11-Reading an d listning
Food & EatingA Part of Conversation Questions for the ESL Classroom.
- About how many different color foods did you eat for dinner last night?
- Do you think about color when you are preparing a meal?
- Are there any foods that you wouldn't eat as a child that you eat now?
- Are you a good cook?
- Are you a vegetarian?
- Are you concerned about your daily calorie intake when choosing something to eat?
- At what times do you usually eat your meals?
- Can you cook well?
- Did you drink coffee this morning?
- Did you eat lunch today?
- Do you always eat dinner with your family?
- Do you always eat vegetables?
- Do you cook? If yes, what food do you cook the most often?
- Do you drink milk every day?
- Do you drink tea every day?
- Do you eat beef?
- Do you eat bread every day?f
- Do you eat breakfast every day?
- Do you eat fruit every day?
- Do you eat lunch at school every day?
- How much does lunch usually cost at school?
- Do you bring your lunch to school?
- Do you eat rice every day?
- Do you ever skip breakfast? If so, how often and why?
- Do you have a favorite cafe? If so, where is it? Why do you like it?
- Do you have coffee for breakfast?
- Do you know someone who struggles with an eating disorder?
- Do you like Thai food?
- Chinese food?
- Spanish food?
- American food?
- Mozambican food?
- French food?
- Italian food?
- Do you like Japanese food?
- What kind of Japanese food do you like?
- Do you like deep fried food?
- Do you like food from other countries? If yes, which do you like the most?
- Do you like peas and carrots? How about spinach?
- Do you like to cook? Why or why not?
- Do you like to eat a lot of food every day?
- Do you like to eat at fast food restaurants?
- Do you like to eat cakes?
- Do you like to eat junk food?
- Do you like to eat some desserts after dinner?
- Do you like to eat? Why or why not?
- Do you like to have breakfast each morning? Why or why not?
- Do you like to try new food and drinks?
- Do you often eat out?
- Do you prefer fish or meat?
- Do you prefer to eat at a restaurant or at home?
- Do you prefer your own country's food or other kinds of food?
- Do you read the nutritional information on the foods you buy?
- Do you take vitamin pills?
- Do you think a vegetarian diet is better than a diet that includes meat?
- Do you think fast food, soda and sweets should be sold in school cafeterias?
- Do you usually want to eat dessert after dinner?
- Have you ever been a diet? If so, how long did you stayed on it?
- Have you ever eaten dog meat?
- How long do you take to eat lunch?
- How many calories do most people need every day?
- How many meals do you usually eat every day?
- How much do you eat when you are sad or happy?
- How much does it cost to eat dinner at a hotel in your country?
- How much rice do you eat?
- How often do you eat at a fast-food restaurant?
- How often do you eat bread?
- How often do you eat fresh fruit?
- How often do you eat in a restaurant? (How often do you eat out?)
- Where do you usually go?
- Who do you usually go with?
- About how much do you spend?
- Do you ever go to an Indian restaurant?
- How often do you eat steak?
- How often do you go drinking? What's your favorite drink?
- How often do you go shopping for food?
- If you are living abroad, what is the food that you miss most from home?
- Is there any food that you really dislike to eat?
- What are some foods that are considered unhealthy?
- What are some foods that you know are healthy for your body?
- What country's food do you like the most?
- What did you eat for lunch yesterday?
- What did you eat the last time you ate at a restaurant?
- What did you have for breakfast this morning?
- What did you have for supper last night?
- What do you eat for breakfast every day?
- What do you eat when you feel sad?
- What do you like to drink?
- What do you like to eat for your dinner?
- What do you think of Thai food? Chinese food? English food?
- What do you usually eat for lunch?
- What do you usually like to drink when you go out?
- What food can you cook the best?
- What food do you hate? Why do you hate it?
- What foods do you hate?
- What foods do you love?
- What foods have you tasted which you will never forget for the rest of your life?
- What fruit do you eat the most often?
- What have you eaten so far today?
- What is a typical meal from your country?
- What is one of your favorite foods?
- What is the cheapest place to eat that you know?
- About how much is a meal?
- Where is it?
- How often do you go there?
- What is the food you like about your country.
- What is the last meal you cooked for someone else?
- What is the most expensive meal you have ever eaten?
- What is the most expensive restaurant that you have ever been to?
- What did you eat there?
- When did you go?
- Who did you go with?
- What is the most unusual thing you've ever eaten. Did it taste good or bad?
- What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
- What is your favorite food?
- Please describe your favorite food.
- What is your favorite dessert?
- What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
- What is your opinion of Chinese food?
- American food?
- British food?
- India food?
- Greek food?
- What kind of beverages do you usually drink?
- What kind of desserts do you like to eat?
- What kind of food do like to eat when you are angry?
- What kind of food do you eat between meals?
- What kind of food do you like the most?
- What kind of food do you like to eat?
- What kind of food does your mother make?
- What kind of food that you think is the least healthy?
- What kind of food that you think is the most healthy?
- What kind of food you usually eat?
- What kind of fruit do you like the best?
- What kind of restaurants you like?
- What kind of vegetables do you like?
- What kinds of food do you usually eat for lunch?
- What restaurant in this city do you recommend?
- Why is it a good place?
- About how much does a meal cost?
- What special foods do you eat on holidays? (Christmas, New Year's Day, etc.)
- What time do you usually eat breakfast? How about lunch and supper?
- What vegetable do you like best?
- What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?
- What's the best restaurant you've ever been to? Why did you like it?
- What's the strangest food you've ever eaten?
- What's your favorite dessert?
- What's your favorite drink in the summer?
- What's your favorite fish?
- What's your favorite food?
- What's your favorite fruit?
- What's your favorite junk food?
- What's your favorite kind of ethnic food?
- What's your favorite kind of food?
- What's your favorite kind of meat?
- What's your favorite restaurant? Why do you like it?
- What's your favorite snack?
- When was the last time you ate at a restaurant?
- When was the last time you ate dinner with your mother?
- Where do you usually eat dinner?
- Which country's food do you like the most?
- Which do you eat more often, rice, bread or potatoes?
- Which fast food restaurants do like?
- Which fast food restaurants do you eat at the most often?
- Who do you usually eat dinner with?
- Why are diets usually short?
- Why can't people stop eating?
- Why do you think obesity is becoming such a problem in the United States and throughout the world?
- What do Chinese people eat for lunch?(Substitute the nationality of your students.)
- Do you know the nutritional value of the things you eat every day?
- Do you believe that "we are what we eat?"
- How many meals a day do you think should be eaten?
- Do you usually eat at home or eat at a restaurant?
- Can you name a spice or flavoring that is good for your health?
- If you were on death row, what would you request for your last meal?
- Do you pray before each meal?
- Have you ever eaten something that made you ill?
- How many calories are in one hamburger?
- If you don't know, can you make a guess? Is it more or less than an ice-cream cone?
- Have you ever had pot-luck?
- Have you ever tasted African food?
- Does your family have any special recipes that are passed down from generation to generation?
- What would you bring to a pot-luck lunch?
- Do you like brunch?
- How much should you tip the server in a restaurant?
- What type of restaurants would you not tip in?
- Have you ever found something disgusting in your food?
- Have you ever sent food back in a restaurant?
- Have you ever left a restaurant without paying ("dined and dashed")?
- Do you like trying new foods?
- What new foods have you tried this month?
- What is the strangest food you have ever tried?
- Do you have any food allergies?
- Which food from this country do you like the least?
- What do you think about super-sizing?
- Should fast food restaurants serve healthier food?
- Are food portions too big for our health?
- What food would you like to see in a restaurant in this country?
- Do you think it is good to count calories when you are eating?
- Which food is overpriced?
- What differences do you notice in the preparation of American/British/Australian and Chinese/Japanese/Korean foods?
- Do the utensils we use to eat affect the kind or way we prepare the foods we eat?
- Do you think that food defines a culture? If so, how?
- Do you notice any differences in the way food is served at the table when you travel?
- Do you enjoy eating intestines? (Substitute in other foods that students are not likely to enjoy.)
- How does the etiquette of eating together in your country differ from other countries?
- Are there any foods that bring back special memories for you? What are they?
- What can you do when a fishbone is caught in your throat?
- If you were invited to a fancy dinner with the president or a celebrity, what would you do to prepare?
- Name a spice or flavoring that is good for your health?
- What to do when you cut your finger preparing food?
- Have you ever thought food was your only friend?
- What types of foods do Japanese people eat?
- What types of foods do Chinese people eat?
- How often do you have unhealthy food?
- When you are alone do you always cook a meal.
- Do you like pizza?
- What is your favorite pizza topping?
- How often do you eat pizza at a restaurant?
- How often do you order pizza to your home?
- Are there pizzerias near your home that deliver pizzas?
- What do you like to drink with your pizza?
- Do you know how to make a pizza?
- Do you know who invented the pizza?
- Why is pizza popular?
- Have you ever called for pizza delivery?
- How do you make pizza at home?
A Few Steps Up From Fast Food, and Down the Road From Fine Dining, Lies the Diner
STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember. This is a three-day weekend for millions of Americans in observance of Columbus Day on Monday. A holiday can be a good time to see new places. And for a hungry explorer in America, nothing compares to the discovery of a good diner. Today, learn about this American tradition, as Faith Lapidus and I serve up a program that was first broadcast in two thousand six.
(MUSIC - “SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL”)
FAITH LAPIDUS: A diner is a small restaurant. Old-time diners were built in a factory and transported to their place of business.
Diners usually have an open kitchen and a long counter. People can sit at the counter and watch the cooks make their food.
A diner can be a place for people in a community to gather, drink coffee and talk. Or it can be a welcome stop for travelers on the road.
STEVE EMBER: Around the late eighteen fifties, there was a young man in Providence, Rhode Island, named Walter Scott. In fact, the American Diner Museum says he was just seventeen. Walter Scott discovered a way to make extra money. He brought food to men who worked late at night in the city.
Back then, restaurants closed by eight o'clock. Hungry workers needed a place where they could buy homemade food quickly and easily.
In eighteen seventy-two, Walter Scott began to sell food out of a wagon pulled by a horse. He could move his business from place to place and sell more “night lunches.”
FAITH LAPIDUS: People in other cities improved on the idea. They bought their own wagons and called them night cafes or lunch wagons. Companies began to make wagons big enough for people to sit inside.
In some places, lunch wagons were so popular that city leaders thought there were too many of them in the streets. To avoid trouble, the owners parked their businesses on empty lots that were out of the way.
Soon, the owners recognized that they could make more money by staying in one place and selling many different kinds of food.
(MUSIC - "THE GOLD DIGGER'S SONG")
STEVE EMBER: By the nineteen twenties, lunch wagons were bigger and stayed open all day, instead of only at night. Owners added tables, to appeal to women who did not want to sit at a counter.
The companies that made lunch wagons began to make them look like the railroad cars of the time. Owners thought that a new name would make people think of the dining cars on trains. They began to call their businesses “diners.”
(MUSIC - “BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A DIME?”)
FAITH LAPIDUS: Diners survived the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties. Americans who did not have jobs often ate at diners because the meals were low-priced.
After World War Two, companies began to make diners that looked like rockets and spaceships. They built diners out of shiny stainless steel, and made brightly colored signs lit by neon gas.
Diner owners were always searching for ways to make their businesses look more modern. By this time, thousands of diners were being built across America.
FAITH LAPIDUS: Diners are known for “comfort food.” This kind of food reminds people of the meals their mothers and grandmothers made. Meatloaf is a good diner meal. It is baked in an oven and traditionally served with potatoes that are mashed and mixed with milk or cream.
Most diners serve breakfast meals all day long, not just in the morning. Pancakes are a favorite breakfast food at diners. They are a thin, round cake made of flour, eggs and milk -- all cooked on a greased surface.
Another popular diner food is a milkshake. This sweet, thick drink is made of ice cream and milk. In the nineteen forties and 'fifties, teenagers would meet at diners to talk, drink milkshakes and listen to music.
Many diners had jukeboxes that people could operate from their tables. Someone could put in a coin, choose a song and then listen as it played throughout the restaurant.
(MUSIC - "ROCK AROUND THE CLOCK”)
FAITH LAPIDUS: Immigrants owned many of the diners across America. They added foods from their own countries to the menu. Many diners offer Greek foods like baklava, a sweet, nut-filled pastry. A gyro is another favorite -- lamb wrapped in soft bread and served with yogurt sauce.
Over the years, diners changed as American tastes changed. In the nineteen sixties, diners became less popular. New businesses like McDonald's offered fast food. The prices were low, service was quick and people knew they could find the same meals from place to place.
Soon diners across the country began to close. Many owners who stayed in business did not have enough money to improve their buildings. Instead of looking modern and new, diners looked old and tired. They could not keep up with the speed of American living.
(MUSIC - “BYE BYE LOVE”)
STEVE EMBER: Diners are much less common than they used to be. But they still hold a place in the American imagination. Several large companies have opened new diners that recreate the look of the past.
FAITH LAPIDUS: Some people, though, are loyal to the old diners that have stayed in business. These people prefer to eat at places that have remained in the same spot for years. They eat at diners so often that the waitresses remember their names and ask about their families.
The Tastee Diner in Maryland opened in nineteen thirty-five. There are three locations. If you walked into the one in Bethesda, there is a good chance you would meet Jim. He is a regular there. In fact, he says he has been eating at the Tastee Diner since nineteen seventy-four.
Jim used to eat three meals a day there. Now, he stops by for coffee and a little something to eat.
Nathan has worked as a cook at the Tastee Diner for ten years. Nathan and the waitresses happily greet Jim every time he walks through the door. They talk to him while they go about their work.
Jim says that the people who work at the diner are like a second family for him. He laughs, and says a diner is the only place where you can find good food and pretty waitresses.
STEVE EMBER: Today, the Tastee Diner seems more popular than ever. Frank Long, the manager, says Saturday and Sunday mornings are very busy. People have to wait in long lines outside the small diner.
The Tastee Diner also continues another tradition. It stays open twenty-four hours a day. Frank Long says many people come to the diner in the middle of the night to eat comfort food and drink coffee.
In a way, not much has changed since Walter Scott sold food out of a cart in Providence, Rhode Island, more than a hundred thirty years ago.
(MUSIC - "WHOLE LOTTA SHAKIN’ GOIN’ ON")
FAITH LAPIDUS: You can learn more on the Internet about the history of American diners. Some of our information, for example, came from the University of Vermont Historic Preservation Program. The university Web site is uvm dot e-d-u (uvm.edu). The American Diner Museum in Providence is not ready to serve visitors in person yet, but it's always open at dinermuseum dot o-r-g.
STEVE EMBER: Our program was written by Katherine Gypson. Our producer was Caty Weaver. I'm Steve Ember.
FAITH LAPIDUS: And I'm Faith Lapidus. Internet users can read and listen to our reports at voaspecialenglish.com. Listen again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.
Clarification: This program calls baklava a Greek food. It should be noted that there are a number of claims about who invented it. The word itself comes from Turkish, as does the word yogurt, which is used in another food described in the program, the gyro. (Gyro comes from Modern Greek.)
If you can think of another good question for this list, please add it.