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0241 At the Bakery

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 241: At the Bakery.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 241. I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Remember to visit our website at eslpod.com and download the Learning Guide for this episode, as well as take look at our new ESL Podcast Store.

This episode is called “At the Bakery.” A bakery is a place can buy bread and other kinds of desserts, such as cake. I'm hungry already! Let's get started.

[start of story]

Clerk: Hi, can I help you?

Leticia: Hi. I’m trying to make up my mind about which kind of dessert to get. Everything in the case looks delicious.

Clerk: Thanks. As you can see, we have a lot of different types of cookies, brownies, cakes, and muffins over here.

Leticia: Ooh, that cake looks wonderful. How many people does it serve?

Clerk: This one? It has three layers, and it serves between eight and ten people, depending on how you slice it. If you like chocolate, you may like this one over here with the frosting and sprinkles.

Leticia: Oh, that looks good, too. Hmm. It’s so hard to decide. Why don’t I take the layer cake, and I’d like a dozen of these cookies, too.

Clerk: Our cookies, muffins, and scones always come in baker’s dozens. Can I get you anything else?

Leticia: I think I’d like a bag of those biscotti, too.

Clerk: Sure, no problem. Would you like the cookies and biscotti in the same box as the cake?

Leticia: No. Please put them in separate boxes, if you don’t mind.

Clerk: Not at all. Here you are.

Leticia: Thanks. We’ll be having an overload of sugar for the next few days!

[end of story]

Our dialogue today is between the person that works at the bakery - the clerk - and Leticia.

The clerk begins by saying, “Hi,” how can “I help you,” or he actually says, “can I help you” - they both mean the same. Leticia says, “Hi. I’m trying to make up my mind about which kind of dessert to get.” To make up your mind it means to decide - to choose - to make a decision. A dessert, “dessert,” is a sweet food that you eat after lunch or dinner. It is my favorite part of the meal, just like the kids!

Leticia says that “Everything in the case looks delicious.” When we talk about a case in a store, “case,” we mean a large box that has glass windows, and inside of the box are things that are for sale that the customers can look at and select. In a bakery, the actual cakes and cookies - what we would call the baked goods, “goods” - are inside of the case so you can point and tell the clerk which one you want.

The clerk explains that they have “different types of cookies, brownies, cakes, and muffins.” These are all things that you would find in a bakery - they're all kinds of dessert. Cookies, you probably know, are sweet, round, flat things usually made from flour, sugar, milk and eggs. Sometimes they have chocolate or nuts in them.

Brownies, “brownies,” are small, square desserts. It is like a very heavy chocolate cake, also made with flour, sugar, eggs, a lot of butter and some chocolate. I love brownies!

Cakes are round - usually, they could be square - desserts that are made from flour, sugar, eggs. They often have something on top of them - decoration - someone's name, for example. If you were going to a birthday party, they would have a birthday cake, usually with the person's name on top.

A muffin, “muffin,” is a small, round piece of cake, but it is cooked individually. The top of the muffin is bigger than the bottom of muffin, and it usually has some sort of nuts or fruit inside.

The clerk says that they have lots of different types of these desserts. Leticia says, “Ooh, that cake looks wonderful. How many people does it serve?” When we ask how much something serves - how many people its serves - we mean how many people can eat from this dessert - how many portions or sections - we would use the term servings, as a noun - does it have. So, how many people does it serve means can I give this to five people, to ten people, to 20 people. If it's a very big cake, maybe it will serve 40 people - that means 40 people would be able to get a piece of this cake.

The clerk says that the cake that Leticia wants “has three layers.” A layer, “layer,” is a horizontal, round piece of cake that is put on top of another cake. So, some cakes have different layers; you have a piece of cake on the bottom, and often you'll put in something in the middle - what we call frosting, “frosting,” which is a sweet, thick mixture of sugar, milk, butter and some coloring. That's a layer cake. So, you could have a three-layer cake, meaning there are three layers of cake and in between the layers there's probably some frosting.

The clerk says that the cake will serve “between eight and ten people, depending on how you slice it.” To slice, “slice,” as a verb, means to cut. So, it depends on how small of a piece you cut for each person, or how large of a piece you cut for each person. The words slice can also be a noun. You can say, “Give me a slice of cake” means give me a piece of cake.

The clerk tells Leticia that if she likes chocolate, she might want to try a different cake “with frosting and sprinkles.” We know what frosting is. Sprinkles, “sprinkles,” are small pieces of colored sugar, very hard usually. We might describe them as being crunchy, “crunchy,” meaning when you put them in the mouth and you bite on them with your teeth, they'll make a little noise - they're hard. The word sprinkle has different meanings in English; take a look at the Learning Guide for additional explanations of that word, as well as the word case, which we used earlier in the dialogue.

Leticia says that the chocolate cake looks good as well - it “looks good, too” - and that it was very difficult for her to decide. She then tells the clerk “Why don’t I take the layer cake,” meaning I will buy the layer cake. It's sort of an unusual expression grammatically, but it's pretty common. Why don't I order this - why don't I take or order or purchase or buy the layer cake - you really mean I will buy or I will take that thing - you're not asking a question.

Leticia says, “I’d like a dozen of these cookies, too” - I'd like to buy them - I'd like a dozen of these cookies.

The clerk says that the “cookies, muffins, and scones always come in a baker’s dozens.” A scone, “scone,” is a small, dry cake - dessert - that you usually eat for breakfast with some butter or some other type of topping. Scones are very popular at some of the bakeries and coffee shops - or places where you can buy coffee. A baker's dozen means 13. Normally, a dozen is 12, but when we say a baker's dozen, we mean 13 so you get an extra one.

Leticia says that she'd also “like a bag of those biscotti.” Biscotti, “biscotti,” - at least that's how we pronounce it in English - is a very dry, long, sweet cookie, usually with some nuts or other fruit that you often eat with coffee or when you are drinking tea.

The clerk then asks Leticia if she would like her “cookies and biscotti in the same” bag, or “the same box as the cake.” This is a not particularly intelligent question; obviously you don't want the cake to mix up with the cookies and the biscotti. But, the clerk is not too smart so he asks the question, and Leticia says, “No. Please put them in separate boxes, if you don’t mind.”

That expression, if you don't mind, “mind,” means if it doesn't bother you - if it's okay - if it isn't too difficult. It's a polite expression when you are asking something from someone. For example, you could be at the dinner table, and you would say, “Could you pass me the salt, if you don't mind.” You can also say, “If you don't mind, will you pass me the salt.”

The clerk gives the box to Leticia, says, “Here you are.” She says, “Thanks. We’ll be having an overload of sugar for the next few days!” Sugar is a sweet, white or brown crystal that you are probably familiar with. An overload, “overload,” is when you have too much of something. You can never have too much cake, in my opinion!

Now let's listen to the dialogue again, this time at a normal speed.

[start of story]

Clerk: Hi, can I help you?

Leticia: Hi. I’m trying to make up my mind about which kind of dessert to get. Everything in the case looks delicious.

Clerk: Thanks. As you can see, we have a lot of different types of cookies, brownies, cakes, and muffins over here.

Leticia: Ooh, that cake looks wonderful. How many people does it serve?

Clerk: This one? It has three layers, and it serves between eight and ten people, depending on how you slice it. If you like chocolate, you may like this one over here with the frosting and sprinkles.

Leticia: Oh, that looks good, too. Hmm. It’s so hard to decide. Why don’t I take the layer cake, and I’d like a dozen of these cookies, too.

Clerk: Our cookies, muffins, and scones always come in baker’s dozens. Can I get you anything else?

Leticia: I think I’d like a bag of those biscotti, too.

Clerk: Sure, no problem. Would you like the cookies and biscotti in the same box as the cake?

Leticia: No. Please put them in separate boxes, if you don’t mind.

Clerk: Not at all. Here you are.

Leticia: Thanks. We’ll be having an overload of sugar for the next few days!

[end of story]

The script for today's podcast was written by Dr. Lucy Tse.

If you have a comment, question or suggestion about this podcast, you can email us at eslpod@eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I'm Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2007, by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to make up (one’s) mind – to decide; to make a decision; to choose; to select

* He can’t make up his mind about going to the party. He wants to go, but he also needs to study for the test.


dessert – a sweet food eaten after lunch or dinner

* I ate so much for dinner that I couldn’t eat any of the dessert, even though the chocolate cake looked very good.


case – a large box with glass windows that stores use to show customers the things that are for sale

* Could you please take those two watches out of the case so that I can look at them more closely?


cookie – a sweet, round, flat dessert made from flour, sugar, milk, and eggs, often with small pieces of fruit, nuts, or chocolate

* Grandma makes delicious peanut butter cookies whenever we visit her.


brownie – a small square or rectangular piece of dessert that is like a heavy chocolate cake, made with flour, sugar, and a lot of butter, eggs, and chocolate

* Kevin loves brownies, but he can’t eat those. They have nuts in them and he’s allergic to nuts of any kind.


cake – a large dessert made from flour, sugar, milk, and eggs, that is often decorated and is cut into pieces for eating

* They spent more than $300 on their wedding cake, but it was very beautifully decorated.


muffin – a small, round sweet cake for one person, often with fruit or nuts, with a smaller bottom section and bigger top section

* Aunt Winnie made us banana muffins for breakfast. They were delicious!


How many people does it serve? – How many people can eat from this dessert? How many portions (servings) does this have?

* This cake is pretty, but small. How many people does it serve? I need enough for at least ten people at our dinner party.


layer – a horizontal, round piece of cake that is put on top of other pieces to make a tall cake

* This is a two-layer cake, with strawberries and cream between the layers.


to slice – to cut a cake or bread to make pieces for each person to eat

* Please slice only a small piece for me. I’m on a diet!


frosting – a sweet, thick, colored mixture of sugar, milk, butter, and coloring that is used to decorate a cake

* She used green frosting to make her son’s birthday cake look like a frog because frogs are his favorite animals.


sprinkles – small, crunchy, colored pieces of sugar that are used to decorate a cake or ice cream

* Kimberly ordered an ice cream cone with lots of red sprinkles.


scones – a small, dry cake usually made with dry fruit, often eaten for breakfast with butter or jam

* Every morning Jay buys a cup of coffee and a strawberry scone before he goes to work.


baker’s dozen – 13 of something (a regular dozen is 12 of something)

* I asked for four dozen cookies, but they were baker’s dozens, so I actually got 52 cookies instead of 48!


biscotti – a very dry, long, sweet cookie, usually made with nuts and/or dried fruit, often eaten with coffee or tea

* This biscotti is difficult to eat because it’s very hard and dry, but if you dip it in coffee, it becomes soft and delicious.


if you don’t mind – a polite expression meaning “if it doesn’t bother (annoy) you” or “if it isn’t too difficult”

* When you go to the store this afternoon, please buy some orange juice for me, if you don’t mind.


overload – too much of something

* Many people say that the Internet has brought us “information overload,” meaning that we have access to too much information.


sugar – sweet white or brown crystals that are used in cooking or put in hot drinks

* How many teaspoons of sugar do you put in your coffee each morning?

Comprehension Questions
1. How many cookies does Leticia buy?
a) 10
b) 12
c) 13

2. How many people should eat the layer cake?
a) 1 person: a cake is small and made for one person
b) 3 people: each one will eat one layer of the cake
c) 8-10 people: it depends on how big the pieces are

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
case

The word “case,” in this podcast, means a large box with glass windows that stores use to show customers the things that are for sale: “The restaurant puts all its salads in the case, so that customers can see them and choose which one they want to order.” A “case” is also a small container that closes: “At night, Steve puts his eyeglasses inside their case, so that no one sits on them accidentally.” A “case” is also a lawsuit or a situation that is decided in a legal court: “This newspaper article is written about the case of the man who robbed the bank last month.” A “case” can also mean a situation: “Normally I don’t like vegetables, but in this case, the dish smells great and I’m going to try some.”

sprinkle

In this podcast, the word “sprinkles” means small, crunchy, colored pieces of sugar that are used to decorate a cake or ice cream: “On this cake, they used blue sprinkles for the sky and green sprinkles for the grass.” The word “sprinkle” also means a little bit of rain: “This morning there was a quick sprinkle, but now the sky is sunny again.” As a verb, “to sprinkle” means to rain lightly: “It’s only sprinkling now, but it might start raining later, so be sure to bring an umbrella.” The verb “to sprinkle” also means to throw or drop small pieces of something or drops of a liquid onto something else: “The priest sprinkled holy water on the baby’s head.” Or, “Aunt Barb always sprinkles lemon juice over her fruit salad.”

Culture Note
Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - c