The language of cooking
VANESSA CLARK nimmt Sie mit auf eine kulinarische Reise durch die englischsprachige Welt. Kochen Sie mit – und üben Sie ganz nebenbei den einschlägigen Wortschatz.
Using a wonderful selection of recipes, Vanessa Clark introduces you to the words and expressions you need to be able to talk about cooking in English.
After reading all the food-related stories in this issue of Spotlight, are you ready to cook? Great! Recipes have a language all their own, so if you’re going to use English-language recipes, you might like a little help with some of the most common terms used in them.
Let us take you on a three-course culinary tour of the English-speaking world, with practical tips and language activities at each stop.
A starter from the UK
Potted shrimps are a simple, traditional dish from Lancashire and other coastal areas in the north of England, where the small brown shrimps are caught. Shrimps are like small prawns. “Potted” means that the shrimps are set in butter. Originally, this was a way of preserving shrimps (and other seafood), before the days of refrigeration.
For our super-simple recipe, you can use supermarket prawns in place of the traditional shrimps. Buy prawns that are already cooked and peeled, ready to use. Frozen prawns must be thawed before using. This dish will keep well in the fridge.
150 g unsalted butter juice of ¼ lemon a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg a pinch of cayenne pepper
200 g cooked shrimps or prawns
Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat, or in the microwave.
Add the lemon juice and spices. Season to taste.
Put the shrimps or prawns into individual ramekin dishes. Pour the melted butter over them.
Chill until the butter is set.
Serve with fresh bread. Language tip
The instruction “season to taste” means “add as much salt and pepper as you like”. For a “pinch” of salt or pepper, use your finger and thumb to measure a small amount.
1. Hot and cold
Most recipes involve making food hotter or colder. Match the instructions (A–G) to the correct meanings (1–7).
A. bring to the boil B. simmer
1. Put the food in the fridge.
2. Heat a solid so that it becomes soft and then a liquid.
3. Put the food in the freezer so that it reaches a temperature below zero. 4. Leave a liquid in a cool place so that it turns into a solid.
5. Heat water to 100 degrees Celsius. 6. Take the food out of the freezer a few hours before you need it.
7. Keep water boiling for a long time, but gently.
A main course from Canada
Poutine is a dish from the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec. It’s a very basic dish of French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy. Legend says that it was invented in 1957, when a diner asked a chef to put cheese curds on to his fries. The chef protested with “Ça va faire une maudite poutine!” (“That’ll be a damned awful mess!”), but he made it anyway — and poutine was invented. It’s now served everywhere in Canada, including at Mcdonald’s.
Poutine has three elements: fries, curd cheese and gravy.
Prepare your gravy. In Germany, the nearest equivalent is to buy Bratensaft or Bratensoße in powder form and make it up according to the packet instructions.
Prepare your fries. You can make your own fries in the classic way by peeling and cutting potatoes and then deepfrying them; or you can cheat by using oven fries.
Prepare your cheese. As curd cheese isn’t easily available in Germany, we suggest that you use mozzarella instead. Allow one ball per person. When everything is hot and ready, assemble the dish in individual portions. Tear the mozzarella and arrange over the fries. Pour on the gravy. Et voilà!
2. Take a potato...
What can you do with a potato? Rearrange the letters to make the English instructions.
SEILC _____________________________________ C. würfeln
A dessert from the US
November is the month of Thanksgiving, when American families come together around the table to celebrate. So, we’re going to finish our culinary trip around the English-speaking world with a taste of Thanksgiving — a slice of pumpkin pie. Our recipe uses ready-made pastry from the supermarket to make it as simple as possible — or, as the idiom goes, to make it “as easy as pie”.
350 g ready-made pastry
750 g pumpkin, peeled and chopped 150 g caster sugar a pinch of salt
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
25 g butter, melted
175 ml milk
For the pastry case:
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface.
Line a 20-cm pie tin with the pastry. Chill for 30 minutes.
Bake the case “blind” (i.e. empty) for 20 minutes at 190 degrees Celsius. Use a layer of dried beans to stop the pastry rising up during baking.
For the filling:
Place the pumpkin in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil.
Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until soft.
Drain (let the water out) and allow the pumpkin to cool.
Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve (or use a blender) to make a puree.
Add the caster sugar, salt, spices, beaten eggs, melted butter and milk. Stir to combine.
Pour the filling into the pastry case. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35–40 minutes, until the filling has set.
3. Beat it!
Fill in the missing letters to make the verbs in these instructions from dessert recipes. Tip: All of the words can be found in our pumpkin pie recipe.
A. B __ __ t the eggs.
B. A __ d the sugar.
C. S __ __ r the ingredients to combine them.
D. R __ __ l out the pastry.
E. L __ __ e a pie tin with the pastry. F. P __ __ r the mix into the pastry case.
If you enjoy baking pies and other sweet treats, you’ll know that there are different sorts of sugar. Match the names of the different sugars to their descriptions.
A. granulated sugar B. caster sugar
(N. Am.: finely granulated sugar) C. demerara sugar
(N. Am.: light brown cane sugar) D. icing sugar (N. Am.: powdered sugar)
1. A very fine white powder — for decorating cakes.
2. The “normal” sugar we use every day — for tea and coffee, and for most sweet recipes.
3. A little finer than “normal” sugar — for light cakes and meringues. 4. A brown sugar, often with large crystals.