This week: Table Talk
by Victor Greeson
Since the food - and the eating style - of every country is
diferent, the language of food - of buying food, preparing it for storage,
storing it, cooking it, eating it, and so on - is also distinctive to
each country. This week, we look at some language you may hear used in
people's homes, around the kitchen and around the dining table, when
preparing and eating a meal. In a future column, we'll look at the
perils of eating out at an American restaurant.
If any word or phrase is unfamiliar to you, just click it.
Marc, Heather, and Damien are bantering
while they all prepare to eat
Marc: Do you need us to help in the kitchen, Damien?
Heather: (to Marc) Hey, thanks for volunteering me!
Damien: Yeah - could you make me a better chef?
Heather: We're only offering to help - not to perform miracles.
Damien: You really don't have to do anything - you're guests, after all.
Marc: S'okay. It's fun to putter around in the
Heather: Plus, this way we can make sure you don't give
us food poisoning.
Damien: Cool. Well, uh... Let's see. You could get the
greens ready for the salad.
Marc: What!?! Veggies!?!
Damien: What? You have issues
Marc: No, I don't. They don't bother me, I don't bother them.
Heather: Ah. (To Damien) Since Carnivore Boy here won't touch the
dreaded veggies, I guess I'll take care of those. Better
find something to take his mind off the green manace in the meanwhile.
Eating out is eating a meal at a
restaurant, as opposed to eating in your home, or at someone else's home.
To banter is to talk lightly, and
with a superficial hostilty.
Once again, we have to deal with the American
habit of forming contractions. S'okay is a shortened
version of "It's okay".
Plus can mean "also", "as well as", or "furthermore",
plus its usual meaning from math.
Cool is a cool word. It means that one approves of
something. It can be an adjective: "That's a cool car." It can describe a
general attitude: "Meet you at seven?" "OK, that's cool." It can also be used
by itself to indicate a positive response: "The Clippers beat the Lakers." "Cool."
"I'll pick you up at six." "Cool."
Well, Uh... and Let's see. are all basically space-fillers.
They allow the speaker to collect their thoughts before they say something meaningful.
Greens can refer to the above-ground part of
a root vegetable (as in beet greens, or mustard greens) or,
sometimes, to any leafy vegetable. The leafy ingredients of a salad
are sometimes called salad greens.
Oddly enough, greens don't have to be green, and
not all green vegetable - let alone all green foods - count as greens.
Salad refers to an assortment of raw vegetables
served with dressing and other toppings. The main ingredients are usually lettuce
and other leafy vegetables. However, the word salad is also used as part
of the name of other cold dishes that feature an assortment of ingredients, such as
potato salad, fruit salad, pasta salad, and so on. The word
salad by itself, though, always refers to the leafy kind.
What, like most "simple" words, has hundreds of uses.
Is the dialogue above, it's first used by Marc to protest the presence of vegetables - a
humorous expression of outrage - and then by Damien to challenge Marc's point.
Veggies is short for "vegetables".
The word issues is an ironic borrowing from the
language of psychotherapy. There, a therapist or counselor may work with a patient to help
that patient work through, or resolve their issues -
for example, with anger (anger management issues), with their family, and so on.
Issues is often used humorously - for exmple, one might jokingly suggest that
a friend is out of line by saying "Dude, you've got issues."
Do you still have unanswered questions about this topic -- or
about anything else? Is there something that you would like
to see an article about? Do you have advice, ideas, or experiences
you would like to share with other international students?
Let us know -- send us a message at: CityHall@istudentcity.com