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Lesson Transcript

Gabriella: Hi, I’m Gabriella.
Gina: And I’m Gina. Top 5 British Dishes.
Gina: I don’t think that British cuisine has a good reputation, so let’s try to change that by talking a little about it, and making everyone hungry in the process!
Gabriella: I’m always hungry and I love food, so this is a perfect lesson for me!
Gina: Before we actually start talking about food, we should explain a little about table etiquette.
Gabriella: This can really vary between countries and also between situations. There are some rules that can be ignored in casual settings, and some that can’t.
Gina: I think that one of the rules that should always be followed is to never eat with your mouth open.
Gabriella: Yes! I was told that many times when I was a kid. Nobody wants to see what you’re eating, so always chew with your mouth shut.
Gina: And this is really a rule that needs to be followed all of the time.
Gabriella: Absolutely.
Gina: Another rule that is kind of linked, is don’t talk with your mouth full.
Gabriella: Again, it’s opening your mouth when you’re eating. Just finish chewing and swallow down your food before speaking.
Gina: If someone has asked you a question, they’ll be willing to wait until you’ve swallowed.
Gabriella: You can just point to your mouth or throat to show that you’re still eating, if you want to explain why you aren’t answering immediately.
Gina: I guess another rule that’s slightly related is to not slurp hot drinks or food, such as soup or spaghetti.
Gabriella: Eat as quietly as possible, I think.
Gina: People in Britain always eat soup with a spoon and don’t drink from the bowl. If a hot drink is too hot, either wait or blow on it to cool it down.
Gabriella: Does blowing on it actually work in cooling it down?
Gina: It always seems to cool down the very surface, I think.
Gabriella: Another thing I was always told when I was a child was not to put my elbows on the table.
Gina: Oh, me too. It doesn’t seem to be such an important rule these days though, so it should probably still be best avoided, although it’s not as important as the previous rules.
Gabriella: Now that we know about table etiquette, can we move onto the food?
Gina: I guess so! (B name), can you tell us about five popular British dishes?
Gabriella: I can! We’ll start with a dish we spoke about in the last lesson, and that’s fish and chips.
Gina: I like my fish and chips just with salt and vinegar. How about you?
Gabriella: I usually have a side dish with them, like mushy peas.
Gina: These are chunky, marrowfat-type peas that have been soaked overnight in water. They eventually become this thick, green, almost soup-like dish.
Gabriella: And they’re delicious. They’re more popular in the Midlands - that’s the region in the middle of England - and the North, but the popularity is spreading.
Gina: As we’ve covered fish and chips before, let’s move quickly onto your second pick.
Gabriella: That’s a good, old-fashioned Sunday roast.
Gina: I love Sunday roasts! That’s a broad term though, so let’s explain it a little more.
Gabriella: Traditionally, the family would get together for Sunday lunch and have a big meal made of roast meat and lots of vegetables. This is a Sunday roast.
Gina: Typical meats are beef, lamb, pork and chicken.
Gabriella: The meat is often served with things like potatoes, carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, parsnips… there are lots of options!
Gina: As well as being covered in gravy, which is a type of meat sauce, there might be mint sauce with lamb, Yorkshire puddings with beef, apple sauce with pork…
Gabriella: It’s very individual and delicious!
Gina: It is!
Gabriella: The next dish is the balti.
Gina: Ah, this isn’t a traditional British dish, is it?
Gabriella: No, but it’s quickly becoming one! It’s an Indian-style curry that is served in thin bowls called balti bowls. There’s a bit of debate about whether this particular style of curry was invented in Pakistan or in England, in the city of Birmingham, but either way it’s very popular.
Gina: There are so many different types of balti and different spice levels. It can be served with rice or naan bread.
Gabriella: I like mine with naan bread.
Gina: Me too!
Gabriella: Next, we’ll talk about meat pies. These have been popular in Britain for a long time and were first created back in the Middle Ages, so that’s about 1500 years ago!
Gina: They’re pretty simple and made from different types of pastry. There are many fillings to choose from too.
Gabriella: Popular fillings are steak and kidney, chicken and mushroom, or steak and ale.
Gina: They’re very good on a cold day!
Gabriella: Yes! Very filling.
Gina: And the final dish is…?
Gabriella: A good old English breakfast.
Gina: Ah, some listeners may know this as it is pretty standard in hotels all over the world, I think.
Gabriella: Yep. There’s nothing better in the morning than a greasy English breakfast! Bacon, sausages, fried tomatoes, baked beans, fried bread, eggs, black pudding and mushrooms!
Gina: It’s not just a breakfast though, is it?
Gabriella: No. Many pubs or cafes will serve an All Day Breakfast, which means that you can eat it any time you want to.
Gina: That’s our five dishes, and we also have five fun facts about British cuisine.
Gabriella: Fact 1 is that British chocolate is very sweet.
Gina: Very sweet! It’s higher in milk content and lower in cocoa content than most chocolate. Even if you buy a British brand such as Cadbury abroad, it will taste different to the British version.
Gabriella: It’s never as nice, is it?
Gina: Not to us Brits, no!
Gabriella: The next fact is a bit of a stereotype, but I do think it’s true. Brits really do love their tea.
Gina: I can’t function without a cup of tea in the morning.
Gabriella: It’s very relaxing, I think. Coffee is very popular in the UK, of course, but you really can’t beat a good cup of tea.
Gina: Putting the kettle on so you can share a cup of tea with someone while discussing something is very common.
Gabriella: Yes. Another thing that is common, is home baking.
Gina: Or at least, home baked goods are. A lot of popular British sweet foods are the type that can be baked at home, like scones or fruit cakes, so even store-bought foods are marketed as being in the style of home baked.
Gabriella: Speaking of home baked, bread is also very popular.
Gina: Yeah, it is. The UK didn’t invent the sandwich, but the name comes from the Earl of Sandwich, right?
Gabriella: It does! Freshly baked bread is very popular, as is taking sandwiches for lunch, and eating toast for breakfast.
Gina: And our final fact is…
Gabriella: …that snacks are very popular!
Gina: What kind of snacks?
Gabriella: Crisps are the most popular, I think. These are thin, baked potato snacks that are called “chips” in some other English-speaking countries. They come in many different flavours.
Gina: I like the more common and ordinary flavours, like salt and vinegar, or ready salted.
Gabriella: Really? I like the strange and limited flavours you see occasionally, like lamb curry or chilli con carne.
Gina: Weird (laughs). I’m very hungry now, so I think it’s time we stopped talking about food.
Gabriella: Yeah, we probably should!


Gina: Ok, everyone. I think that’s all for this lesson.
Gabriella: Thank you for listening everyone. See you next time!