Sliding Back into Kiwiland by Angela Caldin
Well, dear readers, the part-time NZ resident who contributes to this blog has landed again in the land of the long white cloud after a six month absence in the UK. It’s great to be back with the family and to feel summer lying in wait just around the corner, knowing that winter winds and cold are brewing in the UK.
A New Word Discovered
One of my first outings was to meet with my fellow bloggers, Emily and Trevor, at a hostelry on the Ponsonby Road. It transpired that while I’ve been away, they’ve changed venue and now hold their Sunday trysts at Sliders, a bar presided over by the kindly and smiling Shane, a fount of information both trivial and profound. I was intrigued by the name of the bar as I had no idea what sliders might be. The word evoked for me doors sliding backwards and forwards, or little children whooshing down shiny slides in the park, or even skaters swooping elegantly over brilliant white ice, or possibly people falling behind at work or with their studies. But why on earth would you call a bar Sliders? I just couldn’t work it out.
So I asked the all-knowing Shane, fount of so much knowledge. He smiled at my ignorance and disappeared into the kitchen to emerge with a tiny little bun with some sesame seeds on the top. This, he explained, is the bun for a slider or a small hamburger. So the term slider refers to a very small hamburger patty served on an equally small bun. Because of their size sliders are often served in pairs, trios or even six at a time.
Origins and Meanings
I’m sure you’re wondering, as I did, where the name originated. Some say that it was first used aboard US Navy ships, because of the way greasy burgers slid across the galley grill while the ship pitched and rolled. Other versions claim the term originated from the hamburgers served by flight line galleys at military airfields, which were so greasy they slid right through you, or because their small size allows them to ‘slide’ right down your throat in one or two bites.
Slider has two other meanings as I discovered when I looked the word up online. It’s the term used to refer to a fast baseball pitch that curves slightly and sharply in front of a batter, away from the side from which it was thrown. It’s also the name for a freshwater turtle chiefly found in the south eastern United States which usually has a red stripe behind each eye and is sometimes sold as a pet.
The Excitement of New Knowledge
So I’ve only been back in Auckland a couple of days, but already my horizons have broadened. I’ve a new word in my vocabulary and a new food concept to assimilate. I might even try out a slider next time I go to Sliders Bar. This is what happens when you travel – you live, you learn and you find out. I can’t recommend it highly enough.