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Learning Article : How To Describe Food And Talk About Hunger In British English

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How To Describe Food And Talk About Hunger In British English

Teacher Ben is going to teach you all about British food and drink and explore different ways to say hungry, thirsty, full, and delicious.

Feb 24, 2015 12:00 AM
Comments · 29

Really good whistle-stop tour of the highs (and lows) of British eating and drinking. Fried breakfast, trifle, chocolate, beer and alcopops, bacon butties ... I feel quite um, queasy, after all that.

February 25, 2015

I missed that part about smoking the first time. I would say that nowadays the majority of people in the UK don't smoke so I agree that it isn't typical. 

@Caroline If you buy quality sausages then I think English sausages are great (cheap ones are admittedly horrible). Generally I prefer them over the sausages I've eaten in different parts of Europe. You're obviously not a fan though, given you don't like toad in the hole or black pudding either. I actually like all of the things you mentioned as the worst dishes, with the exception of pork faggots, which I've never tried and Christmas pudding. People generally don't eat offal much in this country any more, a lot of people find it offputting. I've never liked Christmas pudding either, its far too rich and sweet. I also think Battenberg is awful, but then I hate marzipan :)

February 26, 2015

To answer your question, Cintia, and to add to Paul's answer:

Yes, 'a toast' is when you drink to wish someone good luck or happiness, or to congratuate them, for example. So at a wedding, to 'toast the happy couple', you stand up, raise your glasses, and say 'To John and Lizzie!' The 'toast' can be to other things of course, such as to 'victory' or any other reason to celebrate. At formal events, you can even hire a professional 'toastmaster' to make speeches and propose the toasts.

If there is nothing or nobody in particular to toast, then you just say 'Cheers' before you drink, which is an all-purpose toast to good health and good humour.

All this is very different from the toast that you have at breakfast, of course, which is a slice of grilled bread, maybe with butter and marmalade on top. So what's the difference? How come we don't get confused?

Well, it's all down to the grammar. The toast that's a glass of champagne when someone gets married is countable - you do a toast or, more likely, several toasts after the meal at wedding. This is different from the toast you have for breakfast, which is always uncountable. A typical breakfast in Britain involves a cup of tea and some toast, or a few pieces of toast. Not singular ('a') and not plural (toasts). Just 'toast'. We don't mix them up because the grammar is different.

March 6, 2015

You have an interesting and entertaining way of writing, Ben. I enjoyed reading this article too. You've reminded me of a bunch of expressions I used to hate my friends using :)

February 28, 2015

Interesting. I'd never heard "I could murder a hamburger". I think I might use it.


You shouldn't say cigarettes are part of the usual British breakfast. None of the people I know smoke at the table (most of them are non smoker anyway). My in-law are hooked on porridge, I think it's a very bland and British thing to have. By the way, scones don't come with currants as a standard, it's only one variety of it and the most popular is plain, served with cream and jam.


Some of the best British dish are Cornish pasties, Yorshire puddings, sheppherd's pie, beef wellington, fish pie, fish and chips, bannofee pie, sticky toffee pudding, cherry bakewell tart and battenberg cake. Some of the worst are toad in a hole, english sausages, black pudding, pork faggots, hot cross buns, flap jacks and chrismas pudding.


In Quebec, Cananda, where I'm from, we have dishes inspired by british dish. For example, our pâté chinois is not too far off a cottage pie. But our signature dish is poutine (chips, gravy and mild curd cheddar). Aple Crumble is not to different from our apple croustade.

February 26, 2015
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