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0769 Trying Unusual Foods

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 769: Trying Unusual Foods.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 769. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

If you like listening to ESL Podcast, consider becoming a member by going to eslpod.com.

This episode is a dialogue between Antonio and Candace. We’re going to be talking about eating strange, different, unusual food. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Antonio: What is that smell?! It stinks!

Candace: This is a dish my roommate taught me to make. It’s really good. Want a bite?

Antonio: You’ve got to be kidding me! You actually eat that? You can stomach something that smells that foul?

Candace: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I admit that it’s an acquired taste, but once you develop a taste for it, you’ll not only like it, you’ll crave it like I do.

Antonio: I would never crave something that unappetizing. You’ve gone over the edge. I’ve always known you were weird, but this takes the cake.

Candace: You need to open your mind to new culinary experiences. You need to wake up your taste buds. Your palate will thank you for it. If you try it, you might like it.

Antonio: If I try it, I may puke!

[end of dialogue]

Antonio begins by saying, “What is that smell?! It stinks!” “To stink” (stink) means to smell very bad, to have a very unpleasant odor or smell. Candace says, “This is a dish my roommate taught me to make.” Your “roommate” is a person that you usually share an apartment with or a house with. Candace says that the food – the dish that Antonio smells was something her roommate had taught her to cook. She says, “It’s really good. Want a bite?” A “bite” (bite) is a small piece of food, a small bit of food that you give someone just to taste something. So she says, “Want a bite?”

Antonio says, “You’ve got to be kidding me (meaning you’re joking, right)! You actually eat that?” He can’t believe that Candace is eating whatever this food is. He says, “You can stomach something that smells that foul?” “To stomach” (stomach) is to be able to eat something, something that is very perhaps unpleasant; it smells bad or it tastes bad. “To stomach it” means to be able to eat it without getting sick. Antonio asks Candace if she can stomach something that smells that bad – that foul (foul). “Foul” has another meaning in English, as does the word “bite.” Both of those can be found in our Learning Guide.

Candace says, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” This is an old expression. “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it” means to ask someone to keep an open mind, not to say no to something just because it’s different or weird. First, you should try doing it yourself, and then you can decide whether you want to criticize it. “To knock (something)” here means to criticize it. So don’t criticize it – don’t knock it until you’ve yourself actually tried it yourself. Candace says, “I admit that it’s an acquired taste.” The expression “an acquired taste” means something that perhaps you don’t like the first time you try it, but eventually – after a while – you learn to like something. This happens a lot, I think, with food, when you try new food. Maybe at first you don’t like it, but eventually you learn to like it more and more. Well that’s what Candace is saying about the food she’s eating. She says, “once you develop a taste for it, you’ll not only like it, you’ll crave it like I do.” “To develop a taste for (something)” means to gradually begin to like it; slowly, after each time you eat it, you like it more and more. You develop a taste for it. Once you do that, she says, you’ll crave this food like I do. “To crave” (crave) means to have a very strong desire for something. We use this especially when talking about food: “I crave a piece of apple pie.” I really want a piece of apple pie. The noun is “craving.” We say, “I have a craving for (something).” “I have a craving for apple pie.”

But Antonio doesn’t think he will like this food. He says, “I would never crave something that unappetizing.” Something that is “appetizing” makes you want to eat it; it looks good, it smells good. The opposite would be “unappetizing.” Antonio says that he would never crave something that unappetizing or so unappetizing. He says to Candace, “You’ve gone over the edge.” “To go over the edge” (edge) here means to go crazy, or do too much of something, to take an idea to the extreme point. For example, you may like to gamble and you decide you’re going to go Las Vegas – a famous place for gambling in the United States – and you’re going to bet your entire house. You’re going to say, “I want to bet my house in a poker game.” Well, that’s going over the edge, that’s going too far; you don’t want to lose your house in a poker game. Antonio thinks that Candace has gone over the edge by eating this weird, unusual food. He says, “I’ve always known you were weird, but this takes the cake.” The expression “to take the cake” means to be the most unbelievable or crazy example of something. You may have a friend that likes to wear strange clothing, and one day he decides to go work wearing his swimming trunks, nothing but the clothes he would wear to go swimming. You might say, “Well, that really takes the cake.” That’s the most bizarre, extreme example of this person’s weird behavior.

Candace says, however, “You (Antonio) need to open your mind to new culinary experiences.” “To open your mind” means to be willing to consider or think about all possibilities, all different options without saying no right away. You’re going to think about many different possibilities, that’s to have or to keep an open mind. Candace says Antonio needs to open his mind – which is the same as to keep an open mind – to new culinary experiences. “Culinary” (culinary) is anything related to cooking food. Candace says Antonio needs to wake up his taste buds. Your “taste buds” (buds) are small, little things on your tongue that are used for tasting; it’s how you are able to taste something on your tongue, through these little dots called “taste buds” in English. Candace says that Antonio needs to wake up his taste buds, meaning he needs to do something different, as if they were now sleeping. She says, “Your palate will thank you for it.” Your “palate” (palate) here means your sense of taste; your ability to enjoy different tastes, different flavors of food. Candace says, “Your palate will thank you for it,” meaning if you decide to try different foods you will like it, you like the taste. She says, “If you try it, you might like it.”

Antonio says, “If I try it, I may puke!” “Puke” (puke) is an informal word for vomit, to throw up. When the contents of your stomach come out through your mouth, that’s to vomit, to throw up. A little more informal way of saying that would be “to puke,” and that’s what Antonio says will happen to him if he tries some of this unusual food that Candace likes to eat.

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

[start of dialogue]

Antonio: What is that smell?! It stinks!

Candace: This is a dish my roommate taught me to make. It’s really good. Want a bite?

Antonio: You’ve got to be kidding me! You actually eat that? You can stomach something that smells that foul?

Candace: Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I admit that it’s an acquired taste, but once you develop a taste for it, you’ll not only like it, you’ll crave it like I do.

Antonio: I would never crave something that unappetizing. You’ve gone over the edge. I’ve always known you were weird, but this takes the cake.

Candace: You need to open your mind to new culinary experiences. You need to wake up your taste buds. Your palate will thank you for it. If you try it, you might like it.

Antonio: If I try it, I may puke!

[end of dialogue]

If you listen to ESL Podcast, eventually I think you will crave the wonderful scripts written by our own Dr. Lucy Tse.

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

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to stink – to smell very bad; to have a very unpleasant odor

* Blue cheese stinks! It smells like dirty socks.

bite – one mouthful; the amount of food taken into one’s mouth at once

* Once you have a bite of this cake, you won’t be able to stop!

to stomach – to be able to eat something that is very unpleasant without getting sick

* William hates his mother-in-law’s cooking, but he had to learn to stomach her meals.

foul – very unpleasant and disgusting; awful

* Please don’t use foul language around the children.

don’t knock it until you’ve tried it – a phrase used to ask someone to keep an open mind and be willing to try something before forming an opinion or saying bad things about something

* - I can’t believe you signed up for a course in basket weaving.

* - Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. I expect it to be a lot of fun.

acquired taste – something that one initially does not like but learns to like over time as one has more exposure to it

* Opera can be an acquired taste. I didn’t like the music at first, but now going to the opera is one of my favorite forms of entertainment.

to develop a taste for (something) – to gradually begin to like something that one didn’t originally like

* Did you always know you wanted to be an insurance agent, or did you develop a taste for it over time?

to crave – to have a strong desire to have or do something, especially to eat a specific food

* Many women crave pickles when they are pregnant.

unappetizing – with an unpleasant appearance or smell that does not make one feel like eating

* The food tasted good, but it looked very unappetizing.

to go over the edge – to go overboard; to do too much of something; to take an idea or action to an extreme; to go crazy

* I know giving money to help others is important to Becky, but she really went over the edge when she gave away all of her savings.

to take the cake – to be the most extreme instance or example of something; to be the most outrageous or unbelievable occurrence of something

* Omar has always dressed strangely, but when he came to school wearing a bathrobe, he really took the cake.

to open (one’s) mind – to be open-minded; to be willing to consider all possibilities or options without making a decision or forming an opinion before experiencing something

* Studying abroad opened Cindy’s mind to other ways of thinking about the world.

culinary – related to cooking and food

* Yoshihiro is applying to culinary schools because he wants to become a chef.

taste buds – the small dots on one’s tongue that can taste flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, and sour)

* This drink will be a treat for your taste buds. Try it!

palate – one’s sense of taste; one’s ability to detect, identify, and enjoy different flavors in foods and drinks

* Do you believe that an individual’s palate is affected by the types of food he or she eats as a young child?

to puke – to vomit; to throw up

* Shane got food poisoning and spent all night puking in the bathroom.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why is Candace eating the bad-smelling dish?
a) Because she knows it’s good for her.
b) Because she thinks it tastes delicious.
c) Because she doesn’t want to offend her roommate.

2. Why does Candace want Antonio to try the food?
a) Because she thinks it will make him feel better.
b) Because she spent a lot of time and money preparing it.
c) Because she thinks he can learn to like it.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
bite

The word “bite,” in this podcast, means one mouthful, or the amount of food taken into one’s mouth at one time: “Take smaller bites, or you might choke!” Or, “May I have a bite of your chicken?” The phrase “a bite to eat” refers to a small or informal meal: “Let’s grab a bite to eat after the movie.” The word “bite” can also refer to the injury caused when an animal or insect uses its mouth on one’s skin: “Yevgeny has a spider bite on his arm, and now it’s red and swollen.” Finally, the phrase “(one’s) bark is worse than (one’s) bite” describes someone who says a lot of mean things or makes many threats, but doesn’t actually do anything: “Don’t worry about what the boss said. Her bark is worse than her bite.”

foul

In this podcast, the word “foul” means very unpleasant, disgusting, and awful: “A foul smell is coming from the bathroom.” Or, “We’re going to need a lot of air fresheners to cover up that foul smell.” If someone is in a “foul mood,” he or she is in a very bad mood and is easily angered: “Mom is in a foul mood today, so try not to do anything to make her mad.” The phrase “foul weather” refers to cold, wet, unpleasant weather when one does not want to be outside: “They’re forecasting foul weather, so be sure to take a jacket and an umbrella.” Finally, in sports, a “foul” is some action that breaks the rules and results in a punishment: “The player received a foul for hitting another player.”

Culture Note
Unusual American Foods

Almost any type of food can be found in the United States, and most of them can be “traced back to” (understood where something has come from in history) what people ate before they “immigrated to” (moved to another country) the United States. But there are some unusual American foods that were developed in the United States and/or are eaten in only certain parts of the country.

For example, “grits” is a hot cereal made from “ground” (smashed into very tiny pieces) corn that is boiled in water with salt or sugar. In the United States, grits are served with cheese, butter, sausage, ham, or even fish. Sometimes blocks of thick grits are “fried” (cooked in hot oil) and then sliced. Grits are mostly eaten in the Southern United States.

“Chitlins” or “chitterlings” are another Southern food. Chitlins are the “intestines” (long, folded internal body parts used for digestion) of a pig or cow that are boiled in a pot with water and an onion. Sometimes the chitlins are “battered” (covered in flour and seasonings) and then fried. They are often served with “hot sauce” (a spicy, red sauce) and/or “vinegar” (a clear liquid made from fermented fruit or wine).

The City of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania is famous for the “Philly” (Philadelphia) cheesesteak, which is a sandwich that has many thin slices of “steak” (beef) and melted cheese on a long white “roll” (large piece of bread). Sometimes cheesesteaks have mushrooms, peppers, or other toppings, but normally they have only meat and cheese.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - c