Free English Lessons

The Cooking Class – Listening Lesson (B1-B2)

Are you an expert in the kitchen? In this free English listening lesson from Oxford Online English, you can hear a dialogue from a cooking class, and learn useful English vocabulary to talk about food and cooking. This is a lesson for intermediate and upper intermediate learners.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Woman: First of all, break two eggs into the bowl.
Man: Okay, do we need the yolks1 and the whites2?
Woman: Yes, we don’t waste anything in here! Add some seasoning3.
Man: Salt, pepper, anything else?
Woman: You can add some herbs4 as well, just for flavour.
Man: Right, and then add in the mince5?
Woman: That’s right. Add in the mince, a little bit of flour6, and mix it all up with your hands.
Man: Like this?
Woman: That’s right. It needs to get nice and7 sticky.
Man: Is this okay?
Woman: Yeah, that’s perfect. Now, start rolling the meat into little balls.
Man: This big?
Woman: That’s a bit too big. Make them about the size of a ping-pong ball.
Man: Okay, what next?
Woman: We’ll fry them in a little oil. Turn them every few minutes so they don’t burn.
Man: Shall I start on the sauce?
Woman: Sure. Just fry some onion and garlic, add the tomatoes, and then blend8 it all together. It’s really simple.
Man: Do I need to chop the onion up finely9, or what?
Woman: You’re going to blend it, so it doesn’t make any difference. Just chop it roughly.
Man: Mmm, I’m getting quite hungry! It smells good.
Woman: Well, it’ll be ready in ten minutes, then we can eat!

The answers to some of the exercises below can be found in these notes. If you would like to challenge yourself, you are recommended to try the exercises first and return to this section later if you need to.

1. The yolk = the yellow part of the egg
2. The white = the white part of the egg
3. Seasoning = spices and other things which add flavour to a dish
4. Herbs = plants which have a strong flavour, used as seasoning
5. Mince = meat which has been cut into very small pieces, usually using a machine
6. Flour = a white powder, made from wheat, which is used to make bread
7. Nice and + adjective is a conversational phrase. The meaning is similar to quite = more than a little bit
8. Blend = use a special machine to mix all the food together using a sharp blade which spins around
9. Chop something finely = cut into very small pieces

The Cooking Class – exercise 1
Comprehension: true or false

There are a lot of technical words in this conversation – specifically, words for food and how to prepare and cook it. You will learn and practise some of these words in exercises 2 and 3.

First, can you identify what is happening and who is doing what? Listen to the dialogue and decide if five statements are true or false.

The Cooking Class – exercise 2
Vocabulary: words for food

Describing food in a foreign language can be very frustrating. There is often a specific word for a type of food, or part of it. If you don’t know the word, can you find a way to describe it?

Look at five words from the dialogue and match them with the descriptions. To decide the right meanings, listen to how the words are used in the conversation.

The Cooking Class – exercise 3
Vocabulary: verbs for cooking

The dialogue includes many verbs that are specific to cooking processes. They’re in the imperative form (without a subject), which is common for giving instructions.

Look at five sentences that are similar to – but not exactly the same as – what the woman says. Write one verb in each gap to complete the instructions.

The Cooking Class – exercise 4
Grammar: informal questions

When we ask questions in English, there are rules about the word order which many learners find difficult. However, in informal contexts like this dialogue, the rules are not so strict.

Listen to five questions which the man asks and write two words in each gap, exactly as you hear them.

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