Idioms & Expressions:
health nut (a noun used for a person who doesn’t like junk food and prefers to eat natural food instead
I used to be overweight, but now I’m a health nut and I haven’t had fast food in months.
whip up/cook up (both verbs that mean to make some food, or to create a plan to do something)
Tomorrow morning I’ll whip up some pancakes.
He’s cooking up a plan to become the next president.
home-cooked (an adjective that describes food cooked at home)
I miss my mother’s home-cooked meals.
junkie (a noun used to describe someone who is dependent or addicted to something)
I’m a TV junkie, so I waste a lot of time on TV shows.
too many cooks in the kitchen (this means a situation in which there are too many people working on a project, meaning there is a lot of disagreement and nothing really gets done)
The project isn’t going very well because it has too many cooks in the kitchen.
passion project (a noun to describe something you do for free, but that you love doing)
One of her passion projects was to write a book of poetry in her spare time.
moonlight (a verb to describe activities you perform outside of your regular job)
He moonlights as a painter, and his work is quite skillful.
follow in (someone’s) footsteps (verb phrase, to do the same thing that someone did before you, usually your parents or ancestors)
He’s following in his father’s footsteps and joining the Army as well.
well-rounded (adjective to describe someone who partakes in a variety of different hobbies or interests)
I try to do a variety of things in my life so I can be more well-rounded.
quality of life (a noun that refers to how well your life is going overall)
Experimenting with different hobbies brings you a higher quality of life.
natural talent (if you have natural talent, then it’s talent you were born with)
a natural (someone who has natural talent at a certain skill)
Have you seen her play basketball? She’s a natural.
Part I: Group Discussion
- What kinds of food do you like to eat?
I’m like most Westerners, I like Western food. People generally gravitate toward what they know. I think my favorite food ever is pizza – if it were healthy, I’d eat it for every meal. I also like to eat burgers and sandwiches. And I don’t get to eat a lot of Italian food, but I love that cuisine as well. Now I live in Vietnam, and I like eating Pho and banh mi.
- What kinds of new food you would like to try?
It would have to be some kind of cuisine I have almost no knowledge of or haven’t had anything similar to before. Maybe Eastern European food or Mongolian food – something like that. But I’ve had so much food in my life, it’s hard to find something that I haven’t tried yet.
- Do you like cooking? Why/why not?
I like cooking sometimes. Not very often, though, because food takes too long to prepare, and I’m way too busy to really cook elaborate meals. When I’m going through a quieter time in my life, then I like to make some salads or fish – simple dishes like that.
- What was the last meal you cooked?
I actually can’t even remember, because these days I never cook. I think it might have been a really simple meal of a soup and some sandwiches. I’ve never been a very skillful cook!
- Do you prefer home-cooked food or food from restaurants? Why?
For simplicity’s sake, I prefer food from restaurants. The food isn’t quite as healthy, but I still love to get a meal that I know exactly what it will taste like. Home-cooked meals are usually delicious, but I don’t like having to sit around and wait for them to be ready.
Part II: Group Discussion (Cont’d)
Describe an interest or hobby that you enjoy. You should say:
- how you became interested in it
- how long you have been doing it
- why you enjoy it
- and explain what benefits you get from this interest or hobby.
I love to practice writing. It’s how I relax and express myself. If I don’t get to write a little bit every day, then I get very anxious. Sometimes I show my writing to my friends and family, but I usually keep quiet about it. I grew up next to a library, and my family didn’t own a TV set. So I had nothing to but read. This inspired me to write! I have been writing very frequently since I was about seven years old. All you need is a pen, paper, or laptop. If I have to, I’ll write at home. I can do it anywhere, though – I just need a notebook or a laptop. Writing has given me greater confidence, because I see myself improving and getting better at it. It has also helped me think more clearly and logically, because you need to present your ideas in a rational manner when you write something. It also makes me less anxious, because as I write, I can attempt to understand what I’m thinking.
Part III: Group Discussion
- Do you think having a hobby is good for people’s social life? In what way?
I think that if your hobby entails cooperating with other people, then it is absolutely good for your social life. Also, when you’re making new friends, it gives you more material for conversations if you can share your hobbies and interests with them. But on the flip side, if you spend too much time on a solitary hobby, then you won’t be able to spend much time with others, which can negatively affect your social life.
- Are there any negative effects of a person spending too much time on their hobby? What are they?
I think the only major drawback to a time-consuming hobby is that it takes away from the time you could be spending with other people. Also, if you don’t diversify your hobbies, you can close yourself off from new experiences and influences, which might make you a little more boring.
- Why do you think people need to have an interest or hobby?
People need a way to expend creative energy and feel like they’re doing something that they enjoy, rather than just working for someone else to make money for their boss or company. An interest or hobby can give you something to look forward to when you have free time, so you’re not bored all the time, just zoning out in front of the TV.
- In your country, how much time do people spend on work and how much time on leisure? Is this a good balance?
In America, many people waste long stretches of their lives on TV and video games. I think that many people have a decent work/leisure balance, but they might not necessarily have hobbies that enrich their lives.
- Would you say the amount of free time has changed much in the last fifty years?
I actually don’t think so. Even as technology has improved, there still somehow seems to be the same amount of work for us all to do! A 40 – hour work week was standard 50 years ago, and it’s still the standard today. Our bosses want us to work hard, for some reason.
- Do you think people will have more or less free time in the future? Why?
It’s tempting to view the future as some kind of utopia, but I actually don’t think things will get much better for average people like me. I think that either we will all still have to work about just as much as we do now. Our amount of free time will generally stay the same.