Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pop vs. Soda

One of the key ingredients to a successful fantasy baseball draft is the food and drinks. I write this because my teams have not fared so well over the past 15 years, so I must enjoy the food and camaraderie. Anyway, when the draft took place in Pittsburgh, we had fries from The O (the Original Hot Dog Shop for those not familiar with this Pittsburgh landmark or the "Dirty O" for regulars). Some years are more difficult for me in terms of eating good food since the draft often takes place during Passover. I should actually do a study to determine if there is a correlation between where my team finishes in the standings based on whether or not I am eating matzah or macaroons during the draft.

With the draft taking place this weekend, a flurry of e-mails has gone back and forth discussing who is bringing what. One such e-mail was from the Commissioner who simply wrote, "I'll bring soda." I was and still am appalled by this sentence. The Commissioner, Marc, was born and raised in Pittsburgh and has lived in Michigan for several years. The last time I checked, both of these areas are "pop" country. I would understand if Marc lived in the Washington area and tried to assimilate by saying the dreaded "soda" (I wouldn’t agree, but I would understand), but again, he lives in Michigan. Marc, are you turning your back on your yinzer roots? :)

You may be wondering how one defines pop or soda or even Coke territory. The map below, which I found on what appears to be the now defunct Tasty Research website, shows the most popular term used for carbonated beverages throughout the United States. I wish I knew who created this map, although I think Alan McConchie deserves the credit. I saved an article from the October 6, 2002 edition of The Sunday Capital which describes how McConchie started a website at California Institute of Technology asking Americans to respond to the pop/soda/Coke question. Unfortunately, when you type in the website, you receive a message that the page is not found. However, the Cal Tech site may have turned into, which does not appear to have been updated in years. Regardless, this is truly an awesome map.

I expect that Marc will bring the pop this weekend.


Anonymous said...

I think I stopped calling it "pop" when attending high school USY events in Ohio. Something about the sound of it being said with a Jew-ey Ohio accent ("paaap") made me cringe and change my refreshment requesting ways. I think I actually stopped dating someone because of the way she said pop. There might have been other factors.

Anonymous said...

Great post Sean! NY and Penn are the only two states that are truly split and the map is dead on. Rochester is sort of where the split is. Half of people here say pop(which is correct, I agree with you) and half say soda. You can see our county on the map and it says 50% say pop. You are right, whoever did this research did an awesome job!

honeykbee said...

Hysterical! That map is great. Need a similar one for "sprinkles" vs. "jimmies".

Hey have you heard of this Pittsburgh delicacy they call cat on a stick?

Sean said...

Marc - Maybe it was the way that the Ohio girl said pop. If she said, "Are yinz having a pop" you may still be saying pop today!

Paul - I agree with you completely about the dividing lines in NY and PA. What I find interesting is the pop/soda split in Missouri, especially around St. Louis, and Wisconsin.

Honeykbee - I have not heard of cat on a stick. Can anyone help her out? Sprinkles vs. jimmies is a great call. How about hoagie vs. sub?

Anonymous said...

Cat on a stick, as I know it, is a Southside post-bar delicacy. Sold by a street vendor somewhere near Tom's Diner, I think. It is supposedly actually chicken.

Anonymous said...

i never said nor drank pop, though my family did. perhaps that's why i'm never invited anywhere.

Mystery Man said...


you would be interested to know that there was an article on the USAir magazine discussing jimmies and sprinkles. Try to locate it!!! As far as pop, well it is indeed pop. Down with Soda-sayers!!!

Meade Skelton Haufe said...

This is interesting. Im from Virginia and we always called it "Soft Drink" or "Coke", never Soda. Soda is something you bake with. Although now Virginia has a lot of people from out of state, especially in Northern Virginia, so maybe its changing.