Wednesday, October 20, 2004

When it comes to corn-based foods, I am vigilant about their names. Don't ask why, that's just how I am.

My parents were immigrants to this fine country and English is not their native tongue. When I was a youngster, I'd often correct my mother's pronounciation or word-choice. Irrationally, I was annoyed when she spoke incorrectly. For a long while, she referred to popcorn as cornpop. This drove me bonkers. I'd correct her every time (which I'm sure was annoying to her as it was to me) and exasperatedly explain that there was no such thing as a cornpop.

I then spent the rest of my childhood trying to hide the existence of the Kellogg's cereal named Corn Pops from her. If a commercial for Corn Pops came on, I'd distract her or change the channel. If we were in the supermarket and needed cereal, I'd offer to run ahead and grab the cereal. I was NOT going to give my mother a foothold in the popcorn vs cornpop battle by admitting the existence of anything cornpopish.

As near as I can tell, Corn Pops are no longer for sale, so I think I won that battle, at least until my mother finds this blog.

These days the wife is my chief opponent in the corn battle. She insists on referring to tortilla chips as corn chips. Our argument usually goes something like this:

Wife: Who wants corn chips? (holding a bag of tortilla chips)
Me: Those are tortilla chips. Corn chips are Fritos.
Wife: They're made out of corn, so they're corn chips.
Me: We don't name things based on what they're made out of. We don't refer to the car as the metal-filled, internal-combustion-engine-powered, people-mover, do we? No, we just use the name that everyone knows. When you call a tortilla chip a corn chip, you're potentially confusing people.
Wife: We don't call the car that because that's too damn long of a name.

We have this conversation about once a week. Today I decided that we needed wisdom from an impartial source. I turned to the five year-old, and asked her, "Sweetpea, are they corn chips or tortilla chips?".

My daughter thought for a moment and said, "I call them the chips that mommy and daddy argue about."

I'm not sure how to score this one.... Oh, yes I am. Victory for Mike. I am the final arbiter of all things corn-based

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