Some English food words are great fun because they sound a lot like the thing they are describing. Slurp, dribble, guzzle, drip and drizzle are good examples.
Other words are confusing because they have nothing to do with the food in question. Sweetbreads, for example are not sweet breads or pastry. They are a type of offal, a gland or pancreas from an animal (lamb, cow, pig) often served crumbed and fried.
Measurements create another challenge! There are big teaspoons and little teaspoons. Spoon and cup sizes can vary between countries - and families too! Some recipes are in imperial measures (pounds and ounces) and some are metric (grams).
In written recipes, and in conversations about preparing food, it is a good idea to check the basic measurements beforehand - and also which country the recipe is from. For example, one cup of milk may be 240mls in America and 250mls in Australia or Canada.
Confused? We recommend taking a quick peek online before starting any recipe and checking the measurements before starting. Here is a good example - Good to know
Methods of cooking as described in written instructions may require some further explanation for students. Simmer, saute, grill, season and boil all have quite specific meanings and in recipes can catch out beginners. This is where YouTube cooking demonstrations are good to watch to become familiar with the method words and to see the actions and the words used together. Here is a great example - YouTube
We've enjoyed using some simple baking recipes with our students - it's a great way to leave space for natural conversation in amongst teaching key instructions words. We've adjusted the recipes with English learners in mind, trying to keep the instructions simple and clear. You'll find them here. Feel free to use these in your own homes or classrooms, and let us know how it goes!