Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Help needed

OK, shameless use of blog readers for research purposes:

I was writing something the other day and the topic of "sherbet" came up. Having been brought up in the north east of England, which as we all know, has its own language and culture (now don't start) I never quite know if the words I use are what everyone else in England would use. For example, I grew up calling a spring onion a scallion. Due to much ridicule, I abandoned 'scallion' when I lived in the south of England, and was thrilled to find that I could revert back to it in the US. (They call them green onions here by the way.) Just as a point of interest, I was also brought up to pronounce "schedule" with a "k" sound, and had that beaten out of me in the south too. Now, I find that Americans take the mick out of me by saying "Shedyool" even tho' I don't pronounce it that way. Can't win really.

Anyway, to me, "sherbet" was a white powder that came in a paper tube, with a piece of liquorice sticking out. The idea was that the sherbet, on contact with your spit, sorry saliva, would go thick and very sour. Not quite sure what purpose the liquorice served as I usually ate it first then used my index finger to deal with the sherbet. I do have vague memories of sucking the sherbet through the liquorice a little too vigorously one time, and ending up with it choking me and coming down my nose!

Or, you could get little pastel coloured flying saucers filled with sherbet. Remember them? - they stuck to your tongue much in the same way the Holy Communion wafer does, if you're Catholic. (I have just found out, on doing this post, that you can still buy all these "retro" sweets on line.)

In the US, sherbet often refers to a thick, sweet drink, which is apparently what the original stuff in Turkey was all about.

Just wondered what y'all think of when hearing the word "sherbet" - and also how you would spell it since there are a few variations.



  1. It's definitely sherbet! The alternative to the liquorice sherbet is a 'sherbet dib dab' which is a packet of white sherbet complete with a lollipop on a stick which you lick and then put in the sherbet!

    I've just read this back ... is there an award for how many times you can say sherbet in one comment?!

  2. "Sherbert Fountains" were my top favourites - yes made me choke but lasted for ages and made major mess and the cardboard used to get all soggy by the end....I thought it was spelt sherbert - but what do I know after my last v uncool post about Scar music - thanks for the correction.

    What about Sherbert lemons?


  3. In my world (the midwestern US) it was not a drink, sherbet is frozen and is like an ice cream but made from fruit with little or no dairy. Wikipedia tells me this meaning is synonymous with "sorbet" but we never ever said sorbet, always sherbet (and sometimes as children sherbeRt). Lemon and lime are my favorites, quite tangy and not too sweet.

  4. Ah..... I am now going down memory lane!
    Sherbet conjures up sherbet fountains like you illustrated and a liquorice straw. I too have had a near squeak with damaging my nasal passages! Inhaling Sherbet dust.
    When I was pregnant with second & last child....... this was what I craved for & poor husband had to go out & look for a shop that sold the stuff. The flying saucers I remember well.
    Have you come across sherbet lemons? Another favourite.

    I also say SKedule...... of course I originated in the North. My Grandma always said scallions instead of Spring Onions.

    Funny how you can reminisce over a few onions & a sherbet dab as they are called down here.

  5. And of course, there's always the expression 'having a couple of sherberts' when you're off down 't pub. Not that I get to do THAT any more...

  6. Powder all the way. And yes, the licquorice was supposed to be a kind of straw (but it never seemed to work). I knew dib-daps too, and how about sherbet lemons?

  7. I am choking on that sherbet dipper just now, and those flying saucers - Melt in the mouth, tasting like sweet rice paper, with a slightly more bitter melting of the sherbet inside - I am in the north east as I type, and I know exactly what you mean by scallions!

  8. Definitely the sherbet dip, and the weird sensation in your mouth.

    The American sherbet sounds more like what we used to call slush puppies?

  9. I was under the impression that it was sherbert, but clearly I was wrong. And I always think of the classic yellow Fountain as well. The Special One thinks of sherbet as sorbet, but in her defence she is American and doesn't know any better...

  10. After 30 years we are still carrying large amounts of sweets to family members here twice a year....the sweet tooth never diminishes it seems.

  11. After 30 years we are still carrying large amounts of sweets to family members here twice a year....the sweet tooth never diminishes it seems.

  12. Definitely 'Sherbert' for me (I'm from the south-east near London). And I think primarily of Sherbert Fountains, of flying saucers, of Dib-Dabs and of these hard sweets which were pastel colored and hard on the outside, sherbertey on the inside. I forget their name, though think they're probably Rowntree products... Mmmm I want sherbert now!

  13. My sis and I were obsessed with sherbet as kids and ate any and all variations - with Sherbet Dip and flying saucers as firm favs, along with Sherbet pips (so pretty) and a 2 or 4oz bag of rainbow sherbet from the sweet shop, that we then made into our own Dip or Dib Dab by adding liquorice or lolly. My kids are missing out on one of the great treats in life - that's for sure. (As an aside - did you see Lake Michigan this morning??? It was STUNNING - like little tiny snow hills as far as the eye could see)

  14. Hmmm. I can't remember sherbet lemons, and know what the dib dabs are but don't think I had them as a kid. I did forget all about the loose bags of powder you could buy.
    I also noticed that the spelling was right there on the side of the fountain and it only has the one R in it.
    Interesting how the meaning in the US is different. Some people think of it as almost a sorbet, while in parts of the south (at least where my in-laws are) it is more of a drink. Very thick and sweet tho'.

    And altho' I didn't see the lake this morning Nicola, it still cracks me up that it looks like the sea but often has piles of snow and ice on it. Oh when will it all melt and sod off?

  15. Ooh I remember sherbet dib dabs, and those sherbet communion wafer UFOs. But the little paper bags of different coloured sherbet which you licked your finger & then dipped into the bag, were fantastic. Defintely it's got to be powder.

  16. Well, what a memory - I used to love those sherbet fountains! I used to lick the liquorice stick then put it back in the tube to stick more powder to it, lick repeat, lick repeat. Of course, I used to love when I cheated on myself and just tip the whole fountain upside down into my mouth .. oh what a sweet tooth :)

    Now, born in Stamford, Lincs: used to say shedule until moved to LOndon then converted from farmers boy to posh nob and skedule ... at least that's what I thought at the time. And - always spring onions!

  17. Ooh - sherbet fountains, choking on fizz! I found an import place that had them one time, but the liquorice straws seemed stale :-( And I thought I'd found flying saucers at a local sweet shop here, but it turned out they had crunchy little hundreds and thousands in them instead - what a disappointment!

    I bought the last of the sherbet lemons at the import store, and the man said he wouldn't be able to get any more because of import regulations - something to do with the colours! Now that's a laugh - they're much more careful in the UK I thought about nasty food colours that make kids hyperactive! Same import store went out of business shortly afterwards. I have found other local sources for certain sweet things, notably Smarties and Ribena.

    As for skedule vs schedule - I think I said skedule in the UK - but I probably said timetable in many situations where Americans would say schedule.

  18. Ooooh Flying Saucers OMG I used to love those - thanks for the memory!! I can confirm having been married to a Turk, the original meaning was and still is a thick sweet drink.

    But I am with you on this and the SKEDULE, despite being a Southerner, although born a Manc!

  19. Oh, I almost forgot how to spell it because I was so busy going back into the mists of time thinking about sherbet dib-dabs, prawns, fruit salads and black jacks.Hmmmm! Sorry, I am a shedyule!

  20. sherbert dib dabs, sherbert fountains, flying saucers and 'going out for a couple of sherberts'

  21. Oh my mouth is watering, those flying saucers were a favourite of mine. They're delicious. The Co-op in Britain still does them.

    You were meant to suck the sherbet up the liquorice, like up a straw, but it never worked because it always got clogged up, especially after your saliva had dribbled down it a bit.

    I'm glad to know that sherbet has variations of spelling. I always want to put an extra R in it - sherbert, but have just assumed that was wrong. It would be nice to know that it's not wrong, just different.

    The very sad thing is this. I saw some sherbert fountains last summer, bought my kids one each, thinking they were in for such a treat. They didn't like them!
    Can you imagine? Perhaps it's a taste you have to acquire younger than they are. Although thinking about it, they do like dip dabs. Perhaps it was the liquorice.

  22. Sherbet Fountains and the Flying Saucers were yummy. My friend got me some bags of flying saucers recently.

    I was a skedule person - but grew up in Wales and I had the same problem when moving back to London with with the schedule!

  23. There is actually a website that you can buy all those yummy sweets on and they even come wrapped in the old style little white paper bags. It's http://www.aquarterof.co.uk/

    Not sure if they deliver to the US but I buy in bulk on there and get huge boxes of sweets sent over to me, and then sit and pig out for weeks on them.

  24. I loved sherbet fountains, usually used the liqurice to dip in and suck. I'd forgotten about the flying saucers. We also used to get sherbet lemons, sour enough to make cracks in your tongue if you had too many. Haven't had any of them for a very long time - I don't even know if we get them here in South Africa.


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