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Practical English

08 Eating Dinner and Making Dessert

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GLOSSARY

napkin – a small piece of fabric or soft paper used to clean one’s mouth during or after eating
* Wipe your mouth with a napkin. You have tomato sauce on your lips.

dining room – a room with a table and chairs where people eat meals
* They have a beautiful dining room, with a long wooden table, eight chairs, and nice paintings on the walls.

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
* Please put a place mat under that pot so that it doesn’t burn the table.

geography – the study of the earth’s land surface, political separations between countries, populations, and other things
* Today’s geography test will test you on the capital cities in Asia.

dessert – something sweet eaten after a meal
* If I finish eating the rest of my dinner, I won’t have room for dessert.

to preheat – to heat an oven to the correct cooking temperature before placing any food inside the oven
* Did you remember to preheat the oven? If not, the bread won’t bake at the right temperature.

oven – a large, kitchen machine shaped like a box that heats air to cook food placed on racks (shelves) within it
* Mom is using both racks in the oven: the top one for chicken, and the bottom one for potatoes.

ready-made – pre-made; pre-cooked; food that is already prepared and only needs to be heated
* Almost everything she buys is ready-made. I guess she doesn’t like to cook.

to bake – to cook in an oven
* She prefers to bake fish in the oven rather than to fry it on the stove.

cookie sheet – a rectangular piece of metal used to bake cookies in an oven
* The cookies were in the oven too long, and now this cookie sheet is going to be very difficult to clean.

aluminum foil – a shiny, flat piece of aluminum that tears easily and is used to cover food not eaten
* If you cover the edges of a pie with aluminum foil, they won’t burn in the oven.

to do the dishes – to wash dirty plates, cups, forks, knives, spoons, pots, pans, and other things
* Whenever the kids do the dishes, they get soapy water all over the floor.

to shape – to give something a shape or form; to mold something with one’s hands to give it a shape or form
* Grandma asked us to shape the cookies into small balls.

dough – the wet mixture of flour, sugar, eggs, and milk; bread, cookies, or cakes that have not been cooked yet
* I don’t have time to bake this cake right now. Do you think I can put the dough in the refrigerator overnight?

oven mitts – thick cloth or plastic gloves used to keep one’s hands cool when touching a hot object
* Don’t touch that hot pan without wearing oven mitts! You’ll burn your hand.

to cool – to become cooler; to become less hot
* This chicken soup is really hot. Wait for it to cool before you start eating it.

Tupperware container – a plastic container with a lid that is used for storing food not eaten
* I brought a Tupperware container full of potato salad to the picnic.

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

This is ESLPod.com's "A Day in the Life of Lucy," episode eight: Eating Dinner and Making Dessert.

I'm your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California. In episode seven, Lucy went to the bank and to the supermarket. In this episode, she's going to eat dinner and make herself some dessert. Let's get started.

[Start of story]

When I get home, I change into my casual clothes and head for the kitchen. I grab my sandwich, a napkin, and sit down at the dining room table to eat. For my birthday last year, my brother gave me some place mats that have maps of the United States on them. I have always been bad at geography so he thought
he would be funny and give me something to study while I ate. Of course, I haven’t learned a thing!

I am still hungry after the sandwich and want some dessert. I preheat the oven and then take a package of ready-made cookies out of the fridge that just needed to be baked. I get out a cookie sheet and put some aluminum foil on it. I always do this when I bake because this way, I don’t have to do any dishes afterwards. I could just throw away the foil. Then, I shape the dough into circles, put them on the cookie sheet, and put the pan into the oven.

After 15 minutes, I put on my oven mitts and take the pan out. The cookies smell great, but first, I need to let them cool. After 30 minutes, I put three of them on a plate and the rest of them in a Tupperware container. I’ll take those to work tomorrow. That should make the day go by a little faster.

[End of story]

Episode eight is called "Eating Dinner and Making Dessert." So, we get to eat in this episode, and that's good because I am hungry!

When Lucy gets home - when she arrives home - she changes into her "casual clothes." To change, "change," into is a verb that means to take your clothes off that you have on you right now, and put on different clothes. Someone may say, "I need to go change," they mean I need to change my clothing, or to change into different clothing.

Lucy changes into her "casual clothes" and heads for, or goes toward, "the kitchen." She grabs her sandwich, meaning she picks it up with her hand; she also grabs a napkin. A napkin, "napkin," is a small towel that you use to wipe your face when you are eating, and to put on the top of your legs, what we would call your lap, "lap," so that if any food falls down, it doesn't get your clothes dirty. Of course, you can eat very carefully to prevent that from happening as well. But, if you don't eat carefully, then a napkin is a good idea.

Lucy sits down at her "dining room table to eat." The dining room, "dining," room (two words) is the place in your house where you eat. To dine, "dine," is to eat.

Lucy says for her "birthday last year," her "brother gave" her "some place mats that have maps of the United States on them." A place mat, "place mat," is a piece of plastic or paper, it could also be a piece of cloth - material - that you put underneath your plate - each plate on the table so that the table does not get dirty. These place mats "have maps of the United States on them." Lucy says that she has "always been bad at geography." To be bad, "bad," at something means that you are not very good at it. You could say, "I'm very bad at tennis," that means I don't play tennis very well. Or, "I'm very bad at dating. Whenever I meet a girl, she hates me after the first date," that's the story of my life!

Well, Lucy is not bad at dating, I don't think; she is "bad at geography." Geography, "geography," is the study of where things are - the location of things. It's more than that, but that's what she means here. So, Lucy's "bad at geography," and because of that, her brother "thought he would be funny" to give her "something to study while" she eats. "He thought he would be funny," meaning he was trying to make a joke - trying to be funny. "Of course," Lucy says, "I haven't learned a thing," meaning I haven't learned anything or I have learned nothing. All of those mean the same - "I haven't learned a thing."

Lucy says that she's "still hungry after" eating her sandwich and wants "some dessert." Dessert, "dessert," is usually something sweet with sugar, for example, that you eat at the end of your meal. It's what we would call your last course. After your appetizer and an entree, you can have dessert. It's my favorite part of the meal.

Lucy preheats her oven and then takes out "a package of ready-made cookies." To preheat, "preheat," means to heat, in this case, the oven to get it ready to cook something. An oven, "oven," is a place where you put food into it and you close the door, we would call the oven door, so that the food inside will cook.
Usually, we use the verb bake, "bake," when we are using an oven. So, we cook the food, or we bake the food in the oven.

Lucy is going to bake a package of cookies - "of ready-made cookies." A package is just the container - the bag or the box where the cookies are kept. When Lucy says the cookies are ready-made, "ready-made," she means that she doesn't have to prepare them by herself. She doesn't have to get out eggs and water and flour, and make the cookies herself. Instead, she just has to take the cookie out of the package and put it on the pan and put it in the oven and it will cook.

If you make something by taking all of the, what we would call, ingredients or the things that you use to cook your food, we would say you were cooking from scratch, "scratch." To cook something from scratch means that you make the
entire thing yourself.

Well, Lucy is not making cookies from scratch; she's using ready-made cookies, which she takes out of her "fridge that just need to be baked, that is they just need to be put into the oven and they will cook. She puts the cookies on a cookie sheet. A cookie sheet, "sheet," is a long, flat pan that you can use to put
things on when you put them in the oven. We use that term, cookie sheet, even when we are not using it to bake cookies. You can put chicken on a cookie sheet and put it in your oven; we still call it your cookie sheet.

Lucy puts some aluminum foil on her cookie sheet. Aluminum, "aluminum," is a kind of metal. Foil, "foil," is a metal sheet - a very thin sheet of aluminum. Sometimes people just say foil instead of aluminum foil; they mean the same thing. It's like a sheet of paper but it is made of metal, and you can use it to wrap things in - to put things in. Here, Lucy is using it to keep the cookie sheet clean - to protect the cookie sheet. She says she does this because after she finishes baking her cookies, she doesn't have to wash any dishes or "to do any dishes." So, the aluminum foil protects the sheet, and so the cookie sheet doesn't get dirty - the pan doesn't get dirty. That's why she uses the aluminum foil; she doesn't have to wash, or do, any dishes. She just throws the foil away.

After she puts the foil on the cookie sheet, she shapes "the dough into circles." The dough, "dough," is a thick material - a thick substance that we use to make cookies. We also use that word, dough, when we are talking about pancakes or waffles, types of food that you would eat in the morning. Whenever you have something that you bake, such as bread or cookies, it begins with cookie dough. That's the cookie before it is baked.

Lucy says she shapes the dough. To shape, "shape," means to change something - to take something and to make it look different. Here, Lucy is shaping "the dough into circles" - into round cookies. She puts "them on the cookie sheet," and then she puts "the pan" - the cookie sheet in "the oven."

"After about 15 minutes," Lucy puts on her "oven mitts" and takes "the pan out." An oven mitt, "mitt," is like a glove. It is a very thick piece of material, sometimes like a thick towel that you can use to pick up something that is very hot. You don't want to burn your hands, so you put on oven mitts.

We also use that word, mitts, when talking about gloves that you wear that don't have a separate space for each finger. A glove, technically, is something you put over your hand, and each finger you can move separately. With a mitt, you put your hand in and you can move your thumb, but the four fingers are all together inside the mitt. Well, this is a oven mitt, used to take hot things out of the oven.

Lucy says that "The cookies smell great," meaning they smell very good, "but first," she needs "to let them cool." To cool, "cool," is a verb, which means to lower the temperature. Something is hot needs to cool before you eat it.

"After 30 minutes," Lucy puts three cookies "on a plate" and puts "the rest of them" - the remaining cookies - "in a Tupperware container." Tupperware, "Tupperware," is a company that makes small plastic boxes - small plastic containers that you can put food into. Tupperware is a name of a company, so
you have to use a capital T, "Tupperware." Even though you buy a plastic container that is not made by this company, people still call them Tupperware
containers, or sometimes just Tupperware. If someone says, "I need to buy some new Tupperware," they mean they need to buy some new plastic
containers for food.

Lucy says she's going to take her cookies "to work tomorrow. That should make the day go by a little faster." When we say the day will go by, "by," we mean that it will seem like the day is not very long - that time is moving very fast. Just like when you are listening to ESLPod.com courses, the day goes by much faster.

Speaking of faster, now let's listen to the story at a native rate of speech.


[Start of story]

When I get home, I change into my casual clothes and head for the kitchen. I grab my sandwich, a napkin, and sit down at the dining room table to eat. For my birthday last year, my brother gave me some place mats that have maps of the United States on them. I have always been bad at geography so he thought
he would be funny and give me something to study while I ate. Of course, I haven’t learned a thing!

I am still hungry after the sandwich and want some dessert. I preheat the oven and then take a package of ready-made cookies out of the fridge that just needed to be baked. I get out a cookie sheet and put some aluminum foil on it. I always do this when I bake because this way, I don’t have to do any dishes afterwards. I could just throw away the foil. Then, I shape the dough into circles, put them on the cookie sheet, and put the pan into the oven.

After 15 minutes, I put on my oven mitts and take the pan out. The cookies smell great, but first, I need to let them cool. After 30 minutes, I put three of them on a plate and the rest of them in a Tupperware container. I’ll take those to work tomorrow. That should make the day go by a little faster.

[End of story]

That brings us to the end of episode eight of "A Day in the Life of Lucy." In episode nine, Lucy is going to do some cleaning and relaxing.

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.