Group Discussion: Cooking, Food, Eating and Drinks!

Hello and thank you for checking out the Start Gate English blog!

Every week on Monday at 3pm we have a one-hour group discussion on a different topic. This class is open to any and all students, but recommended for intermediate and advanced. We have 2-4 students in each class. The teacher asks questions and discusses the answers with the students, and students can ask questions to each other (and the teacher, too!). You are welcome to bring a dictionary or ask the teacher if you need help. One lesson is 1500-2500 yen, depending on how many tickets you buy. If you are interested, please check out the website or contact me directly. If you are not available on Monday at 3pm, but would like to join, please tell me your available days and times and I will be happy to set up another class for you!

On to the discussion!

First, here is the lexical set (a group of words and expressions necessary for the discussion):

Cooking, Drinks, Eating and Food Lexical Set:
























Additional Expressions

Eat out

Eat at home

What kind of N…?

Place to V (O)

N = noun

V = verb

O = object

Now, here are the questions and answers:

1.  Do you like eating?  What do you like about it?

The students stated that they liked that it’s social and relaxing.

2. What kind of food do you like?

The students like Japanese food.  One student said when he was younger he liked meat more than he does now, but now he prefers lighter food, like vegetables.  They also like pasta and Chinese food.

3. Do you drink tea?  Coffee?  How often?

The students drink tea and coffee, and they drink it almost every day!  One student also drinks vegetable juice almost every day, and another drinks tomato juice almost every day!

4. Do you prefer eating at home or eating out?  Why?

The students preferred eating at home.  One student said it’s easy to cook his favorite food (Nabe) at home.  But they eat out sometimes.

5. What kind of restaurants do you like to eat out at?

One student said he eats out at yakiniku restaurants, another student said he often goes to Japanese and pasta restaurants.  They don’t particularly like fast food, but they eat that kind of food sometimes because it’s convenient.

6. Do you have a favorite place to eat?  To drink?

One student’s favorite place to eat is at a sushi restaurant near his house.  He loves sushi!  It’s one of his favorite foods.  Another student said his favorite place to eat is at a cafe near his house that only serves dinner three days a week.  They make original, home-cooked dinners there.  One student was careful to ask if I meant to drink “alcohol”; the question was “Do you have a favorite place to drink?”  If that question does not have an object, it is fair to assume the speaker is talking about drinks!  One student prefers to drink at home.  One likes cafes in general, but doesn’t like Starbucks!  He thinks McDonald’s cafe is better than Starbucks coffee!

7.  Are you a good cook?

One student enjoys cooking, so he said yes.  One said he wasn’t really.  The student who is a good student cooks things with eggs a lot.

8. Do you or did you always eat dinner with your family?

The students all have children who are grown up, but one of them has a daughter who still lives with him so they still eat dinner together every night.  The students all said they used to dinner eat together every night with their family.  One student commented that Japan used to be an agricultural society, so it was very common for families to eat dinner together every night, but nowadays Japan is an industrial society, so a lot of people work late and don’t eat dinner together every night.

9. Do you ever skip meals?

One student said no, never.  One student said he skips lunch sometimes because he has to take house calls sometimes (for work) and he doesn’t have time or he forgets to eat.  He says sometimes he doesn’t even realize that he’s hungry!

10. Are there any foods that you liked as a child but you don’t eat now?  Are there any foods you didn’t like as a child but you eat now?

One student said he doesn’t eat candy any more, but another student said he still loves candy!  One student said he didn’t like tofu as a child, but he likes it now.  Another student said he didn’t like fish, but now he does.

11. Do you read the nutritional information on the food you buy?

One student said he reads the ingredients, but not the nutritional information.   Another student said he’s trying to avoid carbohydrates so he reads the nutritional information.

12. Some food products have artificial nutrients or nutrition.  What do you think of that?

The students thought it was less healthy, but one student said that it’s really important for some people.  For example, some people take supplements because they have allergies.

In the end, one student asked another student why he avoided carbohydrates.  He said he avoids carbohydrates because people in ancient times mostly ate meat.  We started eat carbohydrates after we invented agriculture, so it’s not as natural.

That’s it!

Again, we have these discussion groups every Monday at 3pm, and anybody is welcome to join!  If you would like to join, but aren’t available on Monday at 3pm, please contact me! Next week’s topic will be Food, Eating and Cooking!  Hope to see you there!

New vocabulary used during the lesson:

Be in the same boat (idiom): 境遇・状況・状態を共になる

– be in the same or similar situation/circumstances.

Ex: I’d like to lend you some money, but I’m in the same boat as you: I don’t have any money, either!

Be (not) particular (about N):こだわりが強い、好みがやかましい「こだわりがない」

– fussy, difficult to please.

Ex: She’s very particular about music:  She only listens to very famous J-pop singers.

Edible (adj): 食べられる

– something that can be eaten; something that was made to be eaten

Opposite: inedible

Ex: Is this yogurt still edible?  It smells really strange.

Hand-cooked (adj): 手作りの

– something that someone cooks by themselves.

Ex: Did you like the food?  It was hand-cooked (by the chef).

Tuck into (phrasal verb): 寛大に食べる

– eat in an enjoyable way

Ex: After a hard day of work, I like to tuck into a good meal.

Vegetable juice (N): 野菜ジュース

– a drink made of mostly or only vegetables

Ex: I like eating vegetables, but I don’t like drinking vegetable juice.

  • In English, fish, seafood and chicken are kinds of meat!  Meat = beef, chicken, fish, shellfish, crab, pork, etc.
  • In English, seafood refers to any animal that lives in the water, not vegetables.  So shrimp is seafood, but seaweed is not seafood!
  • We don’t “take” food or drinks in English, we eat or have food or we drink or have drinks.
  • There are various places to eat and drink.  Some places to eat include restaurants, cafes and at home!  Some place to drink include cafes or bars.  We use the expression place to with a verb to indicate that there are various places where the action could happen.
  • Remember, hand-made refers to inedible products, like plates or toys, but hand-cooked refers to edible products, like cakes or salads.

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