This episode's vocabulary
- Sugar cravings (noun) - an intense, urgent, or abnormal desire or longing for sweet things.
- Sweet tooth (noun) - a great liking for sweet-tasting foods.
- Texture (noun) - those properties of a food that are sensed by touch in the mouth and with the hands.
- Unadulterated (noun) - (especially of food or drink) having no inferior added substances; pure.
- Guilty pleasure (noun) - something pleasurable that induces a usually minor feeling of guilt.
- To confect (verb) - make (something elaborate or dainty) from various elements.
- Mass-produced (adj.) - manufactured in large quantities by an automated mechanical process.
Questions and Answers
Maria: Rory, let's talk about sweets and cakes. Do you like to eat sweets?
Rory: Well, yes, even though I know they're bad for me. I sometimes have sugar cravings. Actually, I increasingly have them these days, and they're very hard to ignore. So in short, yes, I do.
Maria: Do you like cakes?
Rory: Absolutely! My sweet tooth extends to all things with sugar. Although, I can't stand cakes with fruit in them, for some reason. I think there's something about the texture of dried fruit that I just don't like. But in general, yes, I do like cakes.
Maria: Do you like sweets more now compared to when you were a child?
Rory: Well, I think I liked them more when I was younger, since I wasn't aware of how bad they are for me and people in general. So it was kind of like an unadulterated joy to eat them all the time. And no, it's more like a guilty pleasure, because you know, you're enjoying it, but of course you shouldn't be because it's bad for you.
Maria: Have you ever tried to make sweets or cakes?
Rory: I did when I was a child. Though, I was never really any good at baking or confecting, if you will. I always preferred the eating over the making.
Maria: Do you eat cakes or sweets after your meals?
Rory: Sometimes... If it's a large event like a wedding, then you're usually obligated to order something more for dessert. Other than that, it doesn't happen very often. Actually, I wonder if this is a thing that's just with Scottish people, because it doesn't seem to happen in many other countries that you have desserts after big meals. So that's the thing...
Maria: What sweets are popular in your country?
Rory: Well, I think just about anything you care to name really. We've got Scottish tablet and toffee which are quite popular. Though, it's hard to say how much more than regular mass-produced sweets for America they are, like, Mars bars or Snickers, for example. So those are the ones that are from our country, and they're popular. But how popular I don't know.
M: Rory, thank you so much for your sweet answers. They were so sweet
R: Oh god, that was a terrible pun. You said my coincidences were bad.
M: Yes. The coincidence to this episode was really bad or very aware. Are you looking at or what are you looking at? Oh, it's a birthday cake for my friend. Let's talk about case.
R: Well, you know what, though? It is a coincidence. It's still a coincidence because soon it will be John's birthday. You know, John. And we did get him.
M: Hello, John!
R: Hello John, if you're listening, I'm talking about your cake. It was the best cake in the world. It was the most expensive cake in the world as well, because it had to have vegan ingredients in it, and you try making a cake out of coconut milk... It is ridiculously expensive. I think it was something like 5000 rubles. I don't know... but it was a lot.
M: A vegan cake... Yes, and John, you should know about the price of your cake. Okay? So you can appreciate it. John, now you know that your cake was ridiculously expensive. And you didn't even eat it.
R: So you know how cheap your friends are!
M: That they discuss the price of your cake on this podcast. Okay. Anyway, yeah, let's take a look at the answers and the lexis. We recorded an episode about sweets and cakes before, so make sure that you go...
M: Oh, yeah, something, like, ages ago. It was a very long time ago. Anyway, dear listeners, go to our archive. Go, maybe, one year back and find an episode about cakes and sweets, because now it's back. And in speaking part one, you can be asked questions about sweets and cakes. Because this is a fresh IELTS speaking part one topic. Okay? So... first of all sweets. Sweets - the same as candies?
R: Things that are sweet with lots of sugar in them.
M: Yes, sweets, right, and usually plural. So I enjoy sweets. It's, like, everything that is sweet. Also, you can say chocolates. That's again, chocolate candies, chocolate bars, everything that is with chocolate, you can call them chocolates. Alright, so yeah. And then cake. We have a cake, it's like a birthday cake. Right? And it's interesting that sometimes I can just say: "I don't like cake" without any articles, right? Is it true?
R: Yeah. Because you're talking about... well, in general.
M: Like, I like cake. I don't like cake.
R: I don't like this cake. Or I don't like cake with dried fruit. But then I'm specifying different information, so I don't need the article either.
M: And you said that you sometimes have sugar cravings.
R: Yes. Oh, sugar cravings. I think we talked about this before, but maybe it was for something different. That's just when you really, really want sugar. So you eat lots of it. So every week I have sugar cravings on a Friday, so I buy lots of chocolate. And I'm now sitting in my room surrounded by chocolate.
M: Yeah, it' like when you wanted really badly. Like, you're at home and then suddenly you feel this McDonald's craving. That's all you need to have McDonald's now and nothing can replace this craving, this McDonald's wish that you want to have. So yeah, what other cravings can we have?
R: I think the other ones are like for cigarettes when people are smoking or trying to give up smoking.
M: Yeah, so usually something, like, which is not healthy. You can't say: "Oh, I have this vegetable cravings". Alright, and then if you enjoy different sweets, you can say: "I've got a sweet tooth". Yeah?
R: Yes, absolutely. So sugar cravings are these specific times when you want lots of sugar, and having a sweet tooth means that you just like sugary things in general.
M: Yeah, you can say sugary things. So I love sugar. I love sugary things.
R: Do you know that sugar is like the only thing in your diet that you 100% do not need. You could live without it for your whole life.
M: Well, pretty much everything has sugar. Alright, even bread has sugar, ketchup has sugar. Did you know about freaking ketchup? Anyway, then you can say okay, I've got a sweet tooth. I love sugary things. If you don't like sugar, you go: "I can't stand cakes. I can't stand sweets".
R: Yes. So usually when it's the action, like, I can't stand eating or I can't stand doing something. So I can't stand + ing. But here it's just I can't stand and the word or the noun in this case. I can't stand cakes. I can't stand sweets. I can't stand stupid people.
M: Yeah, in that episode we recorded a long time ago about cakes. We discussed different types of cakes and names. So make sure you listen to that. So just go back in the app that you're using, just go back a couple of years and then find the episode. Listen to it. And you can say for example, I can't stand bla bla cakes. I can't stand cupcakes. I can't stand cakes with fruit in it.
R: But yes, we were talking about the texture, which is just how something feels on your tongue. Actually no, texture is how something feels. But in the context of food, the texture is how something feels on your tongue.
M: So if you Google I can't stand cakes. You'll have something interesting. I can't stand Birthday cake.
R: What kind of monster wrote that?
M: I don't know... Yeah. And then you can explain why you don't like this or that particular cake. Because of the texture, because it's sour, because the taste because the shape because of the price, you know? Yeah. Rory tell us, what is an unadulterated joy?
R: Unadulterated. It just means pure.
M: What kind of word is that?
R: Unadulterated? Actually, it's funny. We're talking about cakes. Because if you adulterate a product, it means that you add something. So hundreds of years ago, people used to make bread. And they would adulterate bread with sawdust from where they were cutting down trees. So there would be wood in your bread. It wasn't there because it was good for people it was there just because it added more volume to the bread. So that's what something is if it's adulterated. If it's unadulterated, then it means it's pure. It's not anything bad for you in it. So unadulterated joy just means it's, like, pure joy. There's nothing affecting the joy.
M: Oh, this is so strange. It has nothing to do with "adult".
M: So it doesn't mean that this joy, I can have only if I'm an adult, because it has this "adult" word in it.
R: No. Because you have, like, adultery, which is when you have an affair or you cheat on your partner. And that's like, ruining your relationship has nothing to do with being an adult. It has to do with like destroying the principle of something.
M: Wow. So it's like hospitable people, it doesn't mean something about hospitable, hospitable people, so like, friendly people. All right. Okay, interesting. And then we have a "guilty pleasure". So eating sweets could be a guilty pleasure.
R: Yeah. So that's like something that you enjoy, even though you know, you shouldn't. So I'm trying to think of another example. What's something that you enjoy that is bad for you?
M: Drinking whiskey? Drinking whiskey with your cornflakes for breakfast?
R: No, that's something that is always good. No negative consequences. That's being an alcoholic. That's not a guilty pleasure. That's like, something seriously wrong with you.
M: Maybe having a McDonald's once in a while. Could be my guilty pleasure.
R: That's a guilty pleasure. But if you have McDonald's every day, then you have like, chronic problems in your life? Probably.
M: Yes. So it's like my guilty pleasure. Or watch Netflix, for example.
R: Why is that a guilty pleasure? There's lots of cool stuff on Netflix.
M: No, if you kind of watch it once in a while, and it's something special to you like: "Ah, yes, it's my guilty pleasure". So if it is a guilty pleasure, do you feel guilty about it? Or you don't?
R: No. It's more to do with... you don't talk about it publicly.
M: Okay, it's a secret. Something that you don't tell everybody about?
R: Yeah, like watching trashy television if you're a very sophisticated person, there's no is it guilty pleasure, for example. It is a guilty pleasure. I don't do this, but I know people who do and they're very embarrassed about it.
M: Hmm. Interesting. So you can say like: "Oh, eating sweets is my guilty pleasure". Right. Then we can talk about baking and making cakes or sweets. And you've used the word confecting. Because the word is confectionery. So confectionery is the art of making confections, which means that food, rich in sugar, confections. All food, which is rich in sugar, and confectionery is the art.
R: So confecting is the verb! Here actually, to be honest with you, it's almost never used. So it's like a super band 9 word, because usually people confect the truth or confect lies. And that's all to do with like, trying to get away with being a criminal or something like that. So nowadays, it's got a very different meaning to what it used to have, which was talking about making sweets. But I just used it because like, we were talking about sweets, and it was fun.
M: Hmm, but what about this confectionery? Can you say like: "Oh, I'm not into confectionery"? Or "I don't like confectionary".
R: Well, you could say that. It's very unusual, though. You might just say like: "I'm not into sweet things", for example.
M: Yeah. Because it's a bit strange. If you say this confectionary thing.
R: Well, it used to be. I mean, you used to see a lot in supermarkets. I don't if you do any more, because almost no one uses complex words to describe things which is a bit sad.
M: And then when the examiner asks you about making sweets or cakes, you can say: "I prefer the eating over the making".
R: Yes. So you can use that for anything, though: "I prefer something over something else". I prefer watching sport over playing it. I prefer sleeping in bed over making the bed.
M: Yeah. And then when the examiner asks you about eating cakes or sweets after your meals, so after your meals, meaning after dinner, breakfast, lunch, we can talk about desserts. Oh, I think the episodes we recorded about sweet things was about desserts. So I prefer to order something for dessert. Double S. Dessert. Or you may say that I prefer fruit for dessert. Because something sweet that you eat after your meal, that means like, dessert, right?
M: And then popular sweets in your country. It's better if you know some names and types of these sweets. So Rory told us about Scottish tablet and toffee. So I'm googling Scottish tablet. Tablet. Like, computer like, a laptop? Yeah, kind of thing.
R: Well, no. I mean a tablet is... we've talked about this before, haven't we? It's just like, pure sugar. If you imagine sugar in a bar and nothing else, not even chocolates. That's what tablet is. It sounds really bad. And it is. It's very nice from time to time
M: To have pure sugar in your mouth. Yum, yum. Yeah, so in your country, you must have some traditional sweets, cakes, desserts, so make sure you know the names.
R: What's a traditional thing in Russia?
M: Honey cake. We have honey cake - Medovik. Then we have something like, chocolate covered milk based soufflé.
R: Oh, wow. That sounds like really hard to make.
M: So and then we have all these classic Russian candies. We just call them classic Russian candies. these little little things you know little sweets of all different kinds. So, yeah. Well, pancakes. We have pancakes, traditional Russian. So dear listener make sure that you do know some fancy names. If you don't know, then you can talk about mass produced sweets from the States: Snickers bars (we call them bars). What else do we have? M&Ms?
R: Oh, yeah. Oh my gosh, the way that Russian people talk about M&Ms is amazing. Because you say M AND MS, but people in the UK and America just say M&Ms.
M: M&Ms. Nah, it's boring. What did I say before?
R: You said M AND Ms? Yeah.
M: Oh, come on. Listen, you must have fallen asleep already. Right. So if you want to know more about sugar, again, listen to our episode on desserts, please just find them somewhere in the archive of our episodes. Like, maybe one year ago, two years ago, take a look. And also there's a good film, which is called "That film about sugar". It's an Australian film. Watch it. It's really cool. And it does give you a lot of vocabulary about health, about sugar. And you can enjoy Australian accent and this is cool for your writing. Not the accent but the vocabulary. Because some essays in IELTS are about health, about fast foods and unhealthy/healthy food. So you kill two birds with one sugary fat stone. So yeah, dear listener, thank you very much. Check out our premium episodes, and the link is in the description. Bye!
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