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1199 Eating on the Run

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,199 – Eating on the Run.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,199. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

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This episode is a dialogue between Sam and Leticia about eating when you don’t have very much time. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Sam: Wait a second. Is this all you’re having for lunch, this microwaved burrito?

Leticia: That’s all I have time for. It’s better than just eating it out of the package, right?

Sam: That does not look appetizing. I see indigestion in your future.

Leticia: It’s filling and that’s all I care about. I need to gulp down something before the meeting at 1:00.

Sam: Why don’t you brown bag it? Even if it’s something premade, you won’t have to rely on instant food.

Leticia: Who has the time to prepare a lunch? This burrito is actually more than I eat on most days. Normally, I munch on candy bars or bags of chips and forgo lunch altogether.

Sam: That’s not very healthy.

Leticia: No, but it keeps me going when I’m on the run on busy days like this. I have a stash in my desk. Do you want to take a look?

Sam: That collection makes fast food look like haute cuisine!

[end of dialogue]

Sam says to Leticia, “Wait a second.” We sometimes say this in conversation, informally, when we are surprised by something or don’t understand something and need to ask someone a question to clarify, to understand better. Sam is apparently confused by something Leticia is doing.

He says, “Wait a second. Is this all you’re having for lunch, this microwaved burrito?” “Microwaved” means something is put into an oven called a “microwave” (microwave). “Microwave” is a verb in English – “to microwave.” A “burrito” (burrito) is a food in the U.S. normally identified with Mexico, even though the burritos you get in the U.S. probably don’t taste anything like the ones you would get in Mexico.

A “burrito” is a food made with a “tortilla,” which is a flat, thin piece of dough, that is filled with beans, meat, rice, and cheese. Actually, if you go to most parts of Mexico, you won’t really find a burrito, at least in traditional Mexican restaurants. They’re much more popular here in the U.S. You can buy frozen burritos at a grocery store in the U.S. You can take them home and put them in a microwave to heat them up and eat them. I don’t, but some people do. It’s an easy, quick thing that you can heat up and eat.

Leticia says, “That’s all I have time for,” meaning she doesn’t have time to prepare any other kind of food. She says, “It’s better than just eating it out of the package, right?” “To eat something out of the package” (package) means to eat something without putting it on a plate first. To buy something in some sort of container – plastic or cardboard, say – and eating it without putting it on a plate. Some people do that when they are in a hurry. They may eat food right out of the package.

Sam says, “That does not look appetizing.” “Appetizing” (appetizing) means it makes you want to eat something because it looks good or it smells good. Sam says that this microwaved burrito “does not look appetizing.” He says, instead, “I see indigestion in your future.” “Indigestion” (indigestion) is pain or discomfort you feel in your stomach after you eat food that isn’t very good, or food that for some reason your body doesn’t like very much. Sam is making a joke here. He says, “I see indigestion in your future,” meaning if you eat that, you are going to get indigestion. You are going to get some sort of stomach pains or discomfort.

Leticia says, however, “It’s filling and that’s all I care about.” If you describe food as being “filling” (filling), you mean that it makes you feel full and satisfied so that you don’t need to eat anything else. Leticia says, “I need to gulp down something before the meeting at one o’clock.” “To gulp” (gulp) usually means to drink something very quickly. “To gulp down” (down) is a two-word phrasal verb that means to drink or eat something very quickly.

Sam says, “Why don’t you brown bag it?” “To brown bag” (bag) means to prepare your own lunch at home and bring it with you. Traditionally, at least when I was growing up, if you were going to bring your lunch to school or to your job, you would put it in a small paper bag that was brown in color. Why brown? I don’t know. That’s just what was popular.

We now have a verb “to brown bag,” which means to bring your own lunch from home. When I was in school growing up, we had to bring our lunch every day to school. The school did not serve lunch. You couldn’t buy lunch at school. They didn’t give you anything to eat, and since you were there from eight o’clock in the morning until three or four o’clock in the afternoon, you had to bring your own food to eat. I had to “brown bag it” every day that I went to school. I had to bring my own lunch.

Sam asks why Leticia doesn’t bring her own lunch. He says, “Even if it’s something premade, you won’t have to rely on instant food.” “Premade” (premade) means that it has already been prepared, usually before you buy it. So, you can buy, say, a salad in the store. We might say the salad is “premade.” It’s made for you. You don’t have to do anything. You just have to open up the package and eat it. This way, Sam says, “you won’t have to rely on instant (instant) food.”

“Instant food” is food that is prepared very quickly, with very little time. A microwave burrito would be an example of instant food, I guess. There are also many kinds of soup that you can buy. You just have to add hot water to this little cup and you get a cup of soup. That would be “instant soup.” It is made almost instantly, very quickly. Leticia says, “Who has time to prepare a lunch? This burrito is actually more than I eat on most days.” “Normally,” she says, “I munch on candy bars or bags of chips and forgo lunch altogether.”

“To munch (munch) on” something is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to eat a small amount of something, but not as part of your meal. If you are, for example, sitting at your desk at work and it’s ten o’clock in the morning, it’s too early for lunch, but you’re hungry. So, you decide to munch on some potato chips. You open a bag of potato chips and you eat one or two. You are munching on the bag of potato chips. Well, actually you’re munching on the potato chips. If you’re eating the actual bag that the potato chips are in, you should probably go and get some real food.

Leticia says she normally munches on candy bars or bags of chips and forgoes lunch altogether. “To forgo” (forgo) means to decide not to do something that you would normally do. “To forgo a lunch” means not to eat lunch even though normally you would eat lunch. “Altogether” (altogether) means completely or entirely. Sam says that forgoing lunch altogether is “not very healthy.”

Leticia says, “No” – she agrees – “but it keeps me going when I’m on the run on busy days like this.” “To be on the run” (run) here means to be doing a lot of different things and going off in different places in a short amount of time. It can just mean to be extremely busy. Usually, though, I think we use this expression when you have to move from one place to another, either within your building where you work or perhaps in the city where you live. You have to go to this appointment over here, and then you have another appointment in another part of the city, and so forth.

Leticia says, “I have a stash in my desk.” A “stash” (stash) is a collection of something that you are storing to use in the future. However, usually a stash is put somewhere where other people can’t see it or perhaps find it. The word “stash” is often used when we are describing keeping or storing something illegally, or perhaps for reasons that have to do with breaking the law. I have a stash of money that I stole from the bank buried in my backyard. I’m just kidding. I don’t actually have a stash of money that I stole from a bank buried in my backyard. It’s somewhere else.

Leticia has a stash of candy bars, I guess, in her desk somewhere – hidden in her desk so no one can find them. “Do you want to take a look?” We can guess now that Leticia is at her desk because she is now going to show Sam her stash of food. Sam then says, after looking at it, “That collection makes fast food look like haute cuisine!” “Fast food” is food that is prepared very quickly that is often not very healthy. A McDonald’s hamburger would be a good example of “fast food.” We talk about “fast food restaurants” – restaurants that will give you food very quickly.

The term “haute (haute) cuisine (cuisine)” is originally a French one. It refers to high quality food, especially good, French-style food. The French, at least in the United States, have the reputation of having excellent food, as they have that reputation in other countries as well throughout the world. There are actually quite a few French who live in the western part of Los Angeles, in the area where I live, and there are some apparently excellent French restaurants here as well. Not as good as in Paris, of course.

Sam is making a joke here. He’s comparing the candy bars and bags of chips that Leticia is showing him to fast food, saying, “This is even worse than fast food.” In fact, fast food, compared to that, looks like haute cuisine. It’s much higher in quality than what you are eating, which is worse than fast food.

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

[start of dialogue]

Sam: Wait a second. Is this all you’re having for lunch, this microwaved burrito?

Leticia: That’s all I have time for. It’s better than just eating it out of the package, right?

Sam: That does not look appetizing. I see indigestion in your future.

Leticia: It’s filling and that’s all I care about. I need to gulp down something before the meeting at 1:00.

Sam: Why don’t you brown bag it? Even if it’s something premade, you won’t have to rely on instant food.

Leticia: Who has the time to prepare a lunch? This burrito is actually more than I eat on most days. Normally, I munch on candy bars or bags of chips and forgo lunch altogether.

Sam: That’s not very healthy.

Leticia: No, but it keeps me going when I’m on the run on busy days like this. I have a stash in my desk. Do you want to take a look?

Sam: That collection makes fast food look like haute cuisine!

[end of dialogue]

There’s nothing premade or instant about our dialogues. Our scriptwriter works long and hard in the ESL Podcast script kitchen to prepare the very finest English lessons for you.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us 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. Copyright 2016 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
microwaved burrito – a prepared frozen food, usually beans, meat, rice and cheese wrapped in a tortilla (flat, thin pancake), that is heated up quickly in a microwave oven

* That microwaved burrito had been in the freezer for at least six months and tasted like cardboard.

out of the package – taken directly from the container or wrapper that something was sold in, without first putting it on a plate

* When I eat cookies out of the package, I lose track of how many I’ve eaten.

appetizing – making one want to eat something because it looks or smells good

* Sprinkling fresh herbs on top of food can make almost anything look more appetizing.

indigestion – discomfort or pain in one’s stomach from eating bad food, too much food, or food that cannot be easily processed by the body

* If you don’t normally eat high-fiber foods, a bowl of beans and brown rice can cause indigestion.

filling – making one feel pleasantly full and satisfied, no longer wanting to eat more

* That cake is delicious, but it’s so rich and filling! Just a small piece was enough for me.

to gulp down – to eat or drink something very quickly, with large bites or mouthfuls

* How did you gulp down that hot coffee? Didn’t it burn your mouth?

to brown bag – to prepare one’s lunch at home and take it to work or school, typically wrapped in a brown paper bag

* When Marshall realized that he spent about $10 to $15 each day eating at restaurants, he decided to start brown bagging to save money.

premade – prepared previously; already made when one purchased it

* Did you make the pie crust yourself, or did you buy a premade crust?

instant – prepared almost immediately, with very little time

* This instant oatmeal can be prepared in just a few seconds by stirring it into hot water, but it doesn’t taste as good as oatmeal cooked on a cooktop.

to munch on – to snack; to eat a small amount of something, but not as part of a full meal

* When Jenna decided to lose weight, she started munching on apple slices and carrot sticks instead of cookies and candy bars.

to forgo – to decide not to have or do something that one would normally have or do

* We don’t have much money in our savings account, so maybe we should forgo buying a new car this year.

altogether – completely; entirely

* Is it better to keep buying replacement parts, or just get rid of the old machine altogether and buy a new one?

on the run – while doing many things and going to many places; while extremely busy

* Today, I’ll be on the run from morning to night and won’t have time to answer any emails until tomorrow.

stash – a collection of something that is stored for future use, especially where others will not see it

* Where do you keep your stash of cigarettes?

fast food – unhealthy food that is prepared very quickly, often within minutes, and sold as a meal in restaurants, especially with drive-thru windows

* Most teenagers prefer fast food, such as pizza and hamburgers, to food served in the lunchrooms in schools.

haute cuisine – high quality, French-style food

* Can you recommend a good restaurant downtown that serves haute cuisine?

Comprehension Questions
1. What happens when Leticia forgoes lunch altogether?
a) She forgets to eat lunch until it is too late.
b) She does not have lunch on those days.
c) She buys an inexpensive lunch in the cafeteria.

2. What does Leticia mean when she says, “it keeps me going when I’m on the run”?
a) It gives her energy to finish her busy day.
b) It gives her enough calories for her workouts.
c) It keeps her within her monthly food budget.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
filling

The word “filling,” in this podcast, means making one feel pleasantly full and satisfied, no longer wanting to eat more: “That meal was so filling that I no longer want dessert.” Or, “High-fiber cereal and fruit is more filling than a piece of white bread.” As a noun, “filling” is something that is placed inside another type of food, especially within a bread-like product: “These dumpling have a pork-and-cabbage filling.” Or, “Which donuts have a jelly filling”? When talking about dental or teeth and mouth care, a “filling” is a small amount of metal put into a small hole in a tooth left by decay: “The dentist said that Ramona would need two fillings.” Finally, the “filling” of a pillow refers to the material that the pillow is stuffed with: “How can I wash these cushions? They have a feather filling.”

on the run

In this podcast, the phrase “on the run” means while doing many things and going to many places, or while extremely busy: “Kylie woke up late, so she had to put on her makeup while she was on the run.” When talking about criminals, to be “on the run” means to be trying to escape from the police: “The thief is on the run, but our police officers are out trying to catch him.” The phrase “to make a run for it” means to start running to escape: “We almost captured him, but then he made a run for it.” Finally, the phrase “to have the run of (a place)” means to have freedom to do what one wants in that place, with no restrictions: “We stayed at the resort in the winter, when there were no other guests, so we had the run of the place.”

Culture Note
Healthy Snacks on the Run

Busy people rarely have time to sit down and eat a “full meal” (a group of foods eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner), but fortunately, they do have healthy “options” (choices) for snacks. People who are in a hurry can easily “grab” (take something quickly) items like “hard-boiled eggs” (eggs that are cooked in their shells in boiling water, so that they become solid), “granola bars” (hard, rectangular bars formed from a mixture of oats, dried fruit, nuts, and honey), or a “handful” (the amount that can be easily held in one’s hand) of nuts.

Cut-up fruits and vegetables are good options for healthy snacks. Apple slices, “carrot sticks” (carrots that are cut into smaller, rectangular pieces), and “orange segments” (the pieces of orange that are easily separated from each other, without the skin) can be prepared in just a few minutes. And many people refer to a banana as “nature’s perfect snack,” because it is delicious and easy to “transport” (take from one place to another) within its own “skin” (the outer layer). Other healthy snacks include packaged items, such as an “individual portion” (serving; the amount of food intended for one person to eat at one time) of “yogurt” (thick, fermented, sour, milk, often flavored with fruit).

Finally, some people like to take the time to make a “smoothie,” which is a thick drink made by mixing fruits, vegetables, and milk, juice, or yogurt in “blender” (an electric mixing machine). It takes just a few minutes to make, but “packs a lot of nutrition” (has a lot of nutritional value), if you avoid including items with too much sugar.

Comprehension Answers
1 - b

2 - a