906 Fast Food


Clare talks about why America is known as a fast food nation.

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Mike: Hi, this is Mike from Singapore and I'm talking to Clare from America about obesity and food in our respective countries. So Clare, what about America? What makes it so infamous for having food that are very, very so called "unhealthy"?

Clare: Well, in America we were the country that invented the fast food chain, I think. There are very many famous fast food chains that got their start in America and they became popular because Americans were working very long hours in the cities and in small towns and it was a lot easier, it was very new, to have a convenient meal ready for you. Well unfortunately these meals were not prepared in a way that was healthy. There was very little veggies, I mean french fries are fried potatoes, burgers are fried, so the way they're cooked it ... they're made quickly but they're not made in a way that's healthy, there's no boiling or steaming so ... because these chains had a very good product being offered in one respect, that they were fast and easy and convenient to get to, while on the down side they were very fattening, people sort of just chose what was convenient I think, and there are so many of them because they really are popular. It's sort of a cycle where even though people know it's bad they choose it because it's convenient and because it gets so much business more chains open in a city or along roads because Americans have ... travel very long distances for commuting to get almost anywhere. For example, where I live in Texas, along the road very small towns separated by miles and miles of desert, every small town where highways come together have at least one burger joint or ice cream place that serves burgers and fries and so it's a little bit of, I wouldn't call it American culture, its just sort of what we got used to.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

respective

This is Joe from Singapore and Clare from America talking about food in our respective countries.

The word 'respective' is similar in meaning to 'different'.  In the samples below, the countries and the careers are different.  Note the following:

  1. David Beckham and Tierry Henry left their respective countries to play in America. 
  2. Bob is a doctor. His wife is a lawyer, so they are very busy with their respective careers.

infamous

What makes it so infamous for having unhealthy food?

Someone or something that is infamous is famous for something negative.  Note the following:

  1. New York is infamous for high rents.
  2. Mexico City is infamous for bad traffic.

joint

Every small town has at least one burger joint.

A joint is a small bar or restaurant that sells cheap food and drink.  Note the following:

  1. There is a good pizza joint down the street.
  2. Let's meet up at that new burger joint.

veggies

There was very little veggies.

The word 'veggies' is American slang for vegetables. note the following.

  1. My mother always told me to eat my veggies.
  2. People need to eat their veggies to stay healthy.

on the downside

On the downside they were very fattening.

The 'downside' of something is always negative.  Note the following:

  1. American football is an exciting game to play. On the downside, it can be quite dangerous.
  2. The downside of studying abroad is the cost.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
respective • infamous • joint
 veggies • downside
  1. After the trip we all went home to our houses.
  2. This salad is only letttuce, it has no other .
  3. The to living in a city is the noise and the traffic.
  4. She is for her bad temper.
  5. There is an excellent Vietnamese a few blocks away.