Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

05 Taking a Break and Eating Lunch

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SCRIPT

I want to get some coffee, so I walk into the break room. My coworkers, Diana and Van, are standing next to the water cooler talking about a show on TV last night. I pick up the coffee pot and pour myself a mug of coffee. I am feeling really hungry, too, so I walk over to the vending machine. I’m looking over the candy bars and potato chips when Diana says, “We’re taking an early lunch. Do you want to join us?” I say, “Yes!” and the three of us walk across the street to a restaurant.

I’m happy that we came early because we beat the rush. The hostess seats us at a table and takes our drink orders. Our server comes over with our drinks and we place our food orders. I choose the lunch special and so does Diana. Van picks the all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar. While Diana and I wait for our
orders to arrive, Van goes to the soup and salad bar and gets a really big plate of food. “Do you mind if I start?” he asks. “Of course not,” Diana and I say.

When we finish eating, the server comes over to clear our plates and to give us our bill. We forgot to ask for separate checks so we all pay together. That was a good lunch. It was certainly better than the bag lunch I usually bring from home!

GLOSSARY

break room – a room in an office building where employees can rest when they aren’t working, usually with food, coffee, a microwave, refrigerator, comfortable chairs, and tables
* I wish that they had healthier snacks in the break room, but it’s always full of cookies and soda.

water cooler – a machine with a large container of water that keeps water cold for drinking
* Drinking water from the water cooler is free for the employees, so it’s much better than buying bottled water each day.

coffee pot – a large container that holds coffee and keeps it warm so that people can fill their coffee cups with hot coffee whenever they want it
* The coffee pot with a black lid is for regular coffee and the coffee pot with an orange lid is for decaffeinated coffee.

mug – a large cup with a handle, usually used for drinking hot beverages
* Sally uses a mug with pictures of her kids so that she can see them all day while she’s drinking coffee.

vending machine – a machine that sells food and drinks
* Kamil buys a can of soda from the vending machine every afternoon.

candy bar – a long, rectangular, sweet type of food usually made from sugar and chocolate
* Some popular candy bars include Snickers, Butterfinger, and Kit Kat.

potato chip – a thin slice of potato that has been fried in oil and salted
* Do you like plain potato chips or flavored ones?

to join – to participate in something; to do something that other people are doing
* Randolph would like to join us for dinner and a movie tonight. Is that okay?

to beat the rush – to get somewhere before most other people do; to get somewhere before it becomes very crowded
* We beat the rush at the movie theater by buying our tickets for the evening show earlier in the day.

hostess – a female restaurant employee who greets customers, takes them to their table, and offers to bring them drinks before the waiter or waitress comes
* Zhanna asked the hostess for a table next to the window.

drink order – what one asks for to drink at a restaurant of bar
* The most common drink order at this restaurant is strawberry lemonade.

server – waiter or waitress; a restaurant employee who brings food to customers at their table
* We asked the server to bring us ketchup for our hamburgers.

lunch special – a combination of foods that are offered for a lower price during lunchtime hours, usually from Monday to Friday
* The restaurant across the street has a great lunch special with soup, salad, and a sandwich for only $6.99.

all-you-can-eat – a restaurant meal where customers pay one price and can eat as much as they want to of a particular kind of food
* If you’re very hungry, going to an all-you-can-eat restaurant is a good idea because you can eat a lot of food for a low price.

salad bar – a long table at a restaurant that has many different vegetables, salad dressing, cheese, fruits, and other foods so that people can build their own
salads
* Josette likes eating at salad bars because that way she can decide which vegetables she wants to eat.

to clear (one’s) plate – to remove one’s plate from the table and take it to the kitchen after one has finished eating
* In the Chavez home, the children have to clear the plates from the table before they can go outside to play.

bill – a piece of paper that says how much a customer needs to pay
* The bill charged us for two iced teas, but we had ordered only one, so we asked the waiter to correct it.

separate checks – pieces of paper showing how much each customer at a table needs to pay the restaurant; a bill that isn’t combined for everyone at the table
* The guys requested separate checks so that they wouldn’t have to calculate how much each person should pay at the end of the meal.

bag lunch – food brought from home to eat at school or the office for lunch, usually in a paper bag
* Zhaklina always brings the same bag lunch to school: a ham sandwich, an apple, and a diet soda.


COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT

Welcome to ESLPod.com’s “Using English at Work” lesson five. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, from the Center for Educational Development.

In lesson four of this course, we learned vocabulary related to working at your desk. In this fifth lesson, I’m going to talk about taking a break and eating lunch.

We’ll begin by listening to the story read at a slow speed.

[start of script]

I want to get some coffee, so I walk into the break room. My coworkers, Diana and Van, are standing next to the water cooler talking about a show on TV last
night. I pick up the coffee pot and pour myself a mug of coffee. I am feeling really hungry, too, so I walk over to the vending machine. I’m looking over the
candy bars and potato chips when Diana says, “We’re taking an early lunch. Do you want to join us?” I say, “Yes!” and the three of us walk across the street to a restaurant.

I’m happy that we came early because we beat the rush. The hostess seats us at a table and takes our drink orders. Our server comes over with our drinks and we place our food orders. I choose the lunch special and so does Diana. Van picks the all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar. While Diana and I wait for our
orders to arrive, Van goes to the soup and salad bar and gets a really big plate of food. “Do you mind if I start?” he asks. “Of course not,” Diana and I say.

When we finish eating, the server comes over to clear our plates and to give us our bill. We forgot to ask for separate checks so we all pay together. That was a good lunch. It was certainly better than the bag lunch I usually bring from home!

[end of script]

When the story begins, I want to get some coffee, so I walk into the break room. A “break room” is a room in an office building where employees can go to relax when they aren’t working during the day. Most break rooms have comfortable chairs or couches and coffee, water, and “snacks,” or small things for you to eat. In this break room, my coworkers, or colleagues, Diana and Van, are standing next to the water cooler talking about a show that was on television last night. A “water cooler” is a machine that keeps the water in a large container cold. Some water coolers are able to keep water hot, too, for tea and other hot drinks. I pick up the coffee pot and pour myself a mug of coffee. A “coffee pot” is a container for holding coffee and keeping it warm for drinking later. When you go to a restaurant, the waiter brings a coffee pot to your table and pours coffee into your cup. A “mug” (mug) is a large cup with a handle (something you hold) that people drink out of. A mug is often a little bigger than a normal cup. If it’s cold outside, you might want to drink a mug of tea or hot chocolate, for example.

In the story, I’m feeling really hungry, so I walk over to the vending machine. A “vending machine” is a large machine that you put money into to buy a drink or food. “Vending” comes from the verb “to vend,” which means to sell. Vending machines with cold sodas are probably the most common type you’ll see, but there are also vending machines that sell hot drinks like tea and coffee. Many vending machines sell sweet and salty “snacks,” which are small pieces of food that we eat between meals. You’re not supposed to eat too many snacks, but sometimes they’re so good you can’t stop!

I’m looking over the candy bars and the potato chips. “I’m looking over” means I’m examining, I’m looking at them. A “candy bar” is normally a long, rectangular, sweet type of food usually made from sugar and chocolate. “Potato chips” are thin slices of potatoes that have been fried and salted. Candy bars and potato chips may not be healthy foods, but they are very tasty!

Before I buy one of these snacks from the vending machine, Diana says, “We’re taking an early lunch. Do you want to join us?” “To join someone” means to do something that other people are doing. For example, you may say to your friend, “I hear that you’re going to see a movie tonight. Can I join you?” You’re asking if you can do the same thing that your friend is doing. Diana is inviting me to have lunch with her and some other people by asking me to join them. I say, “Yes!” and the three of us walk across the street to a restaurant.

I’m happy that we went to the restaurant early, because we beat the rush. “To beat the rush” means to do something or get somewhere early before it gets very crowded. In this case, we get to the restaurant early, before most people go there to eat lunch. At lunchtime, the busiest hour for a restaurant in the U.S. is normally between noon (or 12:00 p.m.) and 1:00 p.m. You might beat the rush for a concert by buying your tickets very early, rather than waiting until the day of the concert. Both of these are cases of “beating the rush.”

When we get to the restaurant, the hostess seats us at our table. The “hostess” is a female restaurant employee who welcomes customers to the restaurant,
takes them to their table, and often asks what they would like to drink. If this employee is a man, he’s called a “host.” Our hostess takes our “drink orders.” A “drink order” is what you ask for to drink at a restaurant or a bar just like a “food order” is what you ask for to eat. Your drink order might be soda, juice, beer, or some type of alcohol.

Next, our server comes over with our drinks. A “server” is the same thing as a “waiter” or a “waitress.” A “waiter” is a man, a “waitress” is a woman; a “server” can be either a man or a woman. This is a restaurant employee who “serves,” or brings food to the customers. When the server comes with our drinks, we place our food orders. I choose the lunch special and so does Diana. A “lunch special” is a combination of foods that are offered for a lower price during lunchtime hours, usually Monday through Friday. Many restaurants have lunch specials to get people to come to the restaurant during the week; however on the weekends (on Saturdays and Sundays) there usually are not any lunch specials. A lunch special often has a salad, an entrée (or main course), a drink, and sometimes a small dessert.

Diana and I choose the lunch special, but Van picks the all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar. If something is “all-you-can-eat,” it means that you pay one price and you can eat as much of something as you want. Another word for all-you-can-eat is a “buffet’ (buffet). In this case, Van will be able to eat as much soup and salad as he wants. A “salad bar” is a long table at a restaurant that has many different vegetables, fruits, salad dressings, cheeses, and other foods so that customers at the restaurant can build (or make) their own salads. The best salad bars are the ones that have a lot of variety, so you can choose the vegetables and other things you like best.

When Diana and I wait for our orders (the lunch specials) to arrive, Van goes to the soup and salad bar and gets a really big plate of food, because he’s allowed to take all that he can eat – and because he’s a very big person! Then he asks, “Do you mind if I start?” He’s asking for our permission to begin eating his food before our food has arrived. This is a polite thing to do when you are eating at a restaurant with other people, since people eating together usually wait until everyone is served or has their food in front of them before starting to eat. Diana and I say, “Of course not,” meaning it won’t bother us if he eats first; it’s okay. So, Van, being hungry, begins eating while we are waiting for our food.

When we finish eating, the server comes over to clear our plates. “To clear one’s plate” means to pick up the dirty plate from the table and take it to the kitchen after someone has finished eating. The server also gives us our bill. A “bill” is a piece of paper that shows how much a customer needs to pay. In this case, our bill shows the cost of the food and drinks that we ordered. We forgot to ask for separate checks. “Separate checks” are when each person at a table gets his or her own bill, so that each person pays only for what that person ate directly to the server. Asking for separate checks is sometimes a good idea when many people eating together but each one wants to pay separately, but we forgot to ask for separate checks, so we all pay together.

Finally, I say that it was a good lunch. It was certainly, or definitely, better than the bag lunch I usually bring from home. A “bag lunch” is the food that you bring from home to either school or work to eat during your lunch period; usually the food is put in a brown paper bag. So I guess this means I’m not a very good cook if the lunch at the restaurant was better than the bag lunch I usually bring to work. That’s true; I’m not a very good cook!

That covers all the new vocabulary in this lesson, so now please “join me” as we listen again about taking a break and eating lunch. This time we’ll listen to the story at a normal speed.

[start of script]

I want to get some coffee, so I walk into the break room. My coworkers, Diana and Van, are standing next to the water cooler talking about a show on TV last
night. I pick up the coffee pot and pour myself a mug of coffee. I am feeling really hungry, too, so I walk over to the vending machine. I’m looking over the
candy bars and potato chips when Diana says, “We’re taking an early lunch. Do you want to join us?” I say, “Yes!” and the three of us walk across the street to a restaurant.

I’m happy that we came early because we beat the rush. The hostess seats us at a table and takes our drink orders. Our server comes over with our drinks and we place our food orders. I choose the lunch special and so does Diana. Van picks the all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar. While Diana and I wait for our
orders to arrive, Van goes to the soup and salad bar and gets a really big plate of food. “Do you mind if I start?” he asks. “Of course not,” Diana and I say.

When we finish eating, the server comes over to clear our plates and to give us our bill. We forgot to ask for separate checks so we all pay together. That was a good lunch. It was certainly better than the bag lunch I usually bring from home!

[end of script]

I hope that you have learned some new vocabulary that you can use the next time you want to take a break or eat lunch during the workday – and speak
English, of course! This is the end of our fifth lesson; in the sixth lesson we’re going to continue talking about my day at work. We’ll be talking about my
problems – my computer problems.

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 2008.