There are such huge differences between American words and what they mean and English words for the same but totally different...if you get my drift.

Gracie suggested making gravy from those dozens of tomatoes Himself bought as a bargain yesterday...gravy?

We'd call it sauce you see...gravy to us English and Irish speakers is a rich savoury sauce...or gravy...made from meat juices, stock and thickener which we then pour liberally over a roast dinner or sausages...or especially into the middle of a Yorkshire Pudding which isn't a pudding at all unless you like to eat it smothered in golden syrup...then its a pudding...

Golden syrup is teeth clenchingly sweet and just perfect if you have a sugar craving...or drizzled on hot toast in the middle of winter or ladled over porridge. And the tins look pretty in your cupboard.

Gravy can be made with plain flour stirred into water or vegetable water and boiled until smooth...or you can cheat, and most people do, by using Bisto which does the whole job for you in a matter of minutes. Bisto comes in a packet or a tin and is called gravy browning 'cos it makes the gravy an attractive brown colour...

Then there are sauces...sweet ones for pancakes and puddings...cheese ones for pasta and cauliflower...chocolate sauce for ice-cream...and brown sauce which comes in a bottle and is nice with fried food...and then there is tomato sauce or ketchup. There are people who look aghast at a plate of chips if there isn't a bottle of tomato sauce on the table to dip the chips into...those who refuse to eat a fried egg without the requiste bottle of thick gooey tomato sauce close at hand.

It's the firm called Heinz which produces the best tomato sauce which is the most popular unless you are eating in a cheap cafe when they'll palm you off with a poor substitute...there was once a fashion for a plastic tomato filled with the sauce which you squeezed out of a hole in the top...no cafe table was properly dressed without the tomato.

It's thought bad form to put a sauce bottle on the table when you're eating at home...it's considered to be slightly 'common' and not what nicely brought up people do. Though nicely brought up people don't much care for brown sauce or tomato sauce anyway...

But it wouldn't occur to us to refer to a tomato sauce...whether made from fresh tomatoes organically grown with no pesticides or those genetically mutated objects that are enormous and taste of nothing much...as gravy.

Tomatoes go well with basil...and any tomato dish is enhanced with a tea spoonful of sugar...it is also said that if you eat a tomato at lunchtime you're not as hungry nearer supper...some people who study food intensely avoid tomatoes altogether because they are related to the potato and considered to be poisonous...

There was a time when the humble tomato was thought of as a fruit rather than a vegetable and now you can buy vine tomatoes which have a bit of green stalk left on or tiny bite sized tomatoes that you can grow in a hanging basket or grossly huge beefsteak tomatoes that you're supposed to stuff with pinenuts and breadcrumbs...though quite why anyone would bother is beyond me.

But I won't be making a gravy from the bag of tomatoes lurking in the bottom of my 'fridge...I'll be making a thick sauce to pour on top of pasta...providing they haven't gone soft and squashy before I get round to it.