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<   No. 754   2005-02-18   >

Comic #754

1 {scene: The labyrinth. Now Monty has gone over to speak to Haken and Erwin, followed by Minnesota Jones. This leaves Dr Smith and Prof. Jones together.}
1 Prof. Jones: So you're Russian, eh?
1 Ginny: Da.
2 Prof. Jones: I went to Russia once. Really good food there. Nice and hearty.
3 Prof. Jones: I had this stew, delicious. Made with beet roots, potatoes, and cabbage, garnished with sour cream.
4 Ginny: Borscht.
4 Prof. Jones: No, it's true I tell you!

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Professor Jones notwithstanding, borscht is indeed a stew whose principal ingredient is beet roots.

Normally I use straight up Australian English when writing comics, but this time I made a deliberate rewording to accomodate those whose native tongue is American English. The vegetable Americans call beet is called beetroot in Australia (and the UK). By using the space between "beet" and "roots" I figure that the text flows easily for readers of both linguistic stripes, whereas if I'd used "beetroot", some American readers might be wondering what I was talking about. Yes, the connection is reasonably obvious, but avoiding a speed bump in the reader's concentration is usually desirable.


2014-03-27 Rerun commentary: This is not, however, a scriptwriting principle I use all the time. Sometimes I'm perfectly happy to use a local colloquialism and let other readers try and nut it out for themselves. Or provide some explanation or at least guidance in the accompanying notes. This can be educational, which is also a cool thing.

Beetroot, by the way, is an essential ingredient in Australian hamburgers. The absolute bare minimum of ingredients for a proper (i.e. Australian) hamburger are:

Standard options include: And speaking of kangaroo, beetroot has become the de facto "traditional" accompaniment to kangaroo meat, in much the same way as steak and potatoes, or lamb and mint sauce, or fish and chips. Most restaurants with a kangaroo dish on the menu will have the standard accompaniment include beetroot in some form, either as a vegetable or in the sauce. (Fresh beetroot, not pickled.) I guess somewhere along the line someone decided that the flavour went well with kangaroo meat, and other chefs followed the trend.

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