlenmeyer flasks, test tubes, and smoking liquid nitrogen. Inside the shops, I half expected to find a tiny frizzy haired inventor concocting strange experiments with colourful liquids. I thought of chemists as hardcore scientists working at chemical engineering companies, but these shops reminded me of my idyllic childhood idea of devil-may-care Willy Wonka type experimenters.

Not surprisingly, this was a completely outlandish idea. It wasn’t long before I realized that a chemist shop is simply what Canadians call a pharmacy. I was disappointed, but it made sense. After all, a pharmacist is still a type of chemist. In any case, I still take pleasure in saying I have to stop by the chemist when I’m in Australia. Boring pharmacy or not, saying I’m going to the chemist seems charming to me, and it’s the little differences that add spice to one’s life.

Frothing

Considering my current location and the time of year, I thought this word would be appropriate. I am in Whistler for the next week and rest assured there are plenty of Australians rolling into town, all frothing on the upcoming season. You can feel the tension in the air. It’s early November, but there is plenty of snow on the runs already. The local papers are full of comments about whistler’s special connection to nature, about how the coming of winter makes residents feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.

Correct use of this word depends on context. You can froth something, froth on something, be frothing something, be frothing on something . . . the possibilities are endless. You can even use frothing as a one-word response in conversation, simply to convey that you are excited. For example:

“How are you feeling about the upcoming winter?”

“Frothing! I froth snowboarding ay, and I’m totally frothing on this new board I have at the moment.”

Okay, maybe it wouldn’t go down exactly like that, but you get the idea.

I assume this word is a shortened version of the phrase “frothing at the mouth” (surprise, surprise, an Australian word that is secretly short for something else) and while this phrase makes me think of rabies in an unappealing way, the background strengthens the meaning that “frothing” conveys – an almost hyperbolized feeling of excitement or enthusiasm. But it’s laid back too, because they’ve shortened it, and that’s how Australians work. It shouldn’t make sense, but it does. Trust me, I’m the expert. I froth grammar and diction.