FAST FOOD, OK ?
An intermediate level English dialogue.
In Britain, a lot of people say that teenagers do not eat good food. Television chefs have tried to encourage teenagers and young people to eat better food; but still, lots of young people in Britain prefer a daily diet of hamburgers and other fast food. Freeway magazine asked some British teenagers for their opinion about "fast food".
FREEWAY: People say that today's young people like nothing apart from "fast food"; do you think this is true? And what do you think of fast food?
GORDON: I don't have anything against it, really! It's O.K! I mean, you hear people saying it's all junk food, but most of the time it tastes good. Though I wouldn't want to live off it all the time!
DANNY: Yeah, if you mean hamburgers and whatever, there's nothing wrong with them. They're good food! They fill you up; and that's what food's supposed to do, isn't it? I mean there's meat, vegetables and bread and cheese; as far as I'm concerned, that's a pretty balanced diet.
GORDON: Yeah, hamburgers are all right. I mean, my mum says it's all junk, but frankly I can't really see what makes it any different from the stuff she cooks. I mean bread's bread, isn't it, and steak's steak, as far as I'm concerned.
KATHY: I tend to agree. Like, personally I'm not all that keen on hamburgers - they just make you fat - but if you go to a McDonald's or somewhere like that, you can get salads and things too....
JO: Well yes, 'course you can, but that's not the point, is it? I mean the thing about junk food is that it's all deep frozen, it's never fresh....
KATHY: What d'you mean? You can't get deep-frozen salads...
JO: Well maybe not the salads... but the rest's all deep frozen industrial stuff.
GORDON: But so's most of the food you get these days...
JO: It isn't at all! What about all the organic stuff, and fresh meat and things like that.
GORDON: Yes, OK... but who says its any better than deep frozen stuff?
DANNY: It certainly doesn't taste better, and it's much more hassle.
FREEWAY: Don't you eat fresh food at home then?
DANNY: Yeah, of course, from time to time; but most of the time my mum does stuff out of the deep freeze. It's good!
JO: what sort of stuff?
DANNY: All sorts of stuff. Pizzas, fish fingers, lasagna, things like that.
JO: You're not really suggesting that deep frozen pizza's as good as the real thing, are you?
DANNY: What d'you mean 'the real thing'? Deep frozen pizza's perfectly real, and fine by me... once it's been heated up, I mean!
KATHY: Anyway, who eats home-made pizza at home anyway? No-one does! D'you?
JO: No, 'cos I'm a vegetarian!
KATHY: That doesn't stop you eating pizza, does it?
JO: It depends what kind of pizza it is, doesn't it? I mean I love a good vegetarian pizza.
DANNY: D'you eat cheese then?
JO: Yes, I'm not vegan.
GORDON: I think you've got to be sensible about it really: like as I said, I like hamburgers, but I wouldn't want to go round eating them every day; and there's some things that are better than others, obviously. I mean, look at chicken nuggets f'r instance. People think they're eating meat, but they're 90% nugget and only 10% meat. I reckon things like that are a rip off; you're really being conned!
JO: But it's the same with all junk food, isn't it?
GORDON: What d'you know about it? You just said you were a veggie!
JO: Yeah, I am now, but I didn't use to be! If you want to know, the reason I went vegetarian is because I got sick of tasteless junk food.
DANNY: Maybe you ate the wrong stuff! Most of the things I eat are pretty tasty, to be quite honest!
JO: Yeah, I'm sure they are! But it's all done with chemicals and flavourings, isn't it? You never know what you're eating!
DANNY: So what, it's not poison, is it? You can kill yourself by eating poisonous mushrooms, can't you, and they're quite natural...
GORDON: And organic....
JO: Well look at mad cow disease...
GORDON: Well that was an extreme case, wasn't it? An' anyway, how many people caught it? About twenty! Probably as many as died from eating bad fruit....
conned: deceived, tricked - diet: what you eat - fine by me: good, in my opinion - frankly: honestly - junk: rubbish, very poor quality - hassle: trouble - I'm not all that keen on: I don't particularly like - mad cow disease: a fatal illness of cows, BSE - organic: natural, produced without chemicals - pretty: quite - rip off: a deception, very bad value for money - stuff: things - the point: the subject - vegan: someone who eats no animal products at all.
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► Blank fill exercise: Complete this part of the dialogue from memory. When correcting this exercise, take care to allow any acceptable alternatives, not just the words that are in the original text.
GORDON: I don't have ____________ against it, really! It's O.K! I mean, you hear people __________ it's all junk food, but most of the time it ___________ good. Though I wouldn't _______ to live off it all the time!
DANNY: Yeah, if you mean hamburgers and ___________, there's nothing ________ with them. They're good food! They fill you ___; and that's what food's ___________ to do, isn't it? I mean there's meat, vegetables and bread and cheese; as far as I'm ___________, that's a ___________ balanced diet.
GORDON: Yeah, hamburgers are all ________. I mean, my mum says it's all junk, but frankly I can't really see what makes it any different ______ the stuff she cooks. I mean bread's bread, ______'t it, and steak's steak, as far as I'm ___________ .
When correcting the
blank-fill exercise, take care to allow
any acceptable alternatives, not just the words that are in the
Pay attention to the characteristics of spoken English, including use of fillers, repetition, and tag questions.
► To learn all about using tags, see Linguapress English grammar: Tag questions
► Expression: Have students learn part of this dialogue for homework. This will allow them to work on intonation and expression.
► Have students act out the dialogue in class, from memory. : Students will pay far more attention to phonetics and intonation when reciting a learned dialogue, than when reading a written text.
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Revised 2020 . Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate level English newsmagazine.
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