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Hi it’s Anne Marie with Speak Confident English. As you know, every Wednesday is Confident English Wednesday. It is the day of the week when you can go to Speak Confident English dot com and get my free weekly lessons. Most of the time, I include a video for you with those lessons. This past week, the topic was learning new vocabulary for talking about food and cooking more naturally in English. We used three different stories to do that, so I didn’t include a video. The focus was on reading.

Yesterday I got an email from [Tamila 00:00:41] in Azerbaijan. She asked if I could provide audio or video reading the stories so that you can hear the pronunciation. When you’re learning new vocabulary, not only is it useful to learn the meaning, but of course it’s helpful to know the pronunciation as well. Tamila, thank you for your email. I’m more than happy to do that. In the remainder of this video, I’ll read those three stories. You can read the stories as you listen so that you learn the new vocabulary, you know how to pronounce the words. Then after you watch this video, don’t forget to go to the end of the lessons and practice. This is your opportunity to share your own story and try using some of these new vocabulary words. There are already some fantastic examples there, so be sure to read those. Check them out and then provide your own story.

Let’s get started with story number one, which was about a woman named Joanne who is obsessed with cooking.

In her story, Joanne says: “That’s all I think about. Can someone just start paying me to think about food, look at recipes, and just cook all day so I can quit my job? Okay, I’m joking. I really do love food, cooking is my hobby and I think I’m pretty good at it. My friends and I have a Saturday supper club twice a month. They all come over for a three or four course dinner. Yep, that’s right. Appetizers, salads, the main course, side dishes, and desserts. I do it all. My job is the menu and food, and the cooking of course. Their job is to bring drinks and do all the clean up. Not a bad trade. The two best things you could ever say to me are: My mouth is watering, when can we eat? Or, can I have seconds? Those are the two best compliments for any cook, I think.

What do I like to cook? Everything really. I have a massive collection of cook books, so I make something different all the time. One week it’s typical American or Californian food, the next it’s Moroccan or Georgian cuisine, and the next it’s Afghan or Mexican. [inaudible 00:02:55] It was hot so it was perfect for grilling or something light like fish. Now it’s fall, so I’m craving stews and warm comfort foods.

My supper club Saturdays are really perfect. I get the mornings to myself, to shop at the market and pick up whatever produce is seasonal. Then I cook all day while listening to my favorite podcast or music. Then my friends arrive ready to talk, laugh, and eat.”

Now for story number two about a woman with four kids at home, who has a lot to do. She also works, so let’s learn what her ideas of food and cooking are.

“Let’s be honest, I work part time. I have four kids. I just can’t cook huge, wonderful creative meals every night. I mean, I still cook and it’s still healthy, but there isn’t a lot of variety. I tend to make the same things every week because I know what the kids like, and it’s easy. I do a lot of one pot meals. Every Sunday, I create a menu for the week. I even print it and put it on the fridge so everyone knows what the dinner plan is for the week. Then I go grocery shopping one time to get everything I need for the week. You should see how long my grocery list is. I have to get all the fruits and veggies, plus poultry, beef, the dry goods, spices, after school snacks for the kids, and what ever else we need. Laundry detergents, soap, glue, the list never ends.

I try to make one special meal for each of my kids. They all have such different tastes. My oldest loves veggies, even Brussels sprouts. He would happy with salads every night. I think he may become a vegetarian. My daughter is a bit of a fussy eater. The one thing she loves are tacos, so I make those every week. We do have one rule at dinner, you have to try at least one bite of everything. I’m hoping she’ll love to learn some new foods. My favorite meal of the week? What ever we have on Fridays, those are our take out nights. Pizza, Chinese food, what ever the kids want. Fridays mean no cooking, no dishes, no stress.”

Our final story, a woman named Amy who doesn’t really cook very much, but when you talk about food she automatically thinks about the holidays.

“I don’t really think about food that much. I’m not one of those people who loves to cook or take photos of food. I spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. Maybe some people think I’m not healthy because I don’t cook, but I do try to eat a balanced diet not just processed food. When I think of food, I really think of the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. For my family, the holidays are the only time of year when we all get together. My grandparents, my aunt and uncles, my cousins, everyone. Of course, there’s so much food. We have feasts. My dad’s side of the family is Italian, so there’s always some Italian influence on the dishes we eat, which is a little weird at Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about foods that are American like roast turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, cranberries.

We just eat everything and because there are so many of us, our holiday meals are pot lucks. Everyone brings something. It’s like an all you can eat buffet. It’s a dangerous time of year for me because I have a serious sweet tooth. All the cakes and cookies, and desserts, it’s too much. I feel like I can just look at a dessert and gain five pounds. After the holidays, I always have to watch what I eat and spend more time in the gym.

I guess the holidays are the only time of year I really cook. I have one specialty and I have to cook it every year for Thanksgiving, the stuffing. It takes all day to prepare because I do it from scratch. I dice the onions, chop the celery and carrots, cut up the bread into small pieces, get everything together. Then I cook it slowly in the oven. I add fennel and all kinds of different things to make my recipe. Maybe that’s why everyone likes it.”

There you go, our three stories with the new vocabulary and now pronunciation so that you can practice. Be sure that you practice. Go to the end of the lesson and add your story with some of these new vocabulary words so that you can add them to your active vocabulary, and use them the next time you’re talking about food or cooking in English. Thank you so much for joining me, and I’ll see you next Wednesday.

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