Once you start your first cooking adventures and you gain the ability to differentiate this green thing from that other green thing in the store, another problem begins. While you may think you can tell all the green things apart, some foods look like identical twins and constantly get mistaken for one another.
Since we’re here to help society in our way, we’ll list some of the most common cases of mistaken identity in the world of food.
Jam vs. Jelly
These two are pretty much interchangeable. The one difference is that if you’re making jelly, you throw away the chunks of fruit whilst in jam the bigger pieces of fruit can stay. That’s literally the only difference, so no harm in mixing these two up.
Prawn vs. Shrimp
While size rarely matters, it’s the one defining factor in this debate. Prawns are bigger than shrimps, meaning they’re also more expensive and more of a delicacy. The word prawn is also more commonly used in the United Kingdom, whereas in the good ol’ United States pretty much everything is a shrimp.
Cupcake vs. Muffin
“Oh no, I ordered a cupcake and they gave me a muffin!” – said no one. The main difference between these two is actually how the ingredients are mixed. Muffins mix the wet and dry ingredients in different bowls, where cupcakes use the regular cake method where you just chuck everything in the same bowl and see what happens.
Plantain vs. Banana
While these may look similar, there are three very distinct differences between a banana and a plantain. First, plantains are greener – even greener than an unripe banana. Second, plantains need to be cooked in order to be tasty whereas you can eat a banana whenever. Third, no one uses plantains.
Raw Sugar vs. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar is actually sugar that’s been slightly caramelized, which is why it’s darker, stickier and has more of that caramel taste going on. Raw sugar is just … unprocessed sugar. The caramel taste is a lot less pronounced and it has a much lighter brown color.
Gelato vs. Ice Cream
The biggest difference is that the creation of gelato involves no egg yolks at all, while this is a very royally used ingredient in ice cream. Gelato is also made to be served at slightly higher temperatures, where ice cream needs to be practically frozen.
Peach vs. Nectarine
The difference between these two only goes skin-deep. Peaches have a more fuzzy feel to them and have a thicker coat, which means you’re probably best off peeling them. Nectarines have smooth, thin coats that you are perfectly fine to eat.
Macaroons vs. Macarons
While these two look nothing alike, they do sound pretty similar. There’s pretty much no reason to be visually confused between a coconut cookie and a ganache-filled biscuit sandwich, so just pay attention to the number of “o”s in the word.
Parsley vs. Cilantro
While these are both green in color, cilantro is much more vibrant in color and most people consider its odor to be similar to the smell of a stink bug. On the other hand, parsley has a very fresh and herbaceous scent.
Noodles vs. Pasta
It’s easy to tell these apart when they’re raw. Due to the coarser ingredients used in the creation of pasta, pasta comes out pretty dry and stiff. That’s why you’d do your best to boil it before you eat it. Noodles, on the other hand, are a lot more flexible when they’re raw. There’s almost no need to separately look at these, just throw them in the pot a minute or so before serving.