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Paul Sparks, Online Business English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Grade 1 English Conversation Lessons at Xiangtan Normal University...





The purpose of this lesson is to increase the students knowledge and understanding of food related vocabulary through debate and discussion.


British Food & Drink
In many European countries it is normal to have a long break in the middle of the day when all members of the family return to their houses to eat together. This is not very common in Britain because normally it is a long way from the place of work or school to the home. Some British people tend to have a big breakfast before they go to work and the meal at midday is not spent with the members of the family but with workmates or schoolmates. Lunch is normally eaten between 12.00 midday and 1pm or 1pm to 2pm. Most people finish work at 5pm or 6pm. It often takes at least an hour to get home from the school or workplace so people tend to eat their evening meal or "dinner" between 6pm and 9pm. 

Although everyone in Britain understands that "breakfast" is the first meal of the day. There is a lot of confusion about the words for other meals such as "dinner, lunch, tea, high tea , elevenses, brunch, supper" and if you ask a British person what these words mean, most of them will give you a different answer according to what part of the country they are from or from what social class they are from. 

  • Breakfast (Typically between 7am - 9am)
  • Mid-Morning Snack (10am or 11am)
  • Lunch (12:00 midday - 1pm or 1pm - 2pm)
  • Afternoon Break (About 3pm)
  • Dinner (Typically between 6pm to 9pm)
  • Supper (Before Bed)
Many British people do not have breakfast, they prefer to have a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of milk, then have a morning snack when they are at work. The traditional English breakfast is a fried meal of eggs, bacon and sausages. Most people now have either breakfast cereal or toast with jam or marmalade. The most common cereal is cornflakes. They are made with different grains such as corn, wheat, oats etc. If you go to a British supermarket you will see that there are many types of cereals available. In Scotland many people eat "porridge" or boiled oats. Porridge is very heavy but in the winter it will keep you warm on your way to school. Because most schools open at 9am children will normally have breakfast at around 8am, depending upon their parents work schedules.

Mid Morning Snack
Workers in the UK are entitled to a morning break under the British employment laws. The break is normally around 20 minutes. Most people will have a cup of tea or coffee, cola or Pepsi etc. with biscuits, crisps, chocolate bars etc. However most employers will allow workers to have unlimited coffee or tea breaks throughout the day whilst they work. The common name for the morning break is "10 o'clocks" or "Elevensees".

Workers in the UK are entitled to a one hour lunch break. This is typically either 12:00 midday until 1pm, or 1pm until 2pm. Lunch is normally a snack, such as sandwiches or microwave food, but may be a full meal. Elderly people tend to have their biggest meal at lunchtime and a lighter meal in the evening. Schools provide a meal for the students at lunch time. Many children and some workers are given a "packed lunch" to eat for your midday meal. Some factories and schools have canteens where you can eat but the packed lunch is the most common thing to eat. A packed lunch normally consist of some sandwiches, a packet of crisps, an apple and a can of something to drink, for example, coca-cola. The contents are kept in a plastic container and you take it with you when you go to school or work. The quality of the packed lunch can vary from terrible to very good, it all depends on who makes it. A popular food to eat at lunchtime which is easy to prepare are "Baked Beans" which are beans cooked in a tomato sauce. They come in cans and are normally eaten on toast. The British are very fond of baked beans. 

Afternoon Break
Mid afternoon workers will have another break, with a cup of tea or coffee, or drinks of cola, Pepsi etc.

The meal in the evening is normally called Dinner, but may also be referred to as Tea. Also some people will call the meal at lunchtime "Dinner" if it is the biggest meal of the day. The evening meal can be any time after 4pm, but is usually between 6pm and 9pm. Some families may eat this meal together, however many families now eat the meal in front of the television rather than sitting at a table. Things are changing and most British people eat meals from many different countries for example spaghetti or curry. In fact you could even say that the British don't eat much British food. However the most typical thing to eat for dinner is "meat and two veg". This consists of a piece of meat accompanied by two different boiled vegetables. This is covered with "gravy" which is a sauce made with the juice that was obtained when the meat was cooked. One of the vegetables is almost always potatoes. The British eat a lot of potatoes. At the end of dinner there is normally a pudding or dessert, such as apple pie, ice cream or trifle.

A light snack before bed, normally only for elderly people, it was traditional in Britain a number of years ago to eat supper.

British people eat a lot of food in between meals, they will have many snacks, including chocolate, crisps, soft drinks, tea, coffee, cakes, biscuits etc. at any time of the day or night. Many people also enjoy a midnight feast - they go to bed, then get up again for food.

On Sundays many people don't have to work so they take the opportunity eat together with their family. Sunday lunch is usually the best meal of the week and many of the meals which are considered typically British are eaten for Sunday lunch. For example roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Yorkshire pudding is a batter made with flour, eggs and milk and cooked in the oven. This is most often eaten with roast beef for Sunday lunch.

Pub Food
A Ploughman's Lunch is a very popular thing to eat if you go to eat in a "pub" at midday. It normally consists of a bread roll with a piece of cheese and a pickled onion. British cheeses are very good. The most famous is Cheddar. Most of the cheeses are named after the region from where they come from e.g.. Red Leicester, Cheshire etc. There is a very good British blue cheese called Stilton although it can be rather expensive. 

Fast Food / Takeaways

The "Fish 'n' Chip" shop
A fish and chip shop (fish 'n' chips) is a shop which cooks fried potatoes called chips. They are usually accompanied by fish, pies, mushy peas, etc. The chips are wrapped in old newspaper. They often ask if you want salt and vinegar to be sprinkled over your chips. It is traditional to eat fish and chips on a Friday night, but fish and chips are common throughout the week. People normally go to a fish and chip shop to buy the food, then take it home to eat.

Like much of the food in Britain, Pizza comes from another country. Pizza is traditionally from Italy, however the food has now become very popular in the UK. You can eat pizza in a restaurant or take it home to eat, you can also have pizza delivered to your home if you have a local delivery shop.

Curry is now the most popular food in the UK. It is originally from India, there are many Indian restaurants in the UK, some where you can stay and eat, and others which serve takeaway food. It is normally served with rice. Curry can be a very hot and spicy food, but there are different types of curry.

Chinese Food
As well as Indian food, the UK has many Chinese restaurants and takeaways. Chinese food is very popular with British people. However not many British people can use chopsticks, they prefer to eat from a plate with a knife and fork.

A pie is some food surrounded by pastry (pastry is a mixture of flour and butter). It is normally baked in the oven. The content of the pie can be sweet or savory. Typical examples of pies are "steak and kidney pie" or "apple pie". There are variations of the pie such as Cornish pasties. Pasties were originally invented so that working men could take their food to work with them. Someone told me that miners in the Cornish tin mines invented the Cornish pasty. I suppose that if you work in a mine it is too much trouble to come to the surface to have lunch.

Special Meals

Turkey, Christmas Pudding, Christmas Cake.

Pancake Day
Pancakes are made from Flour, milk and eggs, they are eaten with lemon and sugar or jam.

Beer is served in pint glasses. This picture shows Guinness, the most famous Irish beer, a very dark colour, nearly black. People in the UK drink a lot of tea and coffee, most people will put milk and sugar into their tea and coffee.


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