Study English – Series 3, Episode 23: Talking About Food

Study English – Series 3, Episode 23: Talking About Food


Hello, and welcome to Study English, IELTS
Preparation. I’m Margot Politis. The topic of food and the customs around preparing
food come up often in the IELTS Speaking Test. It is useful to look at this topic area and
think about how to select language and organise a response if you’re asked to talk about food,
cooking and diet. Let’s begin by listening to someone talk about
the various meals she has during the day: I usually have breakfast every morning, and
lunch in the early afternoon, a sandwich usually or some instant noodles, but the main meal
of the day for me is normally dinner. Let’s go over the language of meals. She mentioned
breakfast, the morning meal, lunch, the meal we have in the middle of the day and dinner,
which is the evening meal. So what other words are there? In the United States and Britain another word
for dinner is supper. In Australia the word supper isn’t used very
often and usually refers to a light meal late at night. In Australia the other word for dinner is
tea. Tea can also refer to afternoon tea or high
tea, a formal English meal of small sandwiches, scones and a cup of tea. A tea break or a coffee break is a short time
during the working day when people have a break with a cup of tea or coffee. Food and drink consumed between meals during
the day or night are called snacks. You might hear people talk about ‘brunch’,
which is a mid morning meal that combines breakfast and lunch, a bit like the Chinese
yum cha. Yumcha is quite familiar to westerners these
days and it would be reasonable if asked what your favourite meal is to talk about it as
the speaker does here: The family usually gets together on Sunday
for a traditional Chinese banquet, or yum cha, either at home or in China town, but
usually I eat on my own, or have lunch at work with a colleague. So what might you be asked about meals? You might be asked what you usually have to
eat for breakfast or whether you eat breakfast at all. Another common question is ‘What is the main
meal of the day?’ How does the speaker answer that? I usually have breakfast every morning, and
lunch in the early afternoon, a sandwich usually or some instant noodles, but the main meal
of the day for me is normally dinner. Her answer is dinner, but, as would be expected,
she expands her answer to talk about other meals too. It is important to distinguish between meal
and staple. Staple means the basic food most commonly eaten. For most people in Asia this
is rice as it is with our speaker: Rice is the main staple in my diet. Staples in other countries are potatoes, and
wheat in its various forms such as bread, pasta or couscous. When preparing for the IELTS Test, it is important
to brainstorm a variety of topics and issues – to begin to develop your own ideas, and
build up possible responses. You should: think of examples
think of reasons think of useful vocabulary To start you could divide the topic of food
into various aspects such as: meat, fish, vegetables and herbs and spices. Cooking styles: boiling, frying and steaming. Cuisines: Italian, Indian and Japanese. Cooking utensils: pots, pans and woks. Eating utensils: plate, bowl, knife, fork,
spoon, chopsticks. There are many things to say and ask about
these things. With food types, you might want to say that you don’t eat meat and that you
are a vegetarian. You may even avoid eggs, milk and fish as well, in which case you are
a vegan. You could be asked why people choose to be
a vegetarian or a vegan. A good reason to be vegetarian is that it
is a healthy diet, something our speaker is aware of: I try and have a healthy, balanced diet – not
much fried, fatty food, and a good mix of fruit and vegetables. You may be asked about what healthy food is
or if junk food is bad for you and why. With utensils it’s possible that you may be
asked to compare chopsticks with forks with a question like: Do you prefer to eat with chopsticks or a
fork? Now let’s see if you can work out what question
might have prompted our speaker’s reply. Listen to the clip, and think what question might
have been asked. Rice is the main staple in my diet. I try
and have a healthy, balanced diet – not much fried, fatty food, and a good mix of fruit
and vegetables. Perhaps she was asked: ‘Describe what you
usually eat?’ That would require describing in the answer. Or ‘What do you usually eat?’, where you would
have to identify what you eat. Which question is more likely? Listen again: Rice is the main staple in my diet. I try
and have a healthy, balanced diet – not much fried, fatty food, and a good mix of fruit
and vegetables. She’s identified or named the things she usually
eats, so the most likely question would be: ‘What do you usually eat?’ Let’s try it again. What question? Think about
the language function she uses: The family usually gets together on Sunday
for a traditional Chinese banquet, or yumcha, either at home or in China town, but usually
I eat on my own, or have lunch at work with a colleague. What about: ‘Is it better to eat alone or
with others?’ That needs you to give an opinion. She talks
about eating alone, but doesn’t say that it’s better or worse than eating with others. So that’s not right. She explains who she
eats with and when, so it’s more likely to be: ‘Who do you usually eat with?’ Does the answer fit? Let’s try it. The family usually gets together on Sunday
for a traditional Chinese banquet, or yumcha, either at home or in China town, but usually
I eat on my own, or have lunch at work with a colleague. Let’s try one more. What might the question
be? I don’t cook much. My mother is a good cook,
and can create great meals just from a wok! We have many dishes including roast duck – my
favourite. What about ‘Can you cook?’ She doesn’t really
say if she can or can’t. She just says she doesn’t cook much.
It’s probably: ‘Who does the cooking where you live?’ I don’t cook much. My mother is a good cook,
and can create great meals just from a wok! We have many dishes including roast duck – my
favourite. These questions might be asked individually
in Part 1 of the Speaking Test, or joined together in Part 2. Part 2 is the long turn, where you have to
talk for one to two minutes in response to a prompt card like this: Talk about what you usually eat every day. You should say: what you eat
who you eat with, and who does the cooking where you live Let’s listen to the response: I usually have breakfast every morning, and
lunch in the early afternoon, a sandwich usually or some instant noodles, but the main meal
of the day for me is normally dinner. That often consists of some meat, maybe grilled,
some steamed vegetables and rice. Rice is the main staple in my diet. I try
and have a healthy, balanced diet – not much fried, fatty food, and a good mix of fruit
and vegetables. The family usually gets together on Sunday
for a traditional Chinese banquet, or yumcha, either at home or in China town, but usually
I eat on my own, or have lunch at work with a colleague. I don’t cook much. My mother is a good cook,
and can create great meals just from a wok! We have many dishes including roast duck – my
favourite. That’s all for now. To find more information about the IELTS Speaking
Test, visit our Study English website. Good luck with your studies.

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