Cooking
Do you like cooking? What do you usually cook? Would you like to learn how to cook? Who usually does the cooking in your family? What do you usually do around the house? Do you like housework?
Vocabulary
  • To whip something up (phrasal verb) - to make food or a meal very quickly and easily.
  • Ready meal (noun) - a meal cooked and bought at a shop but taken somewhere else, often home, to be heated and eaten.
  • Scrambled eggs (plural noun) - eggs mixed with a little milk and mixed again as they are being fried.
  • To bring someone/something together (phrasal verb) - to combine a number of people, things, or activities in one place, under one title, for one purpose, etc.
  • To pick up (phrasal verb) - to learn a new skill or language by practising it rather than being taught it.
  • To glance (verb) - to give a quick short look.
  • Cookbook (noun) - a book that explains how to prepare particular dishes.
  • First port of call (idiom) - the first place where one stops to visit, accomplish something, or begin a process.
  • Latterly (adverb) - recently.
  • Cook (noun) - someone who prepares and cooks food.
  • Household (adj. [before noun]) - relating to a house or flat and the people who live there.
  • Chore (noun) - a job or piece of work that is often boring or unpleasant but needs to be done regularly.
  • Tick list (noun) - a list of jobs you tick when they are done.
  • Housekeeper (noun) - a person, especially a woman, whose job is to organize another person's house and deal with cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Prohibitively (adverb) - in a way that is too expensive or too much.
Exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking Parts 2 and 3
Questions and answers
M: Do you like cooking?

R: Well, I like whipping up things that I'm good at cooking, which is painfully small number, now that I think about it. Otherwise, it's just ready meals, which aren't particularly healthy, are they?

M: What do you usually cook?

R: Well, I don't have much time to throw things together with lots of ingredients. So anything with eggs like scrambled eggs or omelettes. It could be thrown into a pan or a microwave. And that brings everything together nicely in the space of just a few minutes.

M: Would you like to learn how to cook?

R: Well, I picked up a few recipes from my mom, who did most of the cooking when I was younger, at least most of the cooking in our family when I was younger. Otherwise, these days when I even glance at a cookbook, my eyes just sort of slide off the page. And I can't take any of it in.

M: Who usually does the cooking in your family?

R: Well, like I said, my mom was the first port of call back in the day when it came to cooking things. Although, latterly my little brother who isn't so little these days became a pretty good cook as well. Actually, he's a better cook than me by far, to be honest with you.

M: What do you usually do around the house?

R: Well, probably just about all of the household chores you'd care to name really. Since I live by myself, which usually means they get done more quickly. However, it does mean that I have to do everything. So it's just me working my way down the tick list.

M: Do you like housework?

R: Well, does anyone? If I could buy a robot or hire a housekeeper to do everything for me, then I would. Although, it's prohibitively expensive right now, which is always the deciding factor in these kinds of things.
Discussion
M: What's the secret ingredient in any dish? Love.

R: I knew you were gonna say that. It was just on the tip of my tongue. And then I was like, no, it couldn't possibly be anything quite so cheesy. Cheesy. It's a food metaphor. Or a food idiom.

M: What's the secret ingredient of our podcast? Love.

R: No, it's Maria making me do things that I don't want to do.

M: Okay, let's "carrot on". I mean, let's carry on. "Carrot on". Did you understand that? Carrot cooking.

R: It's going to be like this for the whole 20 minutes. So I'm sorry. We've got 10 more to go and still it's all just food references.

M: Also, I've got a joke. And, you know, listener, when you understand English humour and all these like puns and stupid jokes, this means that you have a high level of English. You are this, you know, chef of English.

R: Was that the joke?

M: No, no, no, that's the... The chef of English? No.

R: Okay, I felt bad for not laughing there.

M: Oh, oh, oh, I have one more. So you listen to this podcast and you "eggspand" your horizons. "Eggspand".

R: Whereas I am expanding all of my energy not just dying...

M: Let's "carrot on" and "eggspand" our horizons. Sorry.

R: No, you're not. You're not sorry. I know this is what you do. You spend time whipping things up, cooking up ways of making me cringe.

M: So, Rory, you said that I like whipping things up. What did you mean by this?

R: If you whip something up in the kitchen, it's just another way of saying you cook something just based on what's around you. But you could use it more generally to talk about cooking and the examiner will know what you mean.
M: Yeah, for example, we usually say whip up eggs. Whisk the eggs. Yeah? We say whisk the eggs.

R: Yes, you whisk the eggs, you don't whip them. If you whipped your eggs they would break, that wouldn't be very nice.

M: Yeah, but a whip is like... What do we usually whip? Which ingredients? Which products?

R: Can we please add a whip sound effect for Maria doing the whip?

M: Learn your grammar, learn the vocabulary, buy our premium.

R: You can tell like the different styles of teaching from this exchange. Where I'm quite laid back, Maria is just like, would you learn the grammar!

M: So what do we whip?

R: You whip up food or you whip up a meal from what you have available. You whisk eggs, when you have this beater and you whisk them around.

M: So you whip up a meal means you make a meal, you cook a meal. Whip up a meal.

R: It could be cooking. Maybe you have things that are already cooked.

M: Yeah, also you can use some nice verbs. Like, I enjoy whisking the eggs. This makes me calmer.

R: Oh, you beat the eggs as well, don't you?

M: You beat the eggs. You beat and then you... Whisk them.

R: You can do that with a fork too, not just with a whisk.

M: I'm good at cooking. I'm not good at cooking.

R: I am not good at cooking. Ask anyone I've ever cooked for. The survivors.
M: And, dear listener, you can also say that I don't usually cook but if I do, it helps me relax. Cooking is a stress reliever. I find it therapeutic. So cooking is therapy.

R: Or in my case, it's anti-therapy. And I find it extremely stressful. Just because I know lots of cooking words does not make me a good cook. In fact, it maybe replaces all the information I should have to make me a good cook.

M: Or you can say I focus on the ingredients.

R: Do you focus on the ingredients?

M: Oh, yeah, absolutely. First I buy them, then I kind of mix them all together, and I focus only on the task at hand. I get my hands dirty. It's kind of, it gets more physical. You know, all this whooshing, and whisking, and whipping. Rory, you mentioned scrambled eggs.

R: Yes, there are different kinds of eggs or different kinds of things we can do with eggs. Scrambled eggs, when you whisk them up with other things. You can make them in a pan, but I cook mine in a microwave because I'm a complete Philistine and I don't have time to sit around cooking eggs.

M: Excuse me? You cook eggs in a microwave?

R: Yes.

M: Rory-style eggs.

R: You don't look very happy with me.

M: No.

R: Sorry. Hold on. What's wrong with cooking eggs in the microwave? Why does everyone always look at me like I'm, you know, personally responsible for the death of Princess Diana when I say that? What's their problem with that?

M: Because you have a frying pan and you fry your eggs. And you use a frying pan.
R: You don't use a frying pan always to scramble your eggs. You can use a saucepan to scramble your eggs, if you wanted to.

M: No, this is a really weird. Dear listener, if you think that cooking eggs in a microwave is a... Is a little bit crazy. Could you write down in the comments what you think about this.

R: I don't understand. Why is it crazy?

M: We can say cook a dish...

R: Hold on! No, we can not! Get back to the point!

M: So cook up a dish, right? Or make a meal, right? So I usually make lasagna, or pasta, or different kinds of omelettes, salads. So make or cook, these verbs are all fine. You said that you picked up a few recipes. Yeah? So you picked up, like you learned a few recipes?

R: Yes. And you publicly criticized me for cooking my eggs in the microwave. And I demand an explanation why that's weird.

M: Because you see, Rory, when we have a frying pan, we have a bit of olive oil. So, and how olive oil connects to the eggs in a frying pan. Right? So it's just, it's just, the chemistry happens. The magic happens.

R: Magic can happen in a microwave.

M: In a microwave it's artificial... Artificial, you know, the air, everything's like electricity. Oh, scrambled eggs with electricity...

R: Oh, no, electricity. The thing that enables us to record this podcast. Like, come on. I have a very busy life. And when the eggs are cooking in the microwave, I can go and take my bins out, I can tidy the kitchen. Why do I have to stand at the stove and do everything there?

M: Takes two minutes.
R: Actually, it takes four minutes. No, it doesn't. It takes six. But that's not the point. I just like to get everything done. And I don't like to stand still.

M: So when you learn some recipes from somebody, you say I picked up a few recipes from my mom, from my father, from my friends. And I do most of the cooking. So do the cooking.

R: I picked up some tips from Maria but not cooking with a microwave.

M: You can also say that I use a cookbook or a recipe book. So, a recipe. Yeah? Recipes. We follow a recipe. Or, for example, you say I sometimes come up with recipes myself. So I kind of make them myself, I create them. So I come up with some recipes myself to create special dishes. What did you mean when you said that your mom is the first port or the first port of call?

R: The first port of call is the first person that you speak to or go to to do something or to help with something or to ask questions about something. So my mum was the first port of call for me when it comes to cooking. Maria is the first port of call for me when it comes to silly questions about conditionals because I know nothing about them. And Vanya is the first port of call for me when I make a huge mistake when we're recording the podcast and we have to fix it.

M: Yeah, we also use words, a cook and a chef. Rory, what's the difference?

R: A chef is a job. And a cook is just, you're a cook in your own kitchen, for example.

M: So you say I'm not a good cook. I'm a good cook. My mother is by far the best cook in our family. But a chef is like Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver. They are famous chefs.

R: In some languages, is it not the same word that's used to describe both?

M: Yeah, for example, in Russian, we say...

R: Povar.

M: Yeah, but we also say chef.

R: Oh...
M: I don't speak my own language, I don't know.

R: Great. Well, in some languages, it's one word. And in English, it's two for different things.

M: Things around the house could be called chores, household chores. Yeah, a bit strange. Or housework. And Rory works his way down the tick list. A tick list.

R: Basically, it's a big list of jobs to do that I have for every day. And when I do, I tick them off. And it is a family tradition that I didn't think I would find myself living up to, or I would find myself living through. But there you go, I'm doing it, it's now part of my life.

M: And you can also say that some chores, some housework takes up a lot of time. And some chores take up less time. So take up time. Yeah, a lot of time, less time.

R: But if it's just you, then it should take up less time. And because like, how much mess does one person generate? If you're me, not that much.

M: If you're Maria, you generate a lot of mess. Mental mess, physical mess. So...

R: Hot mess.

M: All possible mess. Do you like housework? What a crazy question. Rory, you used a really nice structure. Like if I could buy a robot or hire a housekeeper. A housekeeper is the person who does housework. And then you said that robots are prohibitively expensive. So use the strategy. If I could, I'd hire a housekeeper or I'd buy a robot to do the housework. We do housework, right?

R: We do the housework.

M: Cooking adds endorphins in our life, but housework. I don't think so. Housework doesn't give us these, you know, positive vibes. Or maybe some people enjoy housework, like you clean for one hour, and then everything's clean. And then you're... A sense of achievement.

R: And then everything gets messy again.

M: And, Rory, are you ready for another joke?

R: I've not been ready for any of them. And now you're waving a spoon at me.

M: Okay, so what did the French chef give his wife for Saint Valentine's Day? A hug and a quiche. A quiche. Dear listener, a quiche. A quiche. So a French chef gave a quiche.

R: That was relatively funnier than the other jokes. And speaking of things that are relative, shall we comment on the relative clauses so that we can distance ourselves from this joke?

M: Yeah, go ahead. I'm gonna eat some rosemary.

R: So relative clauses are for building on what you've already said. So for example, when I talked about being, well, when Maria asked me about whether I can cook or whether I like cooking, I said, I can cook the things that I know how to cook, which is painfully few. So that was just adding some more information to what I said about what I can cook, which is not much. In the same thing, when I talked about my little brother, I added a bit more information about him. I said my little brother, who is not so little anymore. And then when we were talking about household chores, I said, it's just me who's doing it, which takes up less time because it's just me. So all of this used to add extra information about something I'm already talking about.

M: And, dear listener, relative clauses are cool. They are like high-level stuff and they help us to build up complex sentences. So make sure you use some of them in your speaking. In any speaking parts. Okay? So they are kind of, they boost... They're your score boosters. They "eggspand" your range of grammar structures. Thank you very much for listening! Hopefully, your inner chef was really happy when you were listening and watching this episode. Please let us know what you think about cooking, about Rory's special way of making eggs in a microwave. So keep cooking, keep listening to us and keep writing your comments. Okay? Bye!

R: Bye!
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