Complete Transcript

Welcome English as a Second Language Podcast number 9: Making Dinner, Eating Dinner.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode number nine. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

In this episode, I’ll talk about making and eating dinner. I especially like the eating part. Let’s get started.

[Start of story]

When I get home, I start on dinner right away. I clean off the kitchen counter after putting away the groceries and decide to make pasta. I preheat the oven to 375 to bake the bread and to keep the chicken hot until my wife gets home. I put some water in a pan and turn the burner on high. When the water starts boiling, I put in the pasta and decide to make a salad. Just then, my wife opens the back door and yells, “I’m home!” She comes into the kitchen, and helps with chopping the tomatoes to add to the sauce. She stirs the sauce until it’s done, while I finish tossing the salad.

I get out the place mats and napkins to set the table. I also make sure that there is a spoon, knife, fork, and plate for each of us. About 15 minutes later, we sit down at the table in the dining room and talk about our long day. My wife says she’ll do the dishes, since I cooked, but of course I help out by drying them. First, I put some of the leftovers in a Tupperware container and some in plastic wrap and the rest in aluminum foil. Then I dry the pans, plates, glasses, and silverware.

[End of story]

In this episode, we are making dinner at the beginning, “When I get home, I start on dinner right away.” Once again, we have one of those two-word verbs in English, “I start on dinner,” that means I begin to prepare dinner. So, “I start on dinner right away. I clean off the kitchen counter after putting away the groceries.” The “kitchen counter” (counter) is the place in your kitchen where you have a long, flat top or board where you can prepare food and you can put things on, it’s like the table almost. But usually in a kitchen, you have cabinets or cupboards, where you store things, and on top you have a counter. A “counter” is a general word that refers to the top of something, usually somewhere where you do something on top of it. In this case, the kitchen counter is where you prepare food.

Well, “I clean off the kitchen counter after” I put “away the groceries.” The “groceries” (groceries) – plural –are the food that I buy at the market. We sometimes call a supermarket a grocery store – a place that you buy groceries – buy food that you bring home and prepare and eat at home.

I decided “to make pasta.” So, “I preheat the oven to 375.” “To preheat” (preheat) really means the same here as to heat, but if you look at the instructions for making food, what we would call the “recipe” (recipe) – the recipe for making food, usually it begins, if you are going to be cooking something in the oven, by telling you to preheat the oven. That just means to turn it on so that when you are ready, when it is hot, you can put the food in to cook. “Pre” (pre) means before or to do something before.

So, “I preheat the oven to 375,” in other words, 375 degrees Fahrenheit. I preheat it because I want “to bake the bread and keep the chicken hot until my wife gets home.” “To bake” (bake) is to cook something, usually in an oven. So, I open the oven door, I put in the bread, I put in the chicken, and then I close the door. My wife is going to be home late so I want to keep the chicken hot – I want to make sure that it stays hot.

I put some water in a pan. A “pan” is what you use to cook something in. So, “I put some water in a pan and I turn the burner on high.” The “burner” (burner) is on top of what we would call your “stove” (stove). Your burners are for cooking food, where you have the heat comes from the bottom and you put the pan on top of the heat. So, if you are going to boil some water – make the water hot – you would put it in a pan and then put it on top of a burner, and the burner is part of your stove. Usually, stoves and ovens are one machine, one – in one single piece in many American kitchens. In my kitchen, the stove is on top of the oven.

I’m going to boil some water. “To boil” (boil) means to make the one of very hot until you start to see bubbles. The average temperature is 212 degrees Fahrenheit, or 100 degrees Celsius, in order to boil water. Well, “when the water starts boiling” – when it starts to make bubbles because it is very hot – “I put in the pasta.” I take the pasta – the pasta “noodles” (noodles) – the little pieces of pasta, we call those noodles – and I put them into the boiling water so they can cook.

Then I decide I want “to make a salad” because I’m very hungry. Well, just as I decide to make the salad, “just then, my wife opens the back door.” “Just then” – that expression means at that time – at that same time – “my wife opens the back door” – the door to the house in the back, the opposite would be the front door. She yells, “I’m home!” That’s what you would say when you come home to someone who is already there, you would say, “I’m home!” You wouldn’t say, “I’ve arrived,” or “I’m here,” you would say, “I’m home.”

My wife comes into the kitchen and helps me chop the tomatoes. “To chop” (chop) means to cut something into small pieces. We chop tomatoes – we make them into smaller pieces – and we add them to the pasta sauce that’s the red liquid that we’re going to put over the pasta. My wife “stirs the sauce until it’s done.” “To stir” (stir) when you are cooking means to take a spoon and put it into the pan and move the spoon back and forth so that you are mixing what is in the pan.

So, my wife is stirring the sauce – the pasta sauce – the tomato sauce “until it’s done” – until it is ready – until it is cooked, “while I finish tossing the salad.” So, she is stirring the sauce and at the same time, I am finishing the salad, and I finished by tossing it. “To toss” (toss) a salad means to mix the salad together. In a salad, you often have lettuce and maybe tomatoes, other food, other vegetables, and you want to mix them together. Often you put in a salad “dressing” (dressing). Salad dressing is a liquid, often made from some oil, that gives a better taste to your salad. So, you toss the salad in order to mix everything up.

That verb, to toss, can also mean to throw, usually to throw something to someone else. Someone may say, “Toss me that pen,” they mean throw me that pen.

Well, I am “tossing the salad” here – mixing it up, “I get out the place mats and napkins to set the table.” The “place (place) mats (mats)” are things that you put underneath the plate and the spoon, fork, and knife so that the table doesn’t get dirty; we call those place mats. They can be plastic; they can be made out of cloth, and they are used to protect your table.

So, “I get out the place mats and the napkins to set the table.” A “napkin” (napkin) is like a little towel that you use. In case you need to wipe your face while you are eating, you can use your napkin, and it’s common in American restaurants and in houses for people to put the napkin on their legs while they are sitting – on the top of their legs, which we would call the “lap” – on your “lap” (lap) you put the napkin while you are eating. “To set” (set) the table means to put all of the things that you need on the table – plates, spoons, knives, forks, and so forth. That is to set the table – to make the table ready so you can eat.

“About 15 minutes” after I set the table, my wife and I sit at the table – “we sit down at the table in the dining room and talk about our long day.” The “dining room” (dining) is a place where you eat. “To dine” as a verb, (dine) means to eat. So, the dining room is the room in your house where you eat your meals. My wife and I “talk about our long day,” meaning we had many things happen today, and maybe we are very tired, so we had a long day.

“My wife says that she’ll do the dishes.” “To do the dishes” means the same as to wash the dishes. My wife offers to “do the dishes” because “I cooked, but of course,” since I am a wonderful husband, “I help out by drying” the dishes. “To help out” means the same here as to help. But if we are talking about helping another person do something, maybe something that we don’t have to do, but we want to be nice, we would say we help them out.

So, I helped my wife out by drying the dishes. “First,’ I have to “put some of the leftovers in a Tupperware container.” “Leftovers” (leftovers) – all one word – is extra food – food that you did not eat. At the end of your dinner – at the end of your meal – if you want to keep some of that food, we call it leftovers. And in this case, I’m going to put the leftovers into a small plastic box that has a top on it. We call that kind of little box a “container” (container). We usually refer to these plastic boxes that we put food in as Tupperware containers. “Tupperware” (Tupperware) is actually a company that makes these small plastic containers for food. Even if you don’t have a container made by that company, many people just call it “my Tupperware” – the Tupperware containers – that means the plastic boxes that you can put food into.

Well, some of the food, I put in a plastic wrap. A “plastic wrap” (wrap) is a thin, clear piece of plastic that I put food into, and we call it a “wrap” (wrap) because we put it around something. To wrap something is to put something around it, usually to keep it cold, or to keep it warm, or to keep it fresh when we are talking about food. We use that same word, wrap, for putting paper around a present or a gift that you are giving someone. The paper is called wrapping paper.

You can also put food in aluminum foil. “Aluminum” (aluminum) is a kind of metal. It’s usually a silver color. “Foil” (foil) is like a plastic wrap but it’s made from aluminum. It’s a – it’s like a long, flat sheet that you can put around something to keep the food in your refrigerator or in your freezer, where you have even colder temperatures.

At the end of the story, I dry the pans, the plates, the glasses, and the silverware. The silverware, remember, is the spoon, knife, fork that you use when you eat.

Now let’s listen to the story, this time at a regular speed.

[Start of story]

When I get home, I start on dinner right away. I clean off the kitchen counter after putting away the groceries and decide to make pasta. I preheat the oven to 375 to bake the bread and to keep the chicken hot until my wife gets home. I put some water in a pan and turn the burner on high. When the water starts boiling, I put in the pasta and decide to make a salad. Just then, my wife opens the back door and yells, “I’m home!” She comes into the kitchen, and helps with chopping the tomatoes to add to the sauce. She stirs the sauce until it’s done, while I finish tossing the salad.

I get out the place mats and napkins to set the table. I also make sure that there is a spoon, knife, fork, and plate for each of us. About 15 minutes later, we sit down at the table in the dining room and talk about our long day. My wife says she’ll do the dishes, since I cooked, but of course I help out by drying them. First, I put some of the leftovers in a Tupperware container and some in plastic wrap and the rest in aluminum foil. Then I dry the pans, plates, glasses, and silverware.

[End of story]

Her scripts are more satisfying than any good meal. I speak, of course, of the work of our scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan, thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

This course has been a production of the Center for Educational Development, in beautiful Los Angeles, California. Visit our website at eslpod.com.

This course was produced by Dr. Jeff McQuillan and Dr. Lucy Tse. Copyright 2006.

Glossary

counter – a long, flat surface in a kitchen or bathroom for putting things on

* Please don’t forget to clean the counters after you wash the dishes.

groceries – food and drinks that are bought in a store

* I accidentally left some of the groceries in the car overnight and had to throw away the spoiled milk in the morning

to preheat – to heat an oven to the correct cooking temperature before placing any food inside the oven to cook

* This cake recipe says that we should preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

to bake – to cook in an oven

* Doug likes to bake cookies with his children on the weekends.

burner – the round part of a stove that produces heat under a pot or pan

* Does your stove have gas burners or electric burners?

to boil – to be at the point where a liquid that is being heated is very hot and there are bubbles in the liquid

* Don’t put the eggs in the water until the water boils.

to chop – to cut a food into pieces with a knife

* Please chop the carrots so that I can add them to this soup.

to stir – to use a spoon to move a liquid around in a bowl or pot

* I’m supposed to stir this soup for 20 minutes without stopping, but my arm is getting tired.

to toss – to lightly mix vegetable or fruits in a salad

* If you don’t toss the salad gently, you will damage the fruits.

place mat – a rectangular piece of fabric or plastic placed on the table in front of each person, to protect the table from hot items and falling pieces of food

* Look how much food is on these place mats! It’s a good thing we used them for the kids.

napkin – a small piece of fabric or soft paper used to clean one’s mouth during or after eating

* Cloth napkins look nicer than paper napkins, but you have to wash them after a meal.

to set the table – to put placemats, napkins, plates, cups, forks, knives, and spoons on the table before a meal

* When you set a table, the fork and napkin should be on the left side of the plate and the knife and spoon should be on the right side of the plate.

dining room – a room with a table and chairs where people eat meals

* We can invite only two guests for dinner because our dining room is so small.

to do the dishes – to wash dirty plates, cups, forks, knives, spoons, pots, pans, and other things used for food

* They always do the dishes together: he washes them and she rinses them off.

leftovers – uneaten food that is saved for another day

* Last night we couldn’t eat all of the chicken, so today my roommate took the leftovers to work for lunch.

Tupperware container – a plastic container with a lid that is used for storing uneaten food

* Which Tupperware container are the cooked vegetables in? The blue one or the green one?

plastic wrap – clear thin plastic that sticks to itself and is used to cover uneaten food

* At the picnic, he wrapped the potato salad in plastic wrap so that the flies wouldn’t land in it.

aluminum foil – a shiny, flat piece of aluminum that tears easily and is used to cover uneaten food

* I often wrap food with aluminum foil before cooking it in the oven so that it doesn’t become too dry.

Culture Note

Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death and a major cause of “disability” (illness or condition of the body or mind that prevents someone from doing certain activities) in the United States. Nearly everyone knows of or is “related to” (connected by blood to) someone who has been a “victim of” (person who has suffered because of) heart disease.

Nearly 600,000 Americans die of heart disease “annually” (each year). This is almost 25% of all deaths in the United States. To “raise awareness” (make more people aware) of this disease, February has been “American Heart Month” since 1963.

Some medical conditions, such as “high blood pressure” (too much force moving the blood through the body), and lifestyle factors, such as an unhealthy “diet” (what one eats and drinks), can increase your “risk” (danger) of developing heart disease. Having close “biological” (related by blood) relatives with heart disease can also increase your risk of developing heart disease. Working close with “health providers” (such as nurses and doctors) to “review” (look at; go over) your medical history can help determine whether you are in the “high-risk” (likely to develop something bad) “category” (group).

The U.S. government strongly recommends “cholesterol” (substance in the body that prevents healthy movement of blood through the body) “screening” (exam) for men aged 35 and older. For people who have a “family history” (other members of one’s blood relatives having had) of early heart disease, the government recommends cholesterol screening beginning at age 20 for both women and men.