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Answer the following text-based questions



Unit 4. Food Rules

 

Lead-in Points to Ponder

 

1. The items below represent different reasons for which people choose foods. Arrange them in order of their importance they have for you and expand on your choice:

• availability

• colour

• cost

• essential ingredients

• religion

• smell

• taste

• the ‘looks’ of food

2. How does your lifestyle affect the choices you make about food you eat?

3. What are your family’s eating patterns? What are the foods you don’t eat too often or in large quantities? Why?

4. What do you think health food is? What is a healthy diet?

 

Reading 1. Food Rules

 

In 1949, the Hungarian George Mikes famously declared that: ‘On the Continent people have good food; in England they have good table manners.’ Later, in 1977, he observed that our food had improved somewhat, while our table manners had deteriorated.

Nearly thirty years on, Mikes’s comments still reflect the general international opinion of English cooking, as the travel writer Paul Richardson discovered when he told foreign friends that he was going to spend eighteen months researching a book on British gastronomy. His Spanish, French and Italian friends, he says, informed him that there was no such thing as British gastronomy, as this would require a passionate love of food, which we clearly did not have. They implied ‘that our relationship with the food we ate was more or less a loveless marriage’.

These criticisms are largely justified. But they are not the whole truth. The same goes for the opposite extreme – the current ‘Cool Britannia’ fashion for proclaiming that English cooking has in recent years improved out of all recognition, that London is the now the gastronomic capital of the world, that food is the new rock ‘n’roll, that we have become a nation of gourmets and ‘foodies’, and so on.

My impression is that it is neither as awful as its detractors would have us believe, nor as stupendous as its recent champions have claimed. It is somewhere in between. So, I am not interested in English food per se, but in the Englishness of English food rules.

THE AMBIVALENCE RULE

‘Loveless marriage’ is not an entirely unfair description of the English relationship with food, although marriage is perhaps too strong a word: our relationship with food and cooking is more like a sort of uneasy, uncommitted cohabitation. It is ambivalent, often discordant, and highly fickle. There are moments of affection, and even of passion, but on the whole it is fair to say that we do not have the deep-seated, enduring, inborn love of food that is to be found among our European neighbours, and indeed in most other cultures. Food is just not given the same high priority in English life as it is elsewhere. Even the Americans, whose ‘generic’ (as opposed to ethnic) food is arguably no better than ours, still seem to care about it more, demanding hundreds of different flavours and combinations in each category of junk food, for example, whereas we will put up with just two or three.

In most other cultures, people who care about food, and enjoy cooking and talking about it, are not singled out, either sneeringly or admiringly, as ‘foodies’. Keen interest in food is the norm, not the exception: what the English call a ‘foodie’ would just be a normal person, exhibiting a standard, healthy, appropriate degree of focus on food. What we see as foodie obsession is in other cultures the default mode, not something unusual or even noticeable.

Foodieness is somewhat more acceptable among females, but it is still noticeable, still remarked upon – and in some circles regarded as pretentious. No-one wishes to be seen as too deeply fascinated by or passionate about food. Most of us are proud to claim that we ‘eat to live, rather than living to eat’ – unlike some of our neighbours, the French in particular, whose excellent cooking we enjoy and admire, but whose shameless devotion to food we rather despise, not realizing that the two might perhaps be connected.

ANTI-EARNESTNESS AND OBSCENITY RULES

Our ambivalence about food may be due in part to the influence of the Importance of Not Being Earnest rule. Excessive zeal on any subject is embarrassing, and getting all earnest and emotional about something as trivial as food is, well, frankly rather silly.



But it seems to me that our uneasiness about food and foodieness involves something more than this. There is a hint here of a more general discomfort about sensual pleasures. Flaunting one’s passion for good food, and talking openly about the pleasure of eating it, is not embarrassing just because it is over-earnest but also because it is somehow a bit obscene. The sensual pleasures of eating, it seems to me, are in the same category – not exactly a taboo subject, but one that should only be talked about in a light-hearted, unserious, jokey manner.

Without such ironic detachment, foodie-talk becomes a form of ‘gastro-porn’ (the term normally refers to lavishly illustrated foodie magazines and cookbooks, with detailed, mouth-watering descriptions of each luscious dish – but can equally be applied to over-enthusiastic foodie conversation).

TV-DINNER RULES

Although the idea that we are becoming a nation of discerning gastronomes is, I’m afraid, over-optimistic foodie propaganda – well, a gross exaggeration, anyway – interest in food and cooking has certainly increased in recent years. There is usually at least one food-related programme on every television channel, every day. Admittedly, some of the game-show-style programmes, in which chefs compete to cook a three-course meal in 20 minutes from five ingredients, are more entertainment than cookery – and my foreign informants found this approach to food either amusingly daftor shockingly irreverent.

Whether this actually translates into much real cooking in English homes is a matter for some debate. It is probably true to say that many English people avidly watch the celebrity TV chefs preparing elaborate dishes from fresh, exotic ingredients, while their own plastic-packaged supermarket ready-meals circle sweatily for three minutes in the microwave.

There are still very few households in England where fresh ingredients, pricey or otherwise, are painstakingly prepared and carefully cooked on a daily basis. The shelves of the more up-market upermarkets may be full of exotic vegetables, herbs and spices, but the majority of shoppers still have no idea what these ingredients are or how to cook them. I spent some time hanging around the fruit and veg sections in supermarkets, staring at things like wild mushrooms and lemongrass, and randomly asking fellow shoppers if they knew what one was supposed to do with them. Most did not, and neither, for that matter, did the supermarket staff.

THE NOVELTY RULE

I am, however, falling into a very English trendy-foodie trap here – equating ‘good’ food and ‘genuine’ interest in cooking with novel, foreign ingredients and new ways of preparing them. My foreign friends and informants find the frantic novelty-seeking of English foodies somewhat bizarre, and laugh at our constantly changing fads and fashions. One minute it’s sun-dried tomatoes with everything, the next minute these are passé and it’s raspberry vinegar, or garlic mash, or polenta.

This current novelty-obsession is not peculiarly English; the same trend can be observed among our colonial descendants in America and Australia, but they are much younger nations, composed of immigrants from a variety of cultures, with no traditional indigenouscuisine to speak of, so they have some excuse. We are supposed to be an old, established European culture, with centuries of tradition and a sense of history. Yet when it comes to food, we behave like teenage fashion-victims.



MOANING AND COMPLAINING RULES

In restaurants, as elsewhere, the English may moan and grumble to each other about poor service or bad food, but our inhibitions, our social disease, make it difficult for us to complain directly to the staff. We have three very different ways of dealing with such situations, all more or less equally ineffective and unsatisfying.

Most English people, faced with unappetizing or even inedible food, are too embarrassed to complain at all. Complaining would be ‘making a scene’, ‘making a fuss’ or ‘drawing attention to oneself’ in public – all forbidden by the unwritten rules. It would involve a confrontation, an emotional engagement with another human being, which is unpleasant and uncomfortable and to be avoided if possible. English customers may moan indignantly to their companions. They will not go back to that establishment, and will tell all their friends how awful it is, but the poor publican or restaurateurwill never even know that there was anything amiss.

Some slightly braver souls will use method number two: the apologetic complaint, an English speciality. ‘Excuse me, I’m terribly sorry, um, but, er, this soup seems to be rather, well, not very hot – a bit cold, really . . .’ Sometimes these complaints are so hesitant and timid, so oblique, and so carefully disguised as apologies, that the staff could be forgiven for failing to grasp the fact that the customers are dissatisfied. As well as apologising for complaining, we also tend to apologise for making perfectly reasonable requests: ‘Sorry, but could we have the bill now please?’ and even for spending money: ‘Sorry, could we have another bottle of this, please? ’I always feel obliged to apologize when I haven’t eaten much of my meal: ‘Sorry, it was lovely, really, I’m just not very hungry’.

Finally, there is, as usual, the other side of the social dis-ease coin – English complaint-technique number three: the loud, aggressive, obnoxious complaint. The red-faced, blustering, rude, self-important customer who has worked himself into a state of indignation over some minor mistake – or, occasionally, the patient customer who eventually explodes in genuine frustration at being kept waiting hours for disgusting food.

CULINARY CLASS CODES

The popular novelist Jilly Cooper, who has a much better understanding of the English class system than any sociologist, quotes a shopkeeper who told her, ‘When a woman asks for back I call her “madam”; when she asks for streaky I call her “dear”.’ Nowadays, in addition to these two different cuts of bacon, one would have to take into account the class semiotics of extra-lean and organic bacon, lardons, prosciutto, speck and Serrano ham (all favoured by the ‘madam’ class rather than the ‘dear’), as well as pork scratchings and bacon-flavoured crisps (all decidedly ‘dear’-class foods, rarely eaten by ‘madams’).

English people of all classes love bacon sandwiches (the northern working classes call them ‘bacon butties’), although some more pretentious members of the lower- and middle-middle classes pretend to have daintier, more refined tastes, and some affectedly health-conscious upper-middles make disapproving noises about fat, salt, cholesterol and heart disease.

Very secure uppers and upper-middles, with the right accents and other accoutrements, can admit to loving any food with impunity – they will merely be regarded as charmingly eccentric. The more class anxious should take care to pick their charming eccentricity from the very bottom of the scale (chip butties) rather than the class nearest to them (tinned fruit in juice), to avoid any possibility of a misunderstanding.

 

Reading Comprehension Check

 

Text Vocabulary Boost

 

Highlight the words from (A) in the text and match their meanings to the words and phrases from (B)

 

A. Stupendous; fickle; single out; noticeable; zeal; earnest; obscene; lavishly; discerning; irreverent; translate into; elaborate; painstakingly; genuine; novel; frantic; indigenous; engagement; amiss; oblique; grasp; obnoxious.

B. Serious and sincere; generously; magnificent; involvement; shocking and offensive; real; changeable; obvious; choose; grip; discriminating; disrespectful; happen as a result; eagerness; native; rude; wrong; meticulously; hectic; indirect; new; intricate.

 

Further Language Boost

 

Language Transfer 1: ‘Food’ Collocations

 

7 Find in Text 1 the words that collocate with the word ‘food’. Study the word partnerships below and complete the sentences.

 

junk FOOD court

fast processor

slow store

convenience additives

health bank

processed outlet

finger value

organic intake

staple safety

fad

for thought

rage

 

1. _______ food can be eaten with one’s hands, as opposed to requiring utensils.

2. A food _______ is a catering concept in which a number of different food _______ share a common eating area.

3. Foods commonly considered _______ foods include salted snack foods, gum, candy, sweet desserts, fried _______ food, and sugary carbonated beverages.

4. Once found in health food _______, _______ food is now a regular feature at most supermarkets.

5. Food _______ have been used for centuries to enhance the appearance and flavour of food and prolong shelf life.

6. Restaurants must worry about food hygiene or food _______ when they prepare food for clients.

7. _______ foods, which are designed for ease of consumption, include commercially prepared foods such as ready-to-eat foods, frozen foods such as TV dinners, shelf-stable products and prepared mixes.

8. The food _______ of a particular food is a measure of how good it is for you, based on its level of vitamins, minerals, or calories.

9. As in America, with the cuts to the food stamps system, people in the UK rely on volunteer-run food _______ to help them if they cannot afford to eat.

10. It provides plenty of food _______ for those writers who are wondering what it is that holds readers to the page.

11. Rice, a cheap _______ food, can be purchased in large quantities at a very low price, which is why it is the basis for cuisines across Asia and Latin America.

12. _______ food is food, in contrast to fast food, that is normally a part of a complete meal, especially the traditional cuisine of a region.

13. Some basic functions of a food _______ include grinding herbs, chopping vegetables and blending fruits.

14. _______ food has gone through a lot of changes in factories.

15. _______ food is full of nutrients that are essential to growth, repair and prevention of diseases.

16. According to the latest research, the overall proportion of daily food _______ coming from fast cuisine venues is statistically equivalent for both genders.

17. Not a week goes by without another new food _______ – from almond milk to cauliflower pizza base.

18. Food _______ strikes when the service of food is not what customers expect. From cupcakes to burgers, customers are lashing out at restaurant staff.

Speculate on what cooking really is: an art, a passion, a necessity. Is there a kind of sorcery, magic or alchemy in cooking? Or is it more about skills and experience? Which words apply to cooking and which to fortune-telling? Is there anything in common between cooking chocolate and telling fortune?

 

to require skills to work domestic magic an endless fascination

(take) painstaking steps to look into hearts to see to the core of things wise fool’s gold to relish a layman’s magic a tiresome necessity

to enjoy an art to sell dreams and comforts to wield marvels

to be a knack loving preparation to make incense

sensual magic a lightness of touch to probe into lives

a professional secret a harmless temptation to see longings

This is (1) __ art I can enjoy. There is a kind of sorcery in all cooking: in (2) ___ choosing of ingredients, the process of mixing, grating, melting, infusing and flavouring, the recipes taken from ancient books, (3) ___ traditional utensils – (4) ___ pestle and mortar with which my mother made her incense turned to a more homely purpose, her spices and aromatics, giving up their subtleties to (5) ___ baser, more sensual magic. And it is partly (6) ___ transience of it that delights me; so much loving preparation, so much art and experience put into (7) ___ pleasure which can last only a moment, and which only a few will ever fully appreciate. My mother always viewed my interest with indulgent contempt. To her, food was no pleasure but (8) ___ tiresome necessity to be worried over, a tax on the price of our freedom. I stole (9) ___ menus from restaurants and looked longingly into patisserie windows. I must have been ten years old - maybe older - before I first tasted (10) ___ real chocolate. But still the fascination endured. I carried recipes in my head like maps. All kinds of recipes; torn from (11) ___ abandoned magazines in busy railway stations, wheedled from (12) ___ people on the road, strange marriages of my own confection. Mother with her her divinations directed our mad course across Europe. Cookery cards anchored us, placed landmarks on the bleak borders. Paris smells of (13) ___ baking bread and (14) ___croissants; Marseille of (15) ___ bouillabaisse and (16) ___ grilled garlic. Berlin was Eisbrei with Sauerkraut and Kartoffelsalat, Rome was (17) ___ ice-cream I ate without paying in a tiny restaurant beside the river.

Mother had taught me what she could. How to see to the core of things, of people, to see their thoughts, their longings. But some people are unreadable, unreachable. Making (18) ___ chocolate is a different matter. Oh, some skill is required. A certain lightness of touch, speed, (19) ___ a patience my mother would never have had. But (20) ___ formula remains the same every time. It is safe. Harmless. And I do not have to look into their hearts and take what I need; these are wishes which can be granted simply, for the asking.

Guy, my confectioner, has known me for a long time. We worked together after Anouk was born and he helped me to start my first business, (21) ___ tiny pattisserie-chocolaterie in the outskirts of Nice. Now he is based in Marseille, importing (22) ___ raw chocolate liquor direct from South America and converting it to chocolate of various grades in his factory.

I only use the best. (23) ___ blocks of couverture are slightly larger than house bricks, one box of each per delivery, and I use all three types: (24) ___ dark, (25) ___ milk and (26) ___ white. It has to be tempered to bring it to its crystalline state, ensuring (27) ___ hard, brittle surface and (28) ___ good shine. Some confectioners buy their supplies already tempered, but I like to do it myself. There is (29) ___ endless fascination in handling (30) ___ raw dullish blocks of couverture, in grating them by hand – I never use electrical mixers - into the large ceramic pans, then melting, stirring, testing each painstaking step with (31) ___ sugar thermometer until just the right amount of heat has been applied to make the change.

There is a kind of (32) ___ alchemy in the transformation of base chocolate into this wise fool's gold; (33) ___ layman's magic which even my mother might have relished. As I work I clear my mind, breathing deeply. The windows are open, and (34) ___ through draught would be cold if it were not for (35) ___ heat of the stoves, (36) ___ copper pans, (37) ___ rising vapour from the melting couverture. The mingled scents of (38) ___ chocolate, (39) ___ vanilla, (40) ___ heated copper and (41) ___ cinnamon are intoxicating, powerfully suggestive; (42) ___ raw and earthy tang of (43) ___ Americas, (44) ___ hot and resinous perfume of the rainforest. This is how I travel now, as the Aztecs did in their sacred rituals. (45) ___ food of the gods, bubbling and frothing in ceremonial goblets. The bitter elixir of life.

***

I know all their favourites. It's (1) ___ knack, a professional secret like (2) ___ fortune-teller reading palms: My mother would have laughed at this waste of my skills, but I have no desire to probe further into their lives than this. I do not want their secrets or their innermost thoughts. Nor do I want their fears or (3) ___ gratitude. (4) ___ tame alchemist, she would have called me with (5) ___ kindly contempt, working domestic magic when I could have wielded marvels. But I like these people. I like their small and introverted concerns. I can read their eyes, their mouths, so easily: this one with its hint of (6) ___ bitterness will relish my zesty orange twists; this sweet-smiling one the soft-centred apricot hearts. For Guillaume, (7) ___ florentines, eaten neatly over a saucer in his tidy bachelor's house. Narcisse's appetite for (8) ___ double-chocolate truffles reveals (9) ___ gentle heart beneath (10) ___ gruff exterior. Caroline Clairmont will dream of (11) ___ cinder toffee tonight and wake hungry and irritable. And the children… (12) ___ Chocolate curls, (13) ___ white buttons with (14) ___coloured vermicelli, (15) ___ marzipan fruits in their nests of ruffled paper, (16) ___ peanut brittle, cracknels, assorted misshapes in half-kilo boxes… I sell (17) ___ dreams, (18) ___ small comforts, (19) ___ sweet harmless temptations to bring down a multitude of saints crash-crash-crashing amongst (20) ___ hazels and nougatines.

Reading Comprehension Check

 

Over to you

● Did you like the story? Who did your sympathies lie with and why?

● Have you ever been on a diet? If yes, how did it make you feel? Was it effective?

 

Text Vocabulary Boost

 

Reading Comprehension Check

 

Text Vocabulary Boost

 

Further Language Boost

 

Below are several adjectives that occurred in Reading 3. Choose the suitable adjective to match the nouns in the clusters suggested. Mind there are two extra words. Add more nouns to form the collocations.

 

runny scrambled hard-boiled thin

cooking roast invalid mock

abstemious poached elaborate plain

 

………… eggs (politician, …………)

………… skills (oil, utensils)

………… soup (layer, hair, …………)

………… soup (ticket, argument, …………)

………… cutlets (exams, …………)

………… yolk (nose, honey)

………… food (blouse, language, …………)

………… chicken (beef, potatoes)

………… eggs (words, signals)

………… dinners (excuses, preparations, …………)

Language Transfer 4: -ing nouns and – ing adjectives

 

21 Study the examples with -ing nouns and – ing adjectives from Reading 3. Translate them into Russian.

 

1. …His personal spending rose last year…

2. …I don’t know whether the Queen likes … a light dressing rather than a slick of mayonnaise ...

3. … George prohibited the drinking of wine as long as the war lasted.

4. … With the bright blue and red icing I used to decorate some cakes.

5. … Such a tin will eventually find its way into my shopping basket.

6. … We’re told that he takes his electric frying pan everywhere …

 

Cooking practice

Revise [A] - cutting verbs and [B] – cooking words: 1. Give the corresponding Equvalents in Russian; 2. Provide each of them with at least three examples

 

[A]. Cutting verbs:

Cut -

Sever -

Slice -

Peel -

Chop -

Grate (grind) -

Dice -

 

[B]. Cooking words

Beat, whisk

Fry -

Boil -

Bake -

Roast -

Microwave -

Grill/broil -

Simmer -

Steam -

Toast -

Poach -

Barbecue -

Stir-fry -

Saute -

Chargrill -

Stew -

 

27 Arrange words below into word combinations:

 

A clove of celery

A fillet of butter

A knob of Fish

A pinch of garlic

A rasher of salt

A spring of lemon

A stick of bacon

A wedge of parsley

 

JUNK FOOD HEAVEN

 

I __________ (1 clean) out the fridge the other day. Down on my knees, I __________ (2 unwrap) pieces of foil and peering cautiously into Tupperware containers for about ten minutes, when I came across an interesting product called a breakfast pizza and I examined it with a kind of rueful fondness as you __________ (3 regard) an old photograph of yourself dressed in clothes that you _________ (4 not / believe) you ever thought were stylish. The breakfast pizza, you see, represented the last surviving relic of a bout of very serious retail foolishness on my part.

Some weeks ago my wife and I agreed that I __________ (5 go) to the supermarket with her next time because the stuff she kept bringing home was – how __________ (6 I / put) this? – not fully in the spirit of American eating. Here we __________ (7 live) in a paradise of junk food – the country that gave the world cheese in a spray can – and she kept bringing home healthy stuff like fresh broccoli and packets of Ryvita.

It was because she was English, of course. She __________ (8 not / understand) the rich, unrivalled possibilities for greasiness and goo that the American diet __________ (9 offer). I longed for artificial bacon bits, melted cheese in a shade of yellow unknown to nature, and creamy chocolate fillings. I wanted food that squirts when you bite into it or plops on to your shirt front in such gross quantities that you __________ (10 rise) carefully from the table and limbo over to the sink to __________ (11 clean) yourself up. So I accompanied her to the market and while she was off squeezing melons and pricing shiitake mushrooms I made for the junk food section – which was essentially all the rest of the store. Well, it was heaven.

The breakfast cereals alone ____________ (12 occupy) me for most of the afternoon. There __________ (13 be) 200 types. Every possible substance that __________ (14 dry), __________ (15 puff) and __________ (16 coat) with sugar was there.

I grabbed one of each of the cereals and two of the oatmeal – how often I’ve said that you __________ (17 not / start) a day without a big steaming bowl of cookies – and sprinted with them back to the trolley.

‘What’s that?’ my wife asked in the special tone of voice with which she often addresses me in retail establishments.

‘Breakfast for the next six months,’ I panted as I dashed past, ‘and you __________ (18 not / think) even about putting any of it back and getting muesli.’

__________ the market for junk food (19 proliferate) so much? Everywhere I turned I was confronted with foods guaranteed to make you waddle, most of which were entirely new to me.

It __________ (20 be) the breakfast pizza that finally made my wife snap. She looked at the box and said,

‘No, you __________ (21 never / bring) home something called breakfast pizza. You _________ (22 have)’ – she reached out into the trolley foe some specimen samples – ‘root beer buttons and toaster strudel and …’ She lifted out a packet she hadn’t noticed before. ‘What’s this?’

‘Microwave pancakes,’ I said.

‘You __________ (23 eat) it all,’ she said. ‘Every bit of everything that you don’t put back on the shelves now.’

‘Of course,’ was the only thing I __________ (24 say) in my sincerest voice.

She actually made me eat it. I spent weeks working my way through a symphony of American junk food, and it was all awful. I thought American junk food __________ (25 get) worse or my taste buds __________ (26 mature), but even the treats I’d grown up with now seemed discouragingly pallid or disgustingly sickly. And then, feeling peckish, I went off to the larder to see if I __________ (27 find) a nice plain piece of Ryvita and maybe a stick of celery.

(after “Notes from a Big Country” by Bill Bryson)

 

Consolidation

 

Listening Module

 

Over to you

Has the video changed your attitude to diets? If yes, in what way? What advice would you give to those who want to lose weight?

 

Match the following words and expressions with their Russian equivalents, then fill in the gaps in the sentences below with the expressions:

to come about приводить в равновесие
to rally behind появляться
to balance out останавливать выбор на чем-то
to cut back сплотиться вокруг
to cut out снижать, уменьшать
to opt for способствовать
to get ahead исключать
to assist with добиваться успеха, преуспевать, процветать
   
to shed pounds превосходить преимущества
to tout weight loss снижать вес
to jumpstart weight loss расхваливать, рекламировать снижение веса
to detox the body выдержать проверку временем
to outweight the benefits быстро привести к обратному эффекту
to be inherently wrong запустить, начать снижение веса
to adjust to the shift сбрасывать килограммы
to result in a quick reversal очищать организм
to withstand history приспособиться к изменению
to abandon a diet быть по сути неверным
to drop / lose weight отказаться от диеты
   
in the big picture умеренно
in earnest быстро, сразу, вскоре
in moderation в наличии, имеющийся
in question по большому счету
in place основательно, серьезно
early on о котором идет речь
   
red flag общепринятое представление, бытующее мнение
calorie intake впечатляющие результаты
a quick-fix solution простые рекомендации
conventional wisdom калорийность, потребление колорий
dramatic results сиюминутное, быстрое решение
simple guidelines сигнал опасности

 

1. ________________________________ about diets, including government health recommendations, seems to change all the time.

2. And yet, ads routinely________________________________ claimingto have the answer about what we should eat.

3. Marketing takes advantage of the desire ________________________________ fast, and be stronger, slimmer, and brighter.

4. And ________________________________, diet plans promising________________________________, known as fad diets, are just what they seem: too good to be true.

5. While the Ancient Greeks and Romans ________________________________ large-scale health regimens centuries earlier, this phenomenon began________________________________ in the Victorian Era with crazes like the vinegar diet and the Banting Diet.

6. If the idea of diet crazes has ________________________________, could this mean that they work?

7. Sodium is lost until the body can __________________ itself _____, and temporary fluid weight loss may occur.

8. With other high-protein diets, you might lose weight at first since by restricting your food choices, you are dropping your overall________________________________.

9. But your body then lowers its metabolic rate to ________________________________, lessening the diet's effect over time and ________________________________ if ________________________________.

10. So while these diets may be alluring ________________________________, they don't guarantee long-term benefits for your health and weight.

11. A few ________________________________, though, can help differentiate between a diet that is beneficial in maintaining long-term health, and one that only offers temporary weight changes.

12. Here's the first tipoff: If a diet focuses on intensely________________________________ calories or on ________________________________ entire food groups, like fat, sugar, or carbohydrates, chances are it's a fad diet.

13. And another ________________________________ is ritual, when the diet________________________________ instructs you to only eat specific foods, prescribed combinations, or to ________________________________ particular food substitutes, like drinks, bars, or powders.

14. The truth is ________________________________ in the long run simply doesn't have ________________________________.

15. Not all diet crazes ________________________________. What about claims of superfoods, cleanses, and other body-boosting solutions?

16. They are healthy additions to a balanced diet, yet often, they're marketed as part of sugary drinks or cereals, in which case the negative properties________________________________.

17. Cleanses, too, may be great________________________________ since they can ________________________________ ________________________________ and can increase the number of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed daily.

18. Scientifically speaking, though, they've not yet been shown to have either a long-term benefit or ________________________________ any better than the natural mechanisms already ________________________________.

19. Everywhere we look, we're offered solutions to how we can look better, feel fitter, and generally ________________________________.

20. Diets and food fads _______not____________________. Circumstantially, they might even be right, just not for everyone all of the time.

 

 


 

Active Vocabulary List

Reading 1

Topical Vocabulary General Vocabulary
a gourmet /a foodie to deteriorate
foodieness to justify
generic /ethnic food recognition
mouthwatering stupendous
luscious discordant
a food-related programme ambivalent
an elaborate dish to single out
a plastic-packaged ready-meal obsession
a novel ingredient pretentious
indigenous cuisine to flaunt one’s passion
inedible ironic detachment
a publican lavishly
a restaurateur discerning
a dainty taste daft
  irreverent
  to translate into
  avidly
  painstakingly
  upmarket
  equate
  inhibition
  to be amiss
  oblique
  disguise
  obnoxious
  work oneself into
  health-conscious
  accoutrement
  impunity
Reading 3 General Vocabulary Topical Vocabulary
courtesy of smb glee rebuttal runny in its wake to be gussied up commensurate to be elaborate abstemious to tide smb over low-key to be kitschy to be done to perfection scrambled (eggs) to garnish with smth to be stuffed with smth to be coated with smth lavish (tastes) mock (cutlets) thin (soup)  

 

 

Unit 4. Food Rules

 

Lead-in Points to Ponder

 

1. The items below represent different reasons for which people choose foods. Arrange them in order of their importance they have for you and expand on your choice:

• availability

• colour

• cost

• essential ingredients

• religion

• smell

• taste

• the ‘looks’ of food

2. How does your lifestyle affect the choices you make about food you eat?

3. What are your family’s eating patterns? What are the foods you don’t eat too often or in large quantities? Why?

4. What do you think health food is? What is a healthy diet?

 

Reading 1. Food Rules

 

In 1949, the Hungarian George Mikes famously declared that: ‘On the Continent people have good food; in England they have good table manners.’ Later, in 1977, he observed that our food had improved somewhat, while our table manners had deteriorated.

Nearly thirty years on, Mikes’s comments still reflect the general international opinion of English cooking, as the travel writer Paul Richardson discovered when he told foreign friends that he was going to spend eighteen months researching a book on British gastronomy. His Spanish, French and Italian friends, he says, informed him that there was no such thing as British gastronomy, as this would require a passionate love of food, which we clearly did not have. They implied ‘that our relationship with the food we ate was more or less a loveless marriage’.

These criticisms are largely justified. But they are not the whole truth. The same goes for the opposite extreme – the current ‘Cool Britannia’ fashion for proclaiming that English cooking has in recent years improved out of all recognition, that London is the now the gastronomic capital of the world, that food is the new rock ‘n’roll, that we have become a nation of gourmets and ‘foodies’, and so on.

My impression is that it is neither as awful as its detractors would have us believe, nor as stupendous as its recent champions have claimed. It is somewhere in between. So, I am not interested in English food per se, but in the Englishness of English food rules.

THE AMBIVALENCE RULE

‘Loveless marriage’ is not an entirely unfair description of the English relationship with food, although marriage is perhaps too strong a word: our relationship with food and cooking is more like a sort of uneasy, uncommitted cohabitation. It is ambivalent, often discordant, and highly fickle. There are moments of affection, and even of passion, but on the whole it is fair to say that we do not have the deep-seated, enduring, inborn love of food that is to be found among our European neighbours, and indeed in most other cultures. Food is just not given the same high priority in English life as it is elsewhere. Even the Americans, whose ‘generic’ (as opposed to ethnic) food is arguably no better than ours, still seem to care about it more, demanding hundreds of different flavours and combinations in each category of junk food, for example, whereas we will put up with just two or three.

In most other cultures, people who care about food, and enjoy cooking and talking about it, are not singled out, either sneeringly or admiringly, as ‘foodies’. Keen interest in food is the norm, not the exception: what the English call a ‘foodie’ would just be a normal person, exhibiting a standard, healthy, appropriate degree of focus on food. What we see as foodie obsession is in other cultures the default mode, not something unusual or even noticeable.

Foodieness is somewhat more acceptable among females, but it is still noticeable, still remarked upon – and in some circles regarded as pretentious. No-one wishes to be seen as too deeply fascinated by or passionate about food. Most of us are proud to claim that we ‘eat to live, rather than living to eat’ – unlike some of our neighbours, the French in particular, whose excellent cooking we enjoy and admire, but whose shameless devotion to food we rather despise, not realizing that the two might perhaps be connected.

ANTI-EARNESTNESS AND OBSCENITY RULES

Our ambivalence about food may be due in part to the influence of the Importance of Not Being Earnest rule. Excessive zeal on any subject is embarrassing, and getting all earnest and emotional about something as trivial as food is, well, frankly rather silly.

But it seems to me that our uneasiness about food and foodieness involves something more than this. There is a hint here of a more general discomfort about sensual pleasures. Flaunting one’s passion for good food, and talking openly about the pleasure of eating it, is not embarrassing just because it is over-earnest but also because it is somehow a bit obscene. The sensual pleasures of eating, it seems to me, are in the same category – not exactly a taboo subject, but one that should only be talked about in a light-hearted, unserious, jokey manner.

Without such ironic detachment, foodie-talk becomes a form of ‘gastro-porn’ (the term normally refers to lavishly illustrated foodie magazines and cookbooks, with detailed, mouth-watering descriptions of each luscious dish – but can equally be applied to over-enthusiastic foodie conversation).

TV-DINNER RULES

Although the idea that we are becoming a nation of discerning gastronomes is, I’m afraid, over-optimistic foodie propaganda – well, a gross exaggeration, anyway – interest in food and cooking has certainly increased in recent years. There is usually at least one food-related programme on every television channel, every day. Admittedly, some of the game-show-style programmes, in which chefs compete to cook a three-course meal in 20 minutes from five ingredients, are more entertainment than cookery – and my foreign informants found this approach to food either amusingly daftor shockingly irreverent.

Whether this actually translates into much real cooking in English homes is a matter for some debate. It is probably true to say that many English people avidly watch the celebrity TV chefs preparing elaborate dishes from fresh, exotic ingredients, while their own plastic-packaged supermarket ready-meals circle sweatily for three minutes in the microwave.

There are still very few households in England where fresh ingredients, pricey or otherwise, are painstakingly prepared and carefully cooked on a daily basis. The shelves of the more up-market upermarkets may be full of exotic vegetables, herbs and spices, but the majority of shoppers still have no idea what these ingredients are or how to cook them. I spent some time hanging around the fruit and veg sections in supermarkets, staring at things like wild mushrooms and lemongrass, and randomly asking fellow shoppers if they knew what one was supposed to do with them. Most did not, and neither, for that matter, did the supermarket staff.

THE NOVELTY RULE

I am, however, falling into a very English trendy-foodie trap here – equating ‘good’ food and ‘genuine’ interest in cooking with novel, foreign ingredients and new ways of preparing them. My foreign friends and informants find the frantic novelty-seeking of English foodies somewhat bizarre, and laugh at our constantly changing fads and fashions. One minute it’s sun-dried tomatoes with everything, the next minute these are passé and it’s raspberry vinegar, or garlic mash, or polenta.

This current novelty-obsession is not peculiarly English; the same trend can be observed among our colonial descendants in America and Australia, but they are much younger nations, composed of immigrants from a variety of cultures, with no traditional indigenouscuisine to speak of, so they have some excuse. We are supposed to be an old, established European culture, with centuries of tradition and a sense of history. Yet when it comes to food, we behave like teenage fashion-victims.

MOANING AND COMPLAINING RULES

In restaurants, as elsewhere, the English may moan and grumble to each other about poor service or bad food, but our inhibitions, our social disease, make it difficult for us to complain directly to the staff. We have three very different ways of dealing with such situations, all more or less equally ineffective and unsatisfying.

Most English people, faced with unappetizing or even inedible food, are too embarrassed to complain at all. Complaining would be ‘making a scene’, ‘making a fuss’ or ‘drawing attention to oneself’ in public – all forbidden by the unwritten rules. It would involve a confrontation, an emotional engagement with another human being, which is unpleasant and uncomfortable and to be avoided if possible. English customers may moan indignantly to their companions. They will not go back to that establishment, and will tell all their friends how awful it is, but the poor publican or restaurateurwill never even know that there was anything amiss.

Some slightly braver souls will use method number two: the apologetic complaint, an English speciality. ‘Excuse me, I’m terribly sorry, um, but, er, this soup seems to be rather, well, not very hot – a bit cold, really . . .’ Sometimes these complaints are so hesitant and timid, so oblique, and so carefully disguised as apologies, that the staff could be forgiven for failing to grasp the fact that the customers are dissatisfied. As well as apologising for complaining, we also tend to apologise for making perfectly reasonable requests: ‘Sorry, but could we have the bill now please?’ and even for spending money: ‘Sorry, could we have another bottle of this, please? ’I always feel obliged to apologize when I haven’t eaten much of my meal: ‘Sorry, it was lovely, really, I’m just not very hungry’.

Finally, there is, as usual, the other side of the social dis-ease coin – English complaint-technique number three: the loud, aggressive, obnoxious complaint. The red-faced, blustering, rude, self-important customer who has worked himself into a state of indignation over some minor mistake – or, occasionally, the patient customer who eventually explodes in genuine frustration at being kept waiting hours for disgusting food.

CULINARY CLASS CODES

The popular novelist Jilly Cooper, who has a much better understanding of the English class system than any sociologist, quotes a shopkeeper who told her, ‘When a woman asks for back I call her “madam”; when she asks for streaky I call her “dear”.’ Nowadays, in addition to these two different cuts of bacon, one would have to take into account the class semiotics of extra-lean and organic bacon, lardons, prosciutto, speck and Serrano ham (all favoured by the ‘madam’ class rather than the ‘dear’), as well as pork scratchings and bacon-flavoured crisps (all decidedly ‘dear’-class foods, rarely eaten by ‘madams’).

English people of all classes love bacon sandwiches (the northern working classes call them ‘bacon butties’), although some more pretentious members of the lower- and middle-middle classes pretend to have daintier, more refined tastes, and some affectedly health-conscious upper-middles make disapproving noises about fat, salt, cholesterol and heart disease.

Very secure uppers and upper-middles, with the right accents and other accoutrements, can admit to loving any food with impunity – they will merely be regarded as charmingly eccentric. The more class anxious should take care to pick their charming eccentricity from the very bottom of the scale (chip butties) rather than the class nearest to them (tinned fruit in juice), to avoid any possibility of a misunderstanding.

 

Reading Comprehension Check

 

Answer the following text-based questions

1. How fair is it to describe the English relationship with food as a loveless marriage? What feeling or emotional state applies to this relationship most?

2. Considering food-related issues in what way are Englishmen different from their European neighbours?

3. What proves the fact that Americans are more particular about food than the English?

4. How do the English interpret “foody”? What does the word actually imply?

5. Does foodiness contribute to class distinctions or not? Is it an indication of refined tastes or is it considered to be pretentious?

6. Which rule seems to be more applicable in foodie conversation: the Importance of Being Earnest or the Importance of Not Being Earnest?

7. Do Englishmen find it obscene or appropriate to talk openly about the sensual pleasures of eating?

8. Is it an exaggeration to assert that in recent years the quality of English cooking has improved and that they’ve become a nation of discerning gastronomes? Why? Why not?

9. To what extent does watching cookery shows facilitate the process of cooking in English homes?

10. Which scores more points: painstakingly prepared dishes or plastic-packaged supermarket ready meals?

11. What trap are the English likely to fall into? Is their cuisine supposed to be indigenous? How acceptable is it for the English cuisine to incorporate novel foreign ingredients and dishes?

12. What prevents the English from complaining directly about inedible food or poor service?

13. What can cause an English customer to complain obnoxiously?

14. Do food preferences throw light on one’s social background or do they blur out all distinctions?

 

Text Vocabulary Boost

 






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