Learning Vocabulary: A piece of cake!
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack and Rich talk about Valentine's Day and cooking - Jack has decided to make a cake for his wife! The language focus is on quantifiers connected to food and drink such as 'a piece of', 'a bottle of' and 'a packet of'. Your task is to tell us about something you cook at home and the ingredients you need. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Learning Vocabulary: A piece of cake!
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rich: and I’m Rich and welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: Where we talk about football and help you with your English. This week we’re going to be talking about Valentine’s Day, I’m going to be making a special treat for my wife, we’re going to help you with quantifiers - like a piece of, a bottle of, a packet of - we want you to tell us about something you can cook and we have last week’s and this week’s football phrases.
Rich: We recommend that you listen to this podcast on the Premier Skills English website because that is where we have the transcript, language examples, activities, quizzes and a discussion page to help you understand everything we talk about.
Jack: However, if you’re listening on Apple Podcasts, you can leave answers to our questions in the review section. We do read all the reviews and would love to hear from you.
Rich: Don’t forget that we have our football English podcast called This Week that you can listen to at the start of every week. This week’s episode is about Matchweek 26 and Sheffield United’s surprise run for a Champions League place.
Jack: We take a look at six idioms that are connected to stormy weather. These include: to take something by storm, to storm out of the blocks and to throw caution to the wind.
Rich: It’s on the Premier Skills English homepage, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and lots of other places right now!
Jack: In last week’s podcast, we spoke about question forms and asked you to tell us which famous person you would like to meet and what three questions you would ask them.
Rich: We had some great responses. Merseyake from Poland wants to meet Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, Khiri Abdulnasser from Egypt want to meet Liverpool defender Andy Robertson, Rafael Robson wants to meet the tennis player legend, Roger Federer, Idzingirai from Zimbabwe wants to meet the ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and Wsanta from Argentina wants to meet a singer from the punk group Toy Dolls.
Jack: If you want to complete this lesson and learn more vocabulary connected to technology, you need to go to our homepage, click skills, click listen and click podcasts. It’s called Understanding Grammar: Question Forms
Rich: In this week’s podcast, we’re going to talk about food. I love talking about food and eating it! We’re going to help you talk about the containers that food comes in or how you count them. Things like a cup of in a cup of tea or a pint of as in a pint of milk.
Jack: Grammar books sometimes call these quantifiers or partitives but we think that makes things too complicated. We just want to tell you the phrases you can use with different food and drink. It should be a piece of cake!
Rich: In this week’s roleplay, it’s Valentine’s Day and we’re deciding what to get or do for our partners and Jack has decided to make something.
Jack: Your task this week is to tell us something that you can make in the kitchen and the ingredients you need to make it. Before all that though, we need to look at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Rich: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now. We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Jack: Well done if you got it right last week and congratulations to those of you who wrote the correct answer on the Premier Skills English website or Apple Podcasts.
Rich: Alex from Ukraine was the first with the correct answer again. Well done, Alex. You’re very quick! And well done to Marco Zapien from Mexico, Idzingirai from Zimbabwe, Rafael Robson from Brazil, Wsanta from Argentina, Mario from Mexico and Ahmed Adam from Sudan, who also got the right answer.
Jack: Right, remember you can write your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website or the review section on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us. Let’s hear last week’s phrase again.
Rich: The phrase is ****** *****. For the first time in the Premier League, clubs are getting a rest in the coldest months of the year. Each Premier League club will have two weeks off in February. But a ****** ***** doesn’t mean there will be no Premier League football. Some clubs will have their ****** ***** at the beginning of February and some clubs will have their ****** ***** at the end of February.
Jack: We’ll give you the answer at the end of the show and we’ll have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Introduction to Roleplay
Jack: In this week’s roleplay, Rich and I are talking about Valentine’s Day.
Rich: While you are listening, we want you to answer two questions:
Jack: What is Rich going to buy his partner for Valentine’s Day?
Rich: And what is Jack going to buy his partner for Valentine’s Day?
Jack: Do you want a cup of tea?
Rich: I’d love one.
Jack: All right. I’ll put the kettle on. So, are you doing anything tomorrow?
Rich: Tomorrow? Working …
Jack: In the evening … it’s Valentine’s Day. Are you taking Jennie out or something?
Rich: Oh, er ... I’d forgotten to be honest. No, I don’t like it. It’s just an excuse for shops to sell things. I might get her a box of chocolates or something. You know me, for us, every day is like Valentine’s Day.
Jack: That’s so s …
Rich: Sweet. I know. What about you? What have you got an apron on in the office for?
Jack: Well, I also think it’s an excuse for shops to sell things so I’m not going to buy a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers. I’m going to make something. I’m going to make a cake.
Rich: A Valentine’s cake. Is that a thing?
Jack: It is now. I’m going to make a Valentine’s Cheesecake.
Rich: Well, you’ve got your apron! Oh, we’ve run out of milk. I’m going to pop to the shop to get a pint of milk. Do you need anything for your cheesecake making?
Jack: Hold on a sec. Let me check that I’ve got everything. I’ve got a recipe online here … ingredients.
Rich: Well, we’ve got a packet of biscuits in the cupboard. You can use those.
Jack: I’ve got a tub of soft cheese for the cake. That’s biscuits and cheese. Hang on I might need a few other things. I thought this would be a piece of cake but it’s a bit more complicated than I first thought.
Rich: Go on then. What else do you need?
Jack: Butter. Can you get me a packet of butter?
Rich: A packet of butter.
Jack: I need cream. Can you get a pot of cream? And some sugar. A bag of sugar. And strawberries. A punnet of strawberries.
Rich: Butter, sugar, strawberries and cream. I was only going for a pint of milk. Anything else? A loaf of bread? Bottle of wine? The moon on a stick?
Jack: You could get me a bar of chocolate.
Rich: I hope I get a slice of this cake when you’ve made it!
Rich: Did you get the answers to the two questions we gave you?
Jack: The first question was what was Rich going to get for his partner for Valentine’s Day.
Rich: I’m very boring as the answer was a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers. I might splash out and get both.
Jack: The second question was what am I going to buy?
Rich: And the answer is he’s not going to buy anything but he’s going to make something. He’s going to make a Valentine’s Cheesecake. I’m sure it will be delicious.
Jack: OK, the language focus this week is on the phrases we use to quantify food and drink. These phrases often use the container or portion size that the food is packaged or served in.
Rich: These types of phrases are sometimes called quantifiers or partitives but we think it’s much more useful to just learn the phrase and the food and drink together.
Jack: Let’s start with the structure of the phrase because it’s always the same. We say a + the container + of + the food or drink.
Rich: A bottle of wine or a bottle of water is a very common example.
Jack: I think we should look at the pronunciation straight away here. A bottle of water. We say that very quickly - it‘s all connected. The ‘a’ and ‘of’ are schwas /er/ ‘A bottle’, ‘A bottle of’ ‘A bottle of water’.
Rich: Listen and repeat: A bottle of water … A bottle of water.
Jack: Let’s look at some other containers. We used packet in the roleplay a couple of times. Packets are usually for dry foods like cereal. In the roleplay, we said ‘a packet of biscuits and ‘a packet of crisps’.
Rich: Remember those schwas and listen to these examples and repeat: A packet of biscuits, a packet of peanuts, a packet of crisps.
Jack: The word bag is also common for dry foods: a bag of rice, a bag of pasta, a bag of crisps.
Rich: Not all dry foods come in packets or bags. When we talk about bread we say a loaf of bread. This is the whole bread whether it is sliced or not.
Jack: But we also talk about individual slices. To make a sandwich you need two slices of bread. So you buy a loaf of bread from the bakery but you use slices of bread to make a sandwich or toast.
Rich: Listen to these examples and try to repeat: a loaf of bread, a slice of bread, a loaf of bread, a slice of bread.
Jack: We also use slices to talk about cheese and meat. These things can be cut into slices. Other baked foods like cakes and pies can also be cut into slices.
Rich: But we also use the word piece here. Can I have a piece of cake? Can I have a piece of apple pie, please?
Jack: A piece of cake is also an idiom that means something is very easy to do. It’s a piece of cake.
Rich: We used two examples connected to chocolate in the roleplay. We said a bar of chocolate and a box of chocolates. A box of chocolates describe lots of individual chocolates in a box and a bar of chocolate is just one large chocolate like a Mars bar or a KitKat.
Jack: We also use these phrases for liquids and measurements. We say things like a pint of milk or a litre of petrol.
Rich: We’ve already mentioned a bottle of wine or a bottle of water and we can also say things like a can of beer, a can of coke or a glass of water or a cup of tea.
Jack: The pronunciation is great in this last one. Listen: a cup of tea. Would you like a cup of tea?
Rich: Listen and repeat: a cup of tea … Would you like a cup of tea?
Jack: We also looked at some more difficult ones in the roleplay like a bunch of flowers, a tub of soft cheese and a punnet of strawberries. We’ve got some more practice activities and examples on the website if you’d like to practise this vocabulary a bit more.
Rich: Your task this week is to tell us about something you cook at home and the ingredients you need to cook it.
Jack: Tell us when you cook it, why you cook it and who you cook it for.
Rich: And tell us the ingredients you need to cook it. Try to use some of the phrases we’ve used in this week’s roleplay.
Jack: Write all your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website or on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us.
Rich: And reply to each other and maybe even try out a new dish from another country.
Jack: It’s your turn with the football phrase, Rich.
Rich: OK, well I think the last two phrases have been quite easy.
Jack: Yes, quite a few people got them right.
Rich: So, I’m going to make this week’s phrase a bit more challenging.
Jack: Let’s hear it then.
Rich: This week’s football phrase is to **** *** **** ****. This phrase is something managers use a lot when they are not happy and their team keeps losing possession of the ball. A manager might say we **** *** **** **** too much today, we need to keep hold of the ball more and make the other team work to get it back.
Jack: Let’s see who can get it right. Before we leave you we also need to tell you last week’s football phrase. The answer was winter break.
Rich: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Jack: If you have any questions or comments or suggestions for the podcast or anything football or English related, you can leave them on the website in the comments section, on social media, on apple podcasts or you can email us at email@example.com.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
In the podcast, Rich and Jack used some words and phrases that might be new for you. Do you know the words in bold?
I’ll put the kettle on. So, are you doing anything tomorrow?
What have you got an apron on in the office for?
Oh, we’ve run out of milk. I’m going to pop (round) to the shop to get a pint of milk.
I’ve got a recipe online here … what are the ingredients?
We’ve got a packet of biscuits in the cupboard.
There were a few more tricky words in the podcast. Do you know what they all mean? Try the activity below, then, listen to the podcast again to hear how we used the words.
Quantifying Food & Drink (containers)
In the roleplay, Jack was making a cake and he sent Rich to the shop to get a few ingredients that he was missing:
Can you get me a packet of butter?
Can you get a pot of cream?
Can you get me a bag of sugar?
Can you get me a punnet of strawberries?
Do you want a cup of tea?
We often use the container that food or drink is packaged or served in to say the quantity we want. We always use the same structure:
- a + container + of + food/drink
The structure is especially useful for uncountable nouns like butter and sugar as it gives us a way to quantify the amount needed much more easily.
Quantifying Food & Drink (portions)
With some food, we don't use the container to quantify the amount but the portion size. This is usually the case with things that are oven-baked like bread, cakes and pies. We often don't want to buy or eat the whole cake so we quantify how much we want:
I hope I get a slice of this cake when you’ve made it!
Can I have a piece of apple pie, please?
Can I have a bit of that cake, please?
Quantifying Food & Drink (measurements)
We often use measurements to quantify amounts using the same structure a + measurement + of + drink/liquid:
I’m going to pop to the shop to get a pint of milk and a litre of juice.
Add a pinch of salt and a spoonful of sugar to the mixture.
There were some other quantifiers that we used in the roleplay. In this activity, check your understanding by matching the food and drink to the correct quantifier.
A Piece of Cake!
In the roleplay, Jack said he thought making a cake would be a piece of cake but it was a bit more complicated than what he thought. A piece of cake is an idiom and it is used to describe something that is very easy.
Tell us how to cook something
In this week’s task, we want you to tell us about something you cook at home and the ingredients you need to cook it.
- Tell us when you cook it, why you cook it and who you cook it for.
- Tell us the ingredients you need to cook it.
- Try to use some of the phrases we’ve used in this week’s roleplay.
- Learn to cook a new dish from another listener.
Write all your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!