Episode 11

Episode 11

Tess and Ravi discuss something British that people think isn't much good. Adam and Rob read your comments about your jobs.


Adam and Rob

Both: Hello!

Adam: Welcome to episode 11 of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts.

Rob: You’re going to hear from Tess and Ravi again today. They’re talking about something British that lots of people around the world think is ‘bad’.

Adam: Any idea what it might be? You’ll find out in a moment.

Rob: But first, let’s take a look at your comments. We heard Carolina complaining about her job and we asked you about your jobs.

Adam: And we got some really interesting responses. Umi from Indonesia sent us this message:

It's hard to say whether I like my job or not. I'm working as a domestic helper in Hong Kong. My duty is to look after two children, helping with their school work if necessary and to do all the household chores. Sometimes I like my job because it has no real pressure. I don't like my job because it's not a professional job, most of the time others look down on us and I've no freedom at all because I have to live with my employer and I work 6 days a week. I also enjoy it because my employer lets me study, that's why I keep studying from one course to another. I aim to take an online degree. Never lose hope, it’s only a stepping stone for a better future.

Rob: Well, we definitely wish you luck. That’s a really well-written post, so we can see that your English practice is working.

Adam: Yeah. Rony works in an import/export company in Egypt and loves it although it’s sometimes boring. Rony’s advice is that ‘at the end we have to love what we do until we do what we love’.

Rob: Alexman is also in Egypt and he does two jobs!

I work in two jobs in one, it's somehow like the shampoo – 2in1! I am a customer service agent and also a cashier at the same time. I work a full time shift, my day starts at 9AM and ends at 9PM. I will never forget one day after finishing my work I looked at my report to find out that I'd served 360 customers in a day.

Adam: 360 customers!

Rob: In one day!

Adam: Thanks to all of you who commented. I’m happy to hear that you so many of you seem to like your jobs. I wonder how many of you use English in your work.

Rob: Maybe that’s why you’re learning English. Why not let us know? Remember that the address for your comments is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish and you can find us on Facebook too – look for ‘Elementary Podcasts’.

Adam: Now, let’s hear from Tess and Ravi. We’ve already told you that they’re going to talk about something British that lots of people think isn’t very good. Any idea what it is? Let’s find out.


Tess and Ravi

Ravi: Hello again, everyone. I’m Ravi.

Tess: And I’m Tess and once again we’re going to talk about something you think you know about Britain.

Ravi: We asked lots of our listeners what they think about when they think about Britain. They said things like ‘drinking tea’, ‘queuing’, ‘Big Ben’, ‘bad weather’ and lots of people mentioned another thing they think is bad – any ideas, Tess?

Tess: Something else that’s bad in Britain? Erm… what?

Ravi: British food. Lots of people think that the food in Britain is terrible. And, do you know what, Tess? I can understand why people think that.

Tess: Really? I think it’s a bit unfair. I mean, what is British food anyway? What do you mean by British food?

Ravi: Well, I don’t know... erm… fish and chips, roast beef, sausage and mash…

Tess: It’s difficult isn’t it, to think of what British food is exactly, but I’m sure you can think of lots of examples of French dishes or Italian or Chinese or Indian dishes, of course.

Ravi: Yeah, lots of ‘em.

Tess: And it’s definitely true that we don’t have the same tradition of food and cooking here in Britain that lots of other countries – France, Italy, China – have.

Ravi: Right.

Tess: But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well in Britain. I think one of the best things about living in London is how many fantastic different types of food you can eat. You can eat food from anywhere in the world in London, can’t you? Greek, Lebanese, Japanese, Polish …

Ravi: Hey, I had a fantastic Thai meal on Saturday, Tess, I’ll have to take you to this restaurant.

Tess: Thai food, mmm. I’d forgotten that one. There are just so many different great types of food to eat in London.

Ravi: It’s not just London, Tess. Other places have loads of different restaurants too. There are some brilliant Brazilian restaurants in Manchester.

Tess: That’s true. Even really small places will probably have a Chinese restaurant and an Indian or Pakistani restaurant. I don’t know about you but I hardly ever eat ‘British’ food.

Ravi: Me neither.

Tess: That’s restaurants, though. My Spanish friend told me that she came here when she was a teenager and stayed with a British family and the food was terrible. She said they ate frozen meals from the freezer every night and it was just horrible.

Ravi: It’s awful when you go to someone’s house and the food is really, really bad and you have to eat it. But I don’t think everybody eats really badly at home, do they?

Tess: I think cooking has never been more popular. Just look at all the cookery programmes on TV.

Ravi: There are hundreds of cookery programmes on TV. Terrible. I never watch them.

Tess: You should. You might learn something. It’s true, though, there are lots and lots of cooking programmes on TV and lots of famous chefs. People are really interested in cooking, don’t you think?

Ravi: I suppose so. They’re not really cooking British food, though, are they?

Tess: They are sometimes. They’re cooking all kinds of food. Anyway, I think that’s what we have to say about British food. We don’t have the same kind of food traditions as other places, but you can eat really well here. Agreed?

Ravi: Agreed.


Adam and Rob

Adam: So what do you think, Rob? Is British food really bad? 

Rob: Well, I’m not sure about British food, but I think eating in Britain is fantastic. There’s so much variety. You can find Italian restaurants, Thai restaurants, Chinese restaurants, restaurants from lots of different countries.

Adam: Yeah, even in quite small towns.

Rob: But if I go to Italy, for example, I only really find Italian restaurants. I’m not sure about British food, though.

Adam: Well, I think that one area that Britain does really well is puddings and desserts. There are so many great crumbles and puddings and afters and pies, they’re all delicious.

Rob: Yeah, sticky toffee pudding!

Adam: Yummy!

Rob: As usual, we’d like to hear what you think. Have you ever tried British food? What did you think of it? Or even if you haven’t tried it; what do you think British food is?

Adam: And what about eating out in your country? What sort of restaurants do you have? What’s your favourite cuisine? Why? You can leave your comments at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish

Rob: So, Tess and Ravi said that although British food might not be the best in the world, it’s possible to eat very well in Britain. And that’s what I want to take a look at next. Listen again to something Tess and Ravi said:

Tess: But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat well in Britain.

Ravi: It’s awful when you go to someone’s house and the food is really, really bad and you have to eat it. But I don’t think everybody eats really badly at home, do they?

Tess said that it doesn’t mean you can’t eat well in Britain and Ravi said he doesn’t think everyone eats badly. ‘Well’ and ‘badly’ are…

Adam: …adverbs! ‘Well’ is the adverb, ‘good’ is the adjective. And remember that an adjective describes a noun and an adverb describes a verb. So, we’d say ‘you speak very good English’, but ‘you speak English very well’.

Rob: The adjective ‘good’, describes the noun, ‘English’, and the adverb ‘well’ describes the verb ‘speak’. You see?

Adam: We’ve put some exercises on the website to help you with adverbs and adjectives.

Rob: And there are also some exercises about another thing you heard. Listen to this bit again:

Tess: It’s difficult, isn’t it, to think of what British food is, exactly, but I’m sure you can think of lots of examples of French dishes or Italian or Chinese or Indian dishes, of course.

Ravi: Yeah, lots of ‘em.

Tess: And it’s definitely true that we don’t have the same tradition of food and cooking here in Britain that lots of other countries – France, Italy, China – have.

Ravi: Right.

Adam: We heard countries – France, Italy, China – and the adjectives to describe things or people from those countries – French, Italian, Chinese. The exercises on the website will help you practise countries and adjectives – have a look.

Rob: Well, that’s all we’ve got time for today. We’ll be back soon when we’ll hear how Carolina and Emily are getting on with Jamie’s new friend. Bye!

Adam: Bye!


Language level

Average: 4.4 (7 votes)
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Submitted by Ahmed 99 on Sun, 06/09/2020 - 23:41

I have never tried British food and i thought they eat a lot of meat and steak and drink tea or coffee or alcohol. I like eat Yemeni food specially in Yemeni restaurants my favorite cuisine are Hesah, Buried meat and Haneeth meat withe rice and for dessert i like eat Arika and Bint Al Sahn withe one of best honey in the world culled Do'ani honey.

Submitted by parisaach on Mon, 06/05/2019 - 08:17

Actually I've never been in Britain, and I have never seen any British resturants in other countries, so I haven't tried british food yet . I live in Iran and I think we have the most delicious foods in the world though we haven't any good resturant outside the country . Irainian uaually spend so much time to prepare a food. We eat rice a lot in Tehran but any of our cities has special traditional foods. We have many different kind of food which is made by rice some of them are made by rice and something like meat, potato , tomato, etc and serve in on dish. and some of them is a simple rice which is cooked and serve with a different dish that we name "Khorosht" , we add "Khorosht" to the rice while eating. we have other foods which is name "Kabab" it is meat or chicken which is grilled or cook over fire. Anyway besides our traditional foods you can find many different resturants in my country and there is foods of allover the world here: Italian, Indian, chinese, etc.. I like'em all but I hate chinese . I think chinese eat all creatures and it is really disgusting.
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Submitted by Oksi1001 on Sat, 02/02/2019 - 15:59

Hello! I'm from Russia and i'm living in small city. Inspite of hat we have varius cafes including pubs with english food.The most famous is called 'London'. There I've tried fish and chips and i liked it.It was unusual serving dishes in the newspaper. As to rostbeef and other dishes from meet, generally i dont like it. I prefer italian food, and fortunately we have a many such cafes. Pizza,pasta, lasagna a lot of cheese, mm..it's divinely! I think, it's the most popular and available food in the world.

Submitted by Nancy Nguyen on Wed, 19/12/2018 - 15:08

Hello everyone, I've not tried British food but I hope someday I will have a chance to try it. When you come to my country, you should try "Pho", it's one of the special foods in Vietnam. We also have a lot of famous dishes such as rice noodles, banh mi, broken rice, Vietnamese fresh spring rolls...It's amazing. There are sort of restaurants in Vietnam like Japanese food, Chinese food, fast food from the UK, Thai food, Korean food... But I don't like to eat outside, so I cook for myself. Gordon Ramsay is my favorite chef and I usually watch his cooking programmes. Thanks.

Submitted by Idar on Tue, 11/09/2018 - 16:04

We have a lot of restaurants in Russia from all over the world like in Britain, but also we have own cuisine. I prefer different cuisines such as European, Caucasian, Georgian, Tatar them is a lot. Russian cuisine is famous borsch, rassolnik, Solyanka, ukha, different types of cutlets, for example-fire cutlets, boiled pork. I very like russian cuisine because i've lived in Russia all my life and i addicted. I recommend to visit Russia and to try russian cuisine.
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Submitted by krig on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 06:27

I've never heard that British food is bad. In my opinion there are no bad or good cuisines - each one has some great dishes. I think typical British meal are bacon and eggs, roast beef, pudding and oatmeal.

Submitted by Hal55 on Mon, 18/06/2018 - 10:22

Hello I haven't been to Britain. but I have tried fish & chips couple of times before. fish & chips is the only British food that I know. I like foods that is made of potatoes. so I can enjoy fish and chips. but fish and chips is always served with a lot of amount of it. It is always too much for me to eat. and very oily. so I don't eat fish and chips very often. I remember when I was traveling in NewZealand, I ordered fish and chips at a takeaway. and I found that they wrapped fish and chips with old news papers that is just like Ravi said in another Episode. In my country Japan, There are many kinds of restaurants. There are also British pubs where you can drink alcohols but I think they don't serve tea or coffee. In Japan, when I think of British pub I think it is kind of a bar. I don't go to British pub when I want to drink tea of coffee. I just go to Starbucks instead.

Submitted by Shiiya on Wed, 02/05/2018 - 14:39

I think I´ve never ever eaten English food , actually I don´t know what exact are English food , i think there aren´t a icon from English cuisine ,( if are sorry about my ignorance ) like Italian food , japanese food , chinese food , but I would like to try someday. I live in a big city , and here you can find restaurant from all over the word , so it is great and I love it . I think I haven´t a favorite food , I like all kind of food from a ordinary sandwich from street food to pasta from a Italian cuisine

Submitted by annacm on Sat, 17/03/2018 - 19:01

Hello! I traveled to London 2 years ago to meet my daughter. She was studying there at that time. I stayed for two weeks and I tried fish and chips. It was good, but a little heavy (or fat, I don't know the correct word for this). I didn't try English breakfast. It's difficult to me eat beans in the morning. I drank a lot of tea, without milk. I love it. In my country, I saw on Jamie Oliver's TV show a recipe of Beef Wellington. Sounds good, but I haven't tried it. Bye