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Food, drink and memories

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Nuala Nuala | 12:36 UK time, Friday, 19 March 2010

Hi Emilio,

Thanks for your latest posting. Your dishes all looked mouth-watering. As a pescatarian, I thought the prawns were delicious looking. They really got my taste-buds going.

It must have been very exciting meeting a celebrity TV chef. Cookery programmes are very popular here in the UK too. One of the longest running ones is called Ready, Steady, Cook. I wonder if you have a version of it in Spain. In the programme, two teams of two people (usually a celebrity and a chef) are given a bag of ingredients and 20 minutes to make a meal. The ingredients are often not ones you'd usually think of as going together so the chefs have to come up with some pretty weird and wonderful dishes.


Then the audience holds up cards (red tomatoes or green peppers) to show which of the two dishes they think should be the winner.


The programme is on in the late afternoon, just the time when people at home are thinking about what to make for their evening meal. Whenever I see it, it always inspires me to head for the kitchen, to try to rustle up something in a flash. Needless to say, my creations are never quite as spectacular as the dishes on the telly.

If I was a guest on Ready, Steady Cook, I'd bring scallops, asparagus, rhubarb, ginger and dark chocolate for my five ingredients. What meal would you whip up for me if you were the chef on Ready, Steady, Cook and faced with those ingredients?

Now, turning to the English language aspects of your posting, I thought we'd look at spelling, a few vocabulary items today and one wee bit of punctuation.

A few words, although easy to understand, weren't quite spelled correctly. For example:
maravillous and excelent

And I see that ICT fan has already pointed out a few others to you already.

1. There are two words which are very similar looking but which have quite different meaning - tasteful and tasty. Tasteful means attractive; something that's chosen because it has style and quality. Tasty is a word we use about food, which means it tastes nice. Here are the words in context:

The cakes were so tasty I couldn't resist. I had two!
She bought a huge house and decorated it in a very tasteful way. All the furniture was antique and there wasn't a gold tap anywhere in sight!

2. We talk about programmes being on a TV channel, rather than in it. So we'd say:

Arguiñano has a daily TV programme on a Spanish channel

3. You used the verb know a few times
we knew to Igor
we knew to Karlos Arguiñano

But in English we say be introduced to or meet rather than know to. We use be introduced to the first time we meet someone and meet for any meetings after that first introduction.

4. A word you used a couple of times was gastronomy. It's not a word that we use often in English. We tend to use phrases like food culture, food heritage or use another word from the gastronomy family, for example, gastronomic or gastro. When I followed your link to the New York and Washington article, I saw this sentence to describe the festival, which uses gastronomic well.

Spain will visit New York and Washington D.C. for a gastronomic celebration

I'd probably rewrite this sentence from your blog:

Spain has a great gastronomy featured for its health benefits and fresh ingredients, better know as Mediterranean diet.

Spain is famous for its gastronomy. Our Mediterranean diet is well-known for its use of fresh foods and healthy ingredients like olive oil.

A feature of Spanish punctuation that we don't have in English is the question mark before and after a question. In English, we just use one at the end of the question.

So we'd say:

Which is your favourite food?

rather than:
¿Which is your favourite food?

And before I sign off let me answer that question about my favourite food. I can't say there's just one type of food I like best. I'm an equal opportunity eater (some might say just greedy). But if I had to come up with a prisoner's last meal, I'd want a combination of some hot, spicy Asian food, coupled with my favourite drink from childhood - it didn't have a name, so I'm going to call it Grandma's Concoction.

My grandma used to create this drink whenever my sister and I visited her. I should say, that I come from the west coast of Scotland - where people have a very sweet tooth. Grandma would fill a huge glass with a sweet, fizzy drink called American Cream Soda, and to that she'd add a big scoop of vanilla ice-cream. The trick was to drink some of it quickly before the fizz and bubbles spilled out over the top of the glass, when the ice-cream was added, but not so fast that the whole delicious drink would all be gone too quickly. A fine balance indeed!

That's all for now. No homework today. Have a good weekend,


mouth-watering - delicious
pescatarian - someone who follows a vegetarian diet but who also eats seafood
the longest running - a play or TV or radio show that's been continuing for a long time
a version - a type
ingredients - components of a type of food or of a meal
inspires - makes you want to do something
head for - go to
rustle up - make something quickly, usually a meal from the food that is available
in a flash - very quickly
telly - informal for TV
wee - Scottish English for small
a prisoner's last meal - final meal a prisoner is given before s/he is executed
concoction - mixture
sweet tooth - (always singular) If you have a sweet tooth it means you like sugary, sweet food
scoop - large spoon used for digging out and serving food such as ice-cream or mashed potatoes


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Nuala,
    Thank you for talking about "Cookery programmes", teaching us the meaing of "tasty" and "tastful" and telling us your favourite food's story.
    Best regard,

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Nuala,

    Thank you for posting the comment, I have learnt a lot of points of English grammar from it. Hopefully receiving more comments from you in the future.



  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Nuala,

    After a long time I have come this site to learn from you. I read your blog in the after noon. I am really hungry to have a lunch. Ready, steady, cook is really a mouth watering. What did you prepare with all the ingredients you bought? Have ever you tasted any of the Indian food? You know we have different region. Each region has different types of food items. The preparation is different. Taste is different. Each differ the choice of ingredients. I actually live in interior South India. Our people like spicy food. It is really hot. Now a days T.V channels allot special time every day for cookery. House wives watch this programme and prepare different kinds of dishes. Some time I also want to watch and programme and try some items. I didn’t try any of the items given in the BBC recipes.

  • Comment number 4.

    Thanks Nuala,

    No, in Spain we haven't any TV programme like "Ready, Steady, Cook" but it seems very funny!.

    I liked to know about your Grandma's concoction, I have sweet tooth as well so I am sure I'd enjoy with your favourite drink too.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Nuala and everyone,

    It is my first time writing in this blog, or any-other English Learning blogs.
    Since i consider that i have to improve my writing skills, i decided to write as much as i can.

    Cooking is not something that i enjoy doing. I usually prepare something that requires less time and has no difficulties on mixing the ingredients.
    There are lots of TV shows about cooking. There is a TV show similar with the one described above, where celebrities are invited to prepare something.

    As for me, i have a sweet tooth too.


  • Comment number 6.

    Hi, Nuala! Thanks. I learned many vocabulary and grammar in your blog. Listening,writing and speaking are difficult for me. I intend writing constantly as I can. Following the blog is the best what happens to me lately. Thank you for teaching so well!

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Nuala,

    I like this topic about food. I have almost finished my course of studies and I would like to improve my writing skills here. In Germany cookery programmes are very popular. So in the evening you could watch this on TV. I like the delicious dishes, which they are cooking. It is inspiring me, but for myself I prefer to get some fast food, because it is more comfortable. Regards Jürgen


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