squidgy podgy pudgy splodgy dodgy

Looking for something easy to blog about, I was reading through old email requests from back in the days when I was in (the) hospital, waiting for Grover to be born.  Grover's going to be three in December, so there's a little insight into just how untidy that email inbox is and how many unblogged-about topics might be lurking there.

At any rate, then-reader (are you still out there?) Catnap in the US wrote to me about some British recipes she'd been reading, including one for brownies.  She correctly surmised that brownies are not the institution in the UK that they are in the US--but they've become much better known/loved in the decade that I've lived here.  (I've never known a British non-professional-baker person to actually make brownies.  One tends to get 'gourmet' brownies here--and they can be incredible.  Like the raspberry ones made by Prosperity Brownies. Ooh, I'm getting palpitations just thinking about them.)  It's all part of this craze for importing and "fancifying" American baked goods

At any rate, the BrE word that Catnap noted in the recipe was squidgey, which the OED and I spell squidgy.  The older sense of this word in OED, from the 19th century, is 'Short and plump; podgy' And here we pause to note that BrE prefers podgy, but AmE uses pudgy almost exclusively.

The second sense of squidgy is the brownie sense:
Moist and pliant; squashy, soggy. Esp. of food.
The definition doesn't sound very appeti{s/z}ing, but squidgy can definitely be a positive trait in a brownie. 

This sense of squidgy is only noted since the 1970s, but squdgy, a word that looks like a typo, has been around and meaning 'soft and moist or yielding' starting with Kipling:
1892 KIPLING Barrack-Room Ballads 51 Elephints apilin' teak In the sludgy, squdgy creek.  1919 W. DEEPING Second Youth xvii. 145 He made haste to shake Joseph Bluett's squdgy hand and escape. 1959 M. STEEN Woman in Back Seat I. v. 97 ‘Don't you like babies?’ Lavinia shook her head... ‘They're so squdgy, and they haven't got any shape!’
Looking for other -dgy adjectives that might differ, I find splodgy. OED defines it as 'Full of splodges; showing coarse splotches of colour.'  In AmE, this would be splotchy (and 'full of splotches').  The OED doesn't mark splotchy as 'chiefly American', but there are no instances in the British National Corpus, as opposed to three instances of splodgy. In the Corpus of Contemporary American English, it's 78 instances of splotchy and zero splodgy.

The only other differing -dgy adjective I can think of is dodgy, which the OED has as:  
Brit. colloq. Of poor quality, unreliable; questionable, dubious.
One hears it in contexts like I have a dodgy knee or He's selling some dodgy goods on the internet.

The Lesson of the Post is thus: BrE likes adjectives ending in -dgy more than AmE does!


  1. Great post! I love "dodgy" and keep trying to work it into conversation here in the U.S. That cheese smells a little dodgy. She lives in a dodgy neighborhood.

  2. "Squidgy" also achieved notoriety as the pet name given to the late Princess of Wales by, um, one of her blokes, in phone calls which were then leaked by someone leading to the scandal known, in glorious Technicolor mid-Atlantickese, as "squidgygate".

    I've been told that an Italian newspaper attempting to translate "squidgy" on that occasion came up with "seppiolina" (ie a diminutive of the word for "squid"), and I choose to believe it even though I've never seen concrete proof.

  3. referenced above, has a very dodgy memory and has no recollection of what squidgy brownie she was ogling on the nets three years ago. Hats off to Lynne for her relentless pursuit of brownie speak, however. I do like to stay informed when it comes to brownies. However, I'm still not very taken with the idea of a squidgy or even a podgy brownie. Brownies that might make me prosperous, yes; nice thought. I find, however, I am more pudgy and less prosperous for having enjoyed them too often, being a typical American. But, what about fudgy? Where does that quite common AmE brownie term fit in?
    On another note, I am quite smitten with Lavinia's use of squdgy to describe babies. They get that way.

  4. I (American from Buffalo) don't see many of these words used very often. The one instance that comes immediately to mind is from the comic book Watchmen, where one minor character refers to Rorschach's "face"/mask as "squidgy". I'm not sure to what extent this is related to other uses.

  5. I'm trying to find my wedgies but keep being distracted by bites from midgies.

  6. (hailing from Pacific NW) Pudgy isn't too uncommon. Dodgy I'd only expect to hear from someone who picked it up from British TV.

    And the only time I've heard the word "squdgy" was its use in one of the very few "minimal pangrams" in English -- that is, a sentence in which each letter of the alphabet appears exactly once: "Squdgy fez, blank jimp crwth vox!" (To understand it, you must imagine the sentence being spoken by a man to his own hat, as he pulls it over his ears to hide the "lame" voice of a Welsh fiddle being played nearby. Yes, I know, but that's what it takes to make a minimal pangram in English.)

  7. In my experience, "sketchy" is the rough AmE equivalent of BrE "dodgy"

  8. > I've never known a British non-professional-baker person to actually make brownies.

    My standard cakes-to-take-to-work offering is a tray or two of double chocolate brownies, the recipe for which came from Sainsbury's Magazine, some three or four years ago I think. So they're definitely gaining currency.

  9. I'm surprised you think brownies are a recent thing in the UK.

    The recipe book I grew up on, Kate Stewart's A Young Cook's Calendar (1976) has a recipe for brownies, which the blurb describes as American and chocolatey!

    Delia's genre-defining Complete Cookery Course (1978) has one too, for "American brownies".

    Like Larry Lord above, brownies make an easy and relatively mess-free treat to take to work, unlike icing or cream-covered cakes. I've even made them with raspberries in! :-)

  10. Indeed. I (BrE, middle-aged) remember my mother making brownies in the 1960s, and very delicious (and squidgy) they were, too! Hmmm, wonder if she still has the same recipe....

  11. vp suggests above that "sketchy" is a rough US equivalent of "dodgy".

    My own experience (possibly limited: native US speaker, first coming across "sketchy" in the midwest some 20-25 years ago) suggests that sketchy is much more tightly constrained. And if you force me to explain more, my intuition is that "sketchy" is mainly associated with crime or at least antisocial behavior (sketchy neighborhood, sketchy dudes, etc).

    On the other hand, "dodgy" seems far broader (at least in my experience in London over the past 10 years), just meaning something like "low quality". It definitely encompasses the criminal/ antisocial domain (Artful Dodger) but much more as well.

    As it's so useful it's crept into my vocabulary and is hard to shake these days.

    As for "squidgy" - I would probably use "squishy", and I expect many UK ears would auto-correct it....

  12. Regarding -dgy, there's also "edgy". The modern sense is listed as US-origin by the OED (from cutting-edge), although other senses have been floating around the UK for ages.

  13. I've only ever heard "sketchy" in the more-or-less literal sense -- a sketchy drawing, a sketchy idea. Something to do with being an undefined preliminary concept. Is the criminal meaning fairly new?

    "Dodgy" doesn't quite mean low quality, more dishonest or not to be relied on. A £2 T-shirt that falls apart at the first washing isn't dodgy, unless you stole it. But my easily-twisted ankle is.

    "Squdgy" seems to be missing a vowel! Maybe that's why "squidgy" and "squodgy" took over.

  14. I'm in the northeast US (New Jersey) and I know dodgy quite well (but Chromes spell-checker doesn't!). The definition you quote sounds spot on, but the examples do not, I don't know why. A dodgy knee sounds very strange to me. Selling dodgy goods is marginal. I would describe a place that sells "dodgy" goods as a dodgy establishment. In fact, that would be my primary use of the term. "Are you really buying something from XYZ? They seem a little dodgy to me." Maybe "of dubious nature", but not "of poor quality" for me.

  15. I'm also from New Jersey, and have the same definition of "dodgy" in my mind as Boris. Yes, it is very weird that Chrome's spell-checker doesn't understand it.

    I have in my mind that "dodgy" is somehow related to the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist. It seems like Dickens chose the name because many of the character's actions could be described as dodgy.

    On an unrelated note, it seems to me that spellchecker should be a compound word, but spellcheckers everywhere seem to agree that it is not.

  16. @Dougal - the fact that both your examples make a point of their 'Americanness' suggests that back in the 70s at least they weren't that naturalised. Brownies have started appearing here among the baking at village events so they're possibly becoming more common. I hope so - they are delicious, especially the ones I had once with bits of Mars Bar in them. Mmmm. Hungry now

  17. @Robbie: Yes, the "morally questionable" sense of sketchy is new, in my observation.

  18. Anonymous said...
    I'm trying to find my wedgies but keep being distracted by bites from midgies.

    I'm guessing this person is British (I [AmE] vaguely remember midgies being something like gnats or no-see-ums). So I'm dying to know what wedgies are in BrE! In AmE they're what happens when intimate wear gets a bit too intimate, shall we say.

  19. I'm not from New Jersey but I do speak AmE (Western New England dialect region) as a native. The adjectives I can think of that might reasonably apply to brownies would be cakey, chewy, or fudgy. Any given brownie will be exactly one of the three, depending on the recipe and how it was baked. (I'm a fudgy-brownie person myself, but I can appreciate the chewy kind. I don't see the point in cakey brownies.) Is a BrE "squidgy" brownie fudgy or chewy?

  20. @ Flatlander - we do use "wedgie" in the American sense, but I think that's imported, and the OP was probably meaning those sandals that have high soles as well as heels.

  21. I'm surprised no one has pointed out that the article on American pies uses the word "splotchy" to describe blueberry muffins...

  22. I baked some brownies once. They turned out CLUDGY.

  23. "Is a BrE "squidgy" brownie fudgy or chewy?"

    Neither, really, but I guess it would come under "fudgy" if those are the only two headings. Certainly not chewy. Very moist, possibly with actual liquidy areas (such as melted chocolate chips). "Fudgy" implies soft and fine-textured, but not moist.

  24. Re brownies being a recent UK import, I am spending the weekend with my parents, and my mother says to say "Rubbish! They've been around for years!". Which is what I thought!

  25. @Mrs Redboots: But what is 'years'? As we've seen, they've been around 30-40 years, but that's about 1/3 of their history, and they are still perceived as an American food, rather than a native baked good.

  26. But I think that is partly because they were called "American Brownies" some 40-50 years ago.

  27. We've traced brownies back to 1970 or so. Anything as sweet as that could not have been baked in the 1939-1953 period of sugar rationing, and sugar was still too expensive for lots of baking for quite some time after, so if they were being baked in the 1960s as Mrs Redboots remembers, then that suggests they started shortly after the end of the ration.

    This does rather open the question of what was being baked in the twenties and thirties, which I doubt you're going to get many living memories of. Certainly, my likely source passed away a couple of years ago.

  28. The ...dgy words have a soft, slippery, squidgy feel about them - literally and metaphorically, don't they. Does anyone know the word 'plodge' which I remember from my time in the NE of England as the act of walking through soft mud (the clarts, as in plodging through the clarts)?

    There's a story that in WW2 a British commander radioed that 'I say chaps, situation getting a bit dodgy here' but the local US forces failed to realise that this was a heartfelt cry for help. The rest was silence.

  29. IME, AmE uses a variety of words for what I understand to be different senses of "dodgy". For some of the senses, I, too, might use a metaphorical "sketchy":

    "By March, the snow was getting pretty sketchy on the ski slope."

    "His excuse was pretty sketchy."

    For other senses, I might use "hinky" (which might well date me):

    "He asked for money, but something felt hinky about him, so I walked away."

    A questionable knee would probably be a "bum knee" or possibly a "trick knee".

    I'm sure there are others.

  30. So...if not brownies, what did British teenagers learn to cook with? Brownies are on the short list of "learn to cook" foods that every teenage girl used to know how to make. (Alas, before everyone forgot how to cook.)

  31. It amused me that when the 'squidgy tapes' ('squidgy' was Prince Charles's nickname for Camilla) were reported in the German press, 'squidgy' was translated as Tintenfischlein - 'little squid'. Which seems more affectionate.

  32. @Graham Asher:

    You're getting "Squidgygate" mixed up with "Camillagate". "Squidgy" was James Gilbey's nickname for Diana. Charles's conversation with Camilla was far more embarrasing than that!

  33. @Julie - in my school we learned with rock cakes. Brownies, if I recall correctly from the only time I tried to make them, are actually quite technical (especially to someone who only ever got as far as rock cakes...) so kudos to the American schoolgirl if that's what she used to cut her teeth on.

  34. I cannot see the appeal of brownies. Some of them can be quite nice, but having seen them made, with sugar being beaten into egg, all I can think when I'm eating one now is 'haf-cooked egg-glue." Egg glue, euch. Likewise the chewy kind of cookies.

    Isn't the Artful Dodger so called because he's adept at dodging/evading trouble? And wheeler dealering. Maybe that's just me.

    Us 20-somthings in the South of England have shortened dodgy to 'dodge' as in "That looks a bit dodge mate." and sketchy has become 'sketch' as in uneasy/wary, which is a departure from the 'rough outline' sense I grew up with. (Example: "I feel a bit sketch about leaving my bike here overnight.")

    We just made cake at school. Victoria sponge. Incidentally, I think the first proper thing every Brit learns to cook is spag bol. It's the one dish absolutely everyone makes.

  35. I definitely think the connotation for under-40 AmE "sketchy" is "questionable" rather than "criminal." And it's "arising from questionable circumstances or behavior" -- a situation or a person can be sketchy, but not your trick knee. I agree there.

    I was also going to add the use of it as "sketch," but unlike @Solo, it would be in the sense above rather than an unsure one ("Good gyoza, but the sushi's a little sketch").

    I would think that the same people who use "sketchy" in this sense are the ones who would immediately understand the connotations of "skeevy."

  36. In my (American) family, we use "squidge" as an endearment. In the Disney move "Lady and the Tramp", the Tramp calls Lady "Pigeon", and I feel there's much the same sort of feeling there; in British books I've read, "podgy" is often the way toddlers are described. In some sense these "dgy" words seems to suggest diminuitives.

    Skeevy" on the other hand suggests quite a different group of words, with "squicky" belonging in that same category of words that suggest yuckiness. Something about the "sk" or "skw" sound, (squamous, scabrous, squalid, scaly), unalloyed by that "dgy" sound.

  37. "The one instance that comes immediately to mind is from the comic book Watchmen, where one minor character refers to Rorschach's "face"/mask as "squidgy". "

    Alan Moore, who wrote Watchmen, is of course British.

    "all I can think when I'm eating one now is 'haf-cooked egg-glue"

    That describes most desserts/baked foods, surely.

  38. I agree; I think most baked goods could be called "half-cooked egg glue." Solo, I take it you don't like eggnog, either?

    I had to google "rock cakes" and "spag bol."

    The rock cakes seem to be a mildly sweet biscuit, similar to a shortcake? They don't seem sweet or rich enough to be cookies, although I've certainly made cookies that looked like that.

    "Spag bol" seems to be what we just call "spaghetti." I learned that early, too.

    You can be very technical with brownies, but at heart they're not much more than a chocolate cake that didn't rise. (No one will know the difference.) If I call a brownie "fudgy," I'm certainly implying that it's moist, almost candylike in the middle, but not gooey or liquidy.

  39. @townmouse: no, nothing at all technical about making brownies at home -- dump contents of box into bowl, add a quarter cup of oil and two eggs, then stir. Pour into a greased 8x8x2 pan, and bake at 350 until desired doneness. Even an eight-year-old could do it. (And I probably did when I was one.) Chocolate-chip cookies are much more complicated, but once you've got the Creaming Method down, the vast majority of cookies and many cakes are assembled the same way.

  40. No, a rock cake isn't a biscuit/cookie. They're made from a dryish cake mixture which is placed on the baking sheet in rough heaps and stays that way when cooked, rather than melting into a flattened shape.

    My recipe for choc chip cookies isn't complicated - it's from a booklet produced when soft margarine first became available, in which you simply put all the ingredients into a bowl and stir (i.e. you don't have to cream the marg. and sugar first).

    Kate (Derby, UK)

  41. continuing off-topic, I would agree that Spag Bol is at or near the top of basic culinary attainment in the UK c2010, but I do remember the first time I ever ate the real thing (ie NOT out of a tin smothered in tomato sauce) - not until I was 17(!) - in 1975, while watching Arthur Ashe beat Jimmy Connor in the men's finals at Wimbledon on telly. As a country bumpkin (albeit middle class) I was staying with swanky friends in Bognor and it seemed the height of sophistication to be eating spaghetti with a meat sauce, and a fork AND spoon. Innocent days - when even courgettes were still fairly exotic.

  42. There's some miscommunication going on here...

    Julie's suggestion that a rock cake looks like a biscuit, was undoubtedly based on the AmE meaning of 'biscuit', which looks more like a scone than a cookie. A rock cake, however, is more like a rock! :) I've only had one, but it had little in common with an AmE biscuit--there was no way it could ever be described as 'fluffy', which is one of the highest accolades for an AmE biscuit.

    'Spag bol' is short for 'spaghetti bolognaise', which is what Americans would call 'spaghetti with meat sauce' (i.e. the sauce has [AmE] hamburger [also 'ground beef']/[BrE] mince[d beef] in it).

    I lazily didn't link to the old 'baked goods' post in this post...but here it is, and there you can comment more on the meanings of biscuit, scone, rock cake, etc.

  43. And another thought...

    I think that 'squidgy' brownies are those that Americans would call 'fudgy'. I think the American use of 'fudgy' in that sense has more to do with the richness and flavo(u)r of hot fudge sauce than to do with actual fudge, which is usually kind of crumbly...or something. I must say, I do not like fudge--but I'd love a fudgy brownie.

    In other words, a squidgy/fudgy brownie is one that feels more chocolaty (by which I do not mean 'like a chocolate bar', however) than cak(e)y.

  44. Rock cakes are delicious - at least, my mother's are; mine always turn out distressingly un-rock-like in appearance (I suspect I have the dough too wet) and more like fairy cakes with currants in them. It is, I should add, the appearance, not the texture, which accounts for the name - the texture should be a sort-of cross between a scone and a piece of cake.

    Brownies were made from scratch long before mixes became available; my mother thinks she is being incredibly lazy on the very rare occasions she uses a mix!

  45. Of course I was using the AmE definition of "biscuit," which I couldn't figure out how to translate. They're bread-like, not cookie-like. Scone-ish?

    And melting onto the pan is not a requirement to be a "cookie." Being rich and sweet is, though.

    BTW, I learned to make chocolate chip cookies very casually, using the old Toll House recipe, but just tossing the ingredients into the mixer bowl. I didn't start creaming the butter and sugar together separately until after I left home and didn't have a mixer.

  46. Ginger Yellow: Not at all! Most baked goods of the British and Continental varieties do not involve mixing egg and sugar together into a gluey confection independent of other ingredients and do not have that gooey-chewy continuum that makes me uneasy about brownies.

    Incidentally- the term 'fudgy' just sounds all kind of wrong to me. It sounds like some kind of childish scatological euphemism (with apologies to anyone thus put off their brownies)

    OT, but- do you not have bolognese in America? I thought there was a massive Italian diaspora there. And mince isn't distinct from a buurger? That must make things tricky surely. Especially at barbecues.

  47. Oh and eggnog is an abominable abberation which quite rightly stays on the far side of the Atlantic for the most part. I've never seen it or known anyone to have tried it (though I'd assume you have Lynneguist) but I suspect it's the kind of thing a Brit would only consume as the forfeit in a drinking game.

  48. @Solo: 'Hamburger' can be a mass noun in BrE--means the same thing as 'mince' in that case. (That was one of my Differences of the Day on Twitter a while ago.)

    There are lots of Italians in the US, and that can be seen in vegetable names, where US takes Italian where BrE takes French (old post). The Italian for meat sauce is 'ragù', which is an American brand of pasta sauce (though not nec. with meat). One can have a 'ragù alla bolognese' in Italian, but, according to Wikipedia

    "Although Spaghetti alla Bolognese is very popular outside of Italy it never existed in Bologna, where ragù is served always with the local egg pastas tagliatelle or lasagne."

  49. Sorry, where it says 'old post' in the last comment, it's supposed to have this link: http://bit.ly/cgflpW

  50. Solo: It appears we have the same dish, but we just call it "spaghetti." No modifier needed; anything other than a tomato-and-hamburger sauce would require further description. And northern California, where I live, used to be known for its Italian wines and vegetables.

    No eggnog. Wow. And I would have thought it was English in origin. Seems a bit old-fashioned now, but stores still sell a lot of it at Christmas time. The commercial stuff is just a drinkable custard flavored with nutmeg and (often) rum. The homemade stuff is better, but I won't tell you about that.

  51. So have I been wrong to assume US egg nog = UK / Europe advocaat?

  52. Not the same. The stuff in the stores is non-alcoholic, although it's common to add rum (or brandy) and milk (or hot water) at home.

  53. @Shaun. You beat me to it with Advocaat, which I remember well from the 50s, when my father, a North Sea ferries Britrail steward at the time, brought it home from Den Hoek. (How exotic!)

    Much later I was introduced to Mexican Rompope, which I find at least equal to Advocaat. By comparison, I can find no reason for American egg-nog to exist.

    But then, I cannot justify the existence of many American and Brit delicacies, such as pretzels, or steak-and-kidney ANYTHING. Yet I yearn for the latter, or sausage beans eggs and chips smothered with HP sauce.

    I yearn, but by no means do I recommend.

  54. Thanks Lynneguist and all.

    So what if you just want spaghetti? Sans sauce or meat, be it a minced burger or elsewhat.

    Sorry- off topic. I seem to recall a long comments thread about buttered noodles a while back, which, if I recall, is basically spaghetti. I'll post there...

  55. Plain boiled spaghetti, or plain buttered spaghetti... I'd have to use the word "plain" in there somewhere.

  56. I'm reading you for the first time. As an American myself, I'm a little lost regarding what is said currently in the UK, and what is archaic. What I hear in exported British TV shows blends in my mind with what I've read in Dickens.

    I knew the moment I read "Grover is going to be three", that you are an American yourself. Don't the British say, "Grover is about to be three"? It's simply awesome how different everyday language is between the two countries, yet how few linguistic misunderstandings this causes. I believe we are all a bit bilingual.

    This brings me to what I was searching for which led me to your delightful blog. Is it correct in BrE to say that someone "has to" do something or is "must" what they always say in that context? Also do they ever "let" someone do something, or do they always "allow" someone TO do something?

    As you pointed out, BrE uses "then" at the end of sentences that Americans would let stand w/o it. They also tack on the implied verb "done" when the word "have" as a part of a present participle falls at the end of a sentence or phrase. An example is: AmE "Well I would have, if I'd known she was going to be offended". BrE "Well I would have done, if I'd known she would take offense. The difference in the 2nd phrase of the sentence is an example of what I like best about BrE--the Brits generally get the point across w/ fewer words, despite their habit of plopping in the occasional "then" or "done". (I almost used the Britishism "odd" but changed it to the more American "occasional" in the above sentence.) I'm under the impression that the final "done" I mentioned about is fairly new to BrE. Is this correct? If so, then the American way is more true to earlier BrE.

  57. Welcome new Anonymous! Thanks for your interest, but I try hard not to mix up too many different topics in the comments section, as it reduces the searchability of the blog. You're welcome to request new topics, or answers to questions by email. (The 'comments policy' link on the left margin links to, well, the comments policy.)

  58. I dont think I agree with Anonymous who says "the Brits generally get the point across w/ fewer words" in comparision to AmE. I strongly feel that Americans have successfully managed to abbreviate the English language in many different ways.

    At abpt.com it is common practice to use smaller and shorter words such as "color" and "cells" (referring to mobile phones) even in formal AmE documents.

    Truth is, there are even some Indian English words that we use as part of our parlance without even realizing that they were once considered to be foreign words, for example, "bazaar" and "chor" and "rani" and so on.

    Did you know verbs such as "Google" (usage: Lets Google this!) are now considered to be perfect English?

  59. Lynne - "A rock cake, however, is more like a rock!

    Hence the sign seen at (BrE) school fetes on the cake stall: "Rock cakes - take your pick".

  60. I've just added a comment to the old post on pudding - and the word that popped into my head was 'stodgy' - or to be specific, stodge! For hungry schoolgirls, a plate of stodge with custard was a great tummy-filler. There was chocolate stodge, currant stodge, pink stodge, treacle stodge... all basically a heavy-textured sponge baked in huge aluminium pans. Nectar!
    And 'stodgy' would describe a person who is rather dull and immoveable.

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  62. I'm intrigued that you say you've never encountered home-baked brownies in the UK, only gourmet ones. I don't think I saw a brownie for sale in a (UK) bakery or supermarket until maybe 5-10 years ago. I did, however, grow up with my mother's recipe, copied from some other parent years ago. This would have been acquired in the '80s. I remember being appalled when I encountered other people's brownies in the 90s, because they included nuts (yuck) which seemed very unbrownie-like and perhaps indicates that I hadn't met non-home brownies before then.

    But homemade brownies never lasted past the night they were made, so perhaps this explains why you haven't met them?

  63. Oh, and we only made brownies occasionally, as a special treat, because the recipe contains a huuuuuge amount of sugar. In this age of internet recipes, I can often spot an American cake recipe (even if it's in units of mass) simply by the high proportion of sugar. (American carrot cake recipes puzzlingly seem to contain even more sugar) This isn't such a big deal now (in terms of price), but I know it was for my mother, and especially for her mother.

    They still tell the story of my mother's French exchange partner making a cake (in the '60s). 4 eggs! So much sugar! You can still hear a little of the shock in their voices :)

    So, brownies were known, but I doubt many people could make them very often.

  64. In AmE, sketchy can simply mean "of dubious quality". There's a good example at the end of this clip:

  65. Oh, no! 'Crumbly fudge', is badly made fudge! Fudge--and the adjective fudgey/fudgy--imply a homogenous, uniform, creamy texture, sort of like a less-viscous tar. This is in keeping with its descent from fondant. Other textures are signs of errant sugar crystalization, a very bad thing when it comes to fudge.

    A 'fudgy' brownie is one that has no discernible crumb, but is not liquid, either.

  66. One (presumbly american?) anonymous said - "nothing at all technical about making brownies at home -- dump contents of box into bowl..."

    Is this normally considered home-made in America or was that sarcasm that I missed? If I made something out of a box of 'cake-mix' I would think that was pretty much the same thing as buying a cake.

    I've always made brownies from scratch, which involves melting chocolate, syrup, sugar & butter in a pan (definitely squidgy). These days I think plenty of people make brownies in Britain, although less people make any kind of cakes, I guess.

  67. As an American living in London, I would say that "squishy" is the main AmE term in this context, even though I think of squidgy as a bit firmer than squishy.

  68. My standard cakes-to-take-to-work offering is a tray or two of double chocolate brownies, the recipe for which came from Sainsbury's Magazine, some three or four years ago I think. So they're definitely gaining currency.

  69. BrE. This is more about -y than -dgy. Apparently, the girl’s nickname Bunty (Scottish and English) either means “lamb” or, more likely “plump”. A kinder alternative to pudgy?


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AmE = American English
BrE = British English
OED = Oxford English Dictionary (online)