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1065 Making Soups and Stews

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,065 – Making Soups and Stews.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,065. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Go to our website at ESLPod.com. Take a look at our special Daily and Business English courses as well as our ESL Podcast Blog. You can find both things on our website – and if you’re on Facebook, why not like us? Go to facebook.com/eslpod.

On this episode, we have a dialogue between Charlotte and Mohamed about making a certain kind of food: soup, and a thick kind of soup called a stew. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Charlotte: Mmm, something smells good.

Mohamed: Hey, put down that lid!

Charlotte: Sorry, I just wanted to see what you’re making.

Mohamed: I’m making chicken soup.

Charlotte: I’m really in the mood for a hearty stew. There’s nothing more appetizing on a cold day than a good stew.

Mohamed: Right, well, this is a simple chicken soup with a clear stock and vegetables.

Charlotte: All you would have to do is thicken the soup and let it simmer a little longer. Then, presto! You have a stew.

Mohamed: I get it. You’re partial to thick soups, but I feel like making a simple chicken soup. I don’t have time to cook a stew in a slow cooker, which is how I usually make it, not in a pot.

Charlotte: All right, all right. Oh, a nice purée or bisque would be nice too. Doesn’t a chowder sound good right now? I could really go for a nice bowl of chowder.

Mohamed: Fine, we’ll have chowder for dinner tomorrow.

Charlotte: Really?

Mohamed: Yes, and it’ll be the best chowder you’ve ever tasted – that comes out of a can.

[end of dialogue]

We begin our dialogue with Charlotte saying to Mohamed, “Mmm, something smells good.” “Mmm” is a sound that we make sometimes in English for something that looks good or, usually, smells and or tastes good. When you see someone preparing food or you smell good food, you might go “Mmm, that smells delicious” – that smells like something I would really want to eat. You would never do that, for example, in my kitchen when I’m cooking.

Mohamed isn’t very happy with Charlotte. Charlotte seems to be in Mohamed’s kitchen, because we hear him respond to Charlotte by saying, “Hey, put down that lid!” A “lid” (lid) is the top of a pot or pan that you use for cooking. “To put something down” means to put it back down where it was. So we can guess that Charlotte has taken the top or the lid off of the pan where Mohamed is looking something in order to smell it or to taste it. Charlotte says, “Sorry, I just wanted to see what you’re making.” Charlotte wanted to see what Mohamed was cooking.

Mohamed says, “I’m making chicken soup.” “Soup” (soup), as you probably know, is a food that has some sort of sauce or liquid as the base or as the main ingredient – the main part of the food. Usually you put things into soup like noodles or, in this case, chicken. Soup is almost always eaten with a spoon, at least in the United States. There are some soups that you might drink and eat without a spoon. You might just lift the bowl up and drink it, but usually you eat soup with a spoon.

Charlotte says, “I’m really in the mood for a hearty stew.” A “stew” (stew) is a special kind of soup that’s very thick. It has typically a lot of meat and/or vegetables in it. Usually it takes a long time to prepare a stew. The adjective “hearty” (hearty), when used with food, describes something that is very thick, filling, and satisfying. Something that is hearty is usually something that, after you eat it, you won’t feel hungry again for a long time.

Charlotte says, “There’s nothing more appetizing on a cold day than a good stew.” When we describe food as “appetizing” (appetizing), we mean it’s appealing. It makes you want to eat it. Mohamed says, “Right, well, this is a simple chicken soup with a clear stock and vegetables.” Mohamed is saying that he’s not making a stew. He instead is making “a simple chicken soup with a clear stock.”

“Stock” (stock) has a couple of different meanings in English. Here, when we’re talking about food, it means a clear liquid that is made usually by boiling meat, vegetables, and perhaps a few other ingredients. You could have a chicken stock, which would be liquid that comes from putting a big chicken (or a little chicken) into a pot of boiling water. You get rid of the chicken, and what you have left is this liquid that has a chicken taste. We would call that “chicken stock.”

You can do the same thing with other kinds of meat, with fish or with vegetables, or some combination of those things. The idea of a stock is that it doesn’t have anything hard or solid in it; it’s just the liquid. Mohamed is using a “clear (clear) stock.” A clear stock would be a stock that doesn’t have a lot of color. “Chicken stock” is usually a clear stock. Charlotte says, “All you would have to do is thicken the soup and let it simmer a little longer. Then, presto! You have a stew.”

Charlotte is suggesting to Mohamed how he could change his soup, his clear stock soup, into a stew. She says, “All you would have to do is thicken the soup.” “To thicken” (thicken) food means, not surprisingly, to make something thicker, especially by adding either flour or another ingredient called cornstarch. You can thicken soups in a number of different ways. You can even use egg yolk – the inside of an egg, a raw egg, uncooked egg – to chicken soup, or at least that’s what I read in a cookbook once.

“To simmer” (simmer) means to boil something at a very low heat. The water or the liquid in the pan is boiling, but it isn’t boiling very rapidly. We would say it’s not a “full boil.” It is bubbling. You can see the bubbles on the top of the surface, but it’s all being done at a very low heat. Charlotte explains that stews are typically prepared, or made, by simmering the liquid for a long time.

She says, “Then, presto! You have a stew.” “Presto” (presto) is a word we use to indicate that something has happened very quickly, even magically. “Presto” comes from the Italian, meaning quick or fast or rapid. We sometimes use that term in music, when talking about music that goes quickly or rapidly – but more generally, the word is used to describe something that happens very quickly, and that’s what Charlotte is using the word here to mean.

Mohamed says, “I get it,” meaning yes, I understand. “You’re partial,” he says, “to thick soups.” “To be partial (partial) to” something means to prefer something. Some men are partial to blondes – they like women who have blonde hair. Some people are partial to brunettes – women who have dark or brown hair. Some people are partial to beer; if they want to drink something with alcohol in it, they drink beer. Some people are partial to wine – they have a preference for wine, and so forth. Charlotte is partial to stews, to thick soups.

Mohamed says, however, “I feel like making a simple chicken soup. I don’t have time to cook a stew in a slow cooker, which is how I usually make it, not in a pot.” A “slow cooker” is a special kind of cooking machine, an electric machine that cooks food very slowly for many hours at a time. A more common term for a slow cooker is a “crock (crock) pot.”

Many people have crock pots that they use to cook food for a very long period of time. Some people put food into the crock pot in the morning before they go to work, and when they come home later in the day, the food is done. It’s been cooking slowly the whole day. That particular kind of cooking machine is called a “slow cooker” or a “crock pot.”

Mohamed usually makes stews in a crock pot, he says, not in a pot. A “pot” (pot) here refers to a metal container, something you cook with that is put on top of some source of heat, usually a stove, and is used to cook things like soup. “Pot” has a number of different meanings in English. “Pot” can also refer to marijuana, that you smoke. You have to be very careful which kind of pot you use in the kitchen. Do you want to prepare some food, or do you want something else to happen?

Charlotte says, “All right, all right.” She is saying that yes, she understands that Mohamed doesn’t want to make her stew. She then says, “Oh, a nice purée or bisque would be nice too.” A “purée” (purée) is a smooth and creamy soup or other kind of food that is made by putting food usually into a special machine called a “blender” (blender). You might make a vegetable purée, when you take vegetables and you chop them up into very small pieces by putting them in this special kind of machine that chops up and blends food, called a “blender.”

Charlotte says, “Oh, I would also like soup that is a purée or a bisque” (bisque). A “bisque” is a creamy, thick soup. We often make lobster bisque, which is a thick soup made with the meat of a lobster. Charlotte says, “Doesn’t a chowder sound good right now?” A “chowder” (chowder) is another kind of thick soup, a stew that is usually made with seafood, potatoes, milk, and/or cream. A very common kind of chowder in the U.S. is “clam (clam) chowder.” A “clam” is a kind of shellfish.

Charlotte says, “I could really go for a nice bowl of chowder.” “To go for” something means to really want to do something or to have something. When we’re talking about food, it’s something that you would really want to eat. “I could go for a nice big doughnut” – I feel like eating a nice big doughnut. I always feel like eating a nice big doughnut, but if I ate doughnuts every time I felt like eating doughnuts, I would be 500 pounds and not very healthy.

Anyway, Mohamed says, “Fine, we’ll have chowder for dinner tomorrow.” He’s telling Charlotte that he will make a thick soup, a chowder, for her – not today, but tomorrow. Charlotte says, “Really?” Mohamed says, “Yes, and it’ll be the best chowder you’ve ever tasted – that comes out of a can. Mohamed is saying yes, we’ll have chowder tomorrow, but I’m not going to make the chowder – I’m going to just buy a can of soup prepared already from the store and give you that.

Of course, soup from a can never as good – almost never – as soup from your own kitchen, soup that you prepare. Mohamed is not saying that he’s going to cook Charlotte some chowder. He instead is saying he’s just going to buy a can of chowder and give her that – which is not very nice, Mohamed, really. But then again, if Charlotte really wants chowder, she can learn how to cook herself and make her own soup.

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

[start of dialogue]

Charlotte: Mmm, something smells good.

Mohamed: Hey, put down that lid!

Charlotte: Sorry, I just wanted to see what you’re making.

Mohamed: I’m making chicken soup.

Charlotte: I’m really in the mood for a hearty stew. There’s nothing more appetizing on a cold day than a good stew.

Mohamed: Right, well, this is a simple chicken soup with a clear stock and vegetables.

Charlotte: All you would have to do is thicken the soup and let it simmer a little longer. Then, presto! You have a stew.

Mohamed: I get it. You’re partial to thick soups, but I feel like making a simple chicken soup. I don’t have time to cook a stew in a slow cooker, which is how I usually make it, not in a pot.

Charlotte: All right, all right. Oh, a nice purée or bisque would be nice too. Doesn’t a chowder sound good right now? I could really go for a nice bowl of chowder.

Mohamed: Fine, we’ll have chowder for dinner tomorrow.

Charlotte: Really?

Mohamed: Yes, and it’ll be the best chowder you’ve ever tasted – that comes out of a can.

[end of dialogue]

If you could really go for a wonderful dialogue in English, you’ve come to the right place, because our dialogues are written by the best scriptwriter on the Internet – Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to his again right here 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 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
lid – the cover or top to a pot or another container

* They have a drawer full of plastic storage containers, but it’s almost impossible to find a matching lid.

soup – a hot liquid that is eaten with a spoon, usually made by boiling meat and vegetables in water and herbs, often with small pieces of meat, vegetables, and/or noodles floating in it

* Please save the leftover chicken and bones, and we can use it to make a soup tomorrow night.

hearty – thick, filling, nutritious, and satisfying

* Claire made hearty sandwiches with a lot of roast beef and turkey.

stew – a very thick soup made by cooking meat, vegetables, and especially potatoes in a large pot over low heat for a very long time

* Brent made a delicious stew with beef, potatoes, carrots, onion, and celery.

appetizing – referring to a food that is attractive and appealing and makes one want to eat

* That dish would look more appetizing if you sprinkled some parmesan cheese and parsley on top.

clear – transparent; without any color; allowing light to past through

* Do you have a clear glass bottle?

stock – a clear liquid made by boiling meat, vegetables, and herbs

* You can use these bones and some celery and onions to make a good fish stock.

to thicken – to make something thicker (less runny or less liquid-like), especially by adding flour or cornstarch

* Let’s try to thicken the batter by adding some more flour.

to simmer – to boil something gently on low heat, not at a full boil

* Let the mixture simmer for about five minutes, and then turn off the heat and cover the pot.

presto – ta-da; a word used to present something that has happened very quickly or very well and seems almost magical

* Just hold down the control button, click here, and presto! You’ve created a beautiful graphic.

partial to – liking something; with a preference for something

* I’ve always been partial to combinations of fruit and chocolate, like chocolate-raspberry cake, or chocolate-orange ice cream.

slow cooker – crock pot; a small, electric machine that cooks food slowly for many hours at a low temperature

* Sheila often puts everything in a slow cooker before she goes to work, so that when she gets home in the evening, dinner is ready to eat.

pot – a round metal container with one or two handles and a lid, placed on a stove to cook foods that contain a lot of liquid

* Please put some diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, and peppers in that pot so we can make spaghetti sauce.

purée – a smooth, creamy soup or other food made by putting everything in a blender so that no large chunks remain

* Babies haven’t learned how to chew yet, so they can eat only purees.

bisque – a creamy, thick soup, especially made with lobster

* This bisque would be perfect on a cold winter night.

chowder – a stew made from seafood, potatoes, and milk or cream

* This restaurant serves the best clam chowder on the coast.

to go for – to enthusiastically have or do something

* It’s 5:30 in the morning and I could really go for a cup of coffee right now.

can – a tin can; a metal container that is sealed at both ends, used to store prepared food for a long period of time

* Do you prefer fresh green beans, or green beans from a can?

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these foods is best for someone without any teeth?
a) A hearty stew
b) A clear stock
c) A chowder

2. Charlotte prefers
a) Thin soups
b) Thick soups
c) Soups with seafood

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
lid

The word “lid,” in this podcast, means the cover or top to a pot or another container: “The lid started rattling on top of the pot, and we knew the water was boiling.” The phrase “to keep a lid on (something)” means to control something and/or to keep it secret: “Let’s keep a lid on this until the president has made a public announcement.” The phrase “to put a lid on (something)” means to end something or prevent someone from doing something: “Large medical bills put a lid on Harriet’s dreams of a college education, because all her savings had to be used to pay the doctors.” Finally, the phrase “to take the lid off (something)” means to share a secret or to make something known: “Every reporter dreams of taking the lid off of a major government scandal.”

pot

In this podcast, the word “pot” means a round metal container with one or two handles and a lid, placed on a stove to cook foods that contain a lot of liquid: “Please boil six cups of water and some salt in a large pot, and then we’ll put in the noodles.” When talking about money, “the pot” refers to money that people have collected for some purpose: “Have you put any money in the pot to buy him a retirement gift?” The phrase “to go to pot” means to fall apart or to become worse, especially due to neglect: “Look at all these houses. They’re falling apart! This whole neighborhood is going to pot.” Finally, the word “pot” can refer to marijuana: “Is it common for high school students to smoke pot?”

Culture Note
Stone Soup

“Stone Soup” is a “folk story” (an old story that is shared among many generations, especially orally) in which a hungry traveler arrives at a town and begins to cook by placing a “stone” (rock) in a pot with some water, bringing it to a boil over a fire. The “townspeople” (the people who live in the town) watch him with “curiosity” (with interest, wanting to learn more) as he says things like, “This would be even better with a carrot,” or “It’s delicious, but an onion would really bring out the flavor.” And, one at a time, the townspeople bring those items, so that in the end they have a delicious pot of soup and everyone shares it.

In 1947, the story was written as a children’ book “of the same name” (also called “Stone Soup”) by Marcia Brown. In that version, the story was about soldiers who were “tricking” (making someone do something that he or she would not normally do) “villagers” (people who live in a village) into giving them food.

Stone Soup is also a magazine that “features” (shows; highlights) artwork, poems, and stories that have been created by children. It was first published in 1973 and it is still published today.

The concept of “stone soup” now has a larger meaning and can refer to anything made with the small contributions of many people. For example, “Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup” is a computer game that was made from the contributions of many different “coders” (programmers).

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - b