Ordering breakfast may be a challenge – vocabulary, reading and listening comprehension lesson (B1 – B2)

Ordering food in a restaurant is never easy and can turn into quite a process. Simply saying “Pizza, please.” or “Scrambled eggs, please.” is usually not enough and the customers will surely be asked some other questions relating to their order. After my last visit to the US, where I was served in numerous restaurants and diners, I decided  to bring this real language into the classroom and teach my students how to cope with the challenges of ordering food. Today I would like to focus on buying breakfast, especially breakfast with eggs.

It would be excellent if you found the suggested text and exercises useful. I will also appreciate your comments. Have fun with the English lesson.

Below you will find the dialogue and all the exercises recommended for your students.

Ordernig breakfast may be a challenge – text and student worksheet (printable)

Here you can find an example of breakfast menu at one of Chicago’s restaurants Eggsperience – breakfast menu

Ordering breakfast may be a challenge

 

Alice The Waitress: Hello, Welcome to Mel’s Diner. May I get you some coffee or juice before I take your order?

Scarlett The Hungry Customer: Good morning. Yes, we will both be having coffee. We are in a bit of a hurry so may we place our order now, as well?

Alice: Absolutely! What do you have a taste for this morning? We are known for our Berry Pancakes and our homemade biscuits.

Scarlett: Sounds yummy, but I really have a taste for something with eggs, sausage and toast. Could you recommend something? I’m really hungry.

Alice: Well, I think the Mediterranean Omelet is pretty good. It comes with hash browns and your choice of white, rye, or wheat toast or pancakes. If you’re very hungry you may add some meat or fruit for an extra fee.

Scarlett: That one caught my eye on the menu. I love feta cheese. I will go with that along with rye toast. What are the breakfast meats you mentioned?

Alice: Well, we have Off The Bone Ham, Thick-Cut Smoked Bacon, Sausage Links, Corned Beef Hash, Canadian Bacon, and Turkey Sausage.

Scarlett: On second thought, I’ll be ok without the meat. But would you make certain my hash browns are well-done?

Alice: Yes, Dear.

(addressing the man) And how about you young man? What are you having this morning?

Rickie: I too would like some eggs, but I’m not a big fan of omelets. How else does the cook prepare them? I’m tired of the same old overcooked ones I have at home.

Alice: Good question. You may have them scrambled, sunny-side up, over easy or medium, poached, or hard boiled. If you’re looking for something sweet and spicy you may want to try our Southwest Eggs Benedict. They are two poached eggs served on an English muffin with a spicy sausage, jalapeno peppers, and onions. It is topped with a wonderful creamy sauce. It’s yummy yummy!

Rickie: Wow! That sounds amazing. I’ll have that, but may I substitute my jalapeno peppers with sliced tomatoes?

Alice: Sure thing, Honey.

May I get either of you cream, sugar or sweetener for your coffee?

Scarlett & Rickie: Yes, please!

Alice: ok! I’ll be back in a jiffy.

 

Ex. 1   How much did you understand? Check it out.

Read the dialogue. Are the sentences true (T) or false (F)? Correct the false sentences.

 

  1. As in most restaurants, the waitress starts with offering something to drink.
  2. Scarlett and Rickie do not need to hurry and may spend a lot of time in the diner.
  3. Scarlett would like to eat some eggs, but to make a decision she needs some help from the waitress.
  4. The special omelet recommended by Alice is served with one of three different kinds of toast.
  5. Scarlett’s final decision is to have some meat.
  6. Rickie is bored with scrambled eggs he has at home.
  7. Rickie is not a big fan of jalapeno peppers.
  8. Eggs Benedict is a traditional American breakfast dish which has hard boiled eggs.
  9. Scarlett and Rickie drink their coffee with cream.
  10. By saying “I’ll be back in a jiffy.”, Alice assures her customers that she will be back in a moment.

How would you like your eggs? – make pairs of the pictures and the words

How would you like your eggs? – match the audio words and the pictures


Ex. 2   Do you remember what types of eggs you may order for breakfast? Do you know what they are like?

Match the definitions with the correct words in the box.

hard-boiled               over easy              scrambled               sunny-side up               poached            omelet
  1. while being heated, the eggs are stirred gently – ………………………………
  2. the eggs are fried on one side and never flipped – ………………………………
  3. the eggs are fried on both sides, but not cooked for very long on the other side – ………………………………
  4. the eggs are cracked into a bowl and then cooked in hot water – ………………………………
  5. the eggs are boiled in shells until the white and the yolk both solidify – ………………………………
  6. beaten eggs cooked without stirring until set and served folded in half – ………………………………

 

Ex. 3   How about learning some language of ordering food in a diner?

Read the text again. Then complete the sentences without looking at the text. Use the words and phrases in the box.

 

recommend       May I get you       topped with        fan of        go with       comes with        taste for       substitute       place

 

  1. …………… some coffee or juice before I take your order?
  2. We are in a bit of a hurry, so may we ……………… our order now?
  3. What do you have a …………… this morning?
  4. Could you ……………… something?
  5. It …………… hash browns and your choice of white, rye, or wheat toast.
  6. I will …………… that along with rye toast.
  7. It is …………… a wonderful creamy sauce.
  8. May I …………… my jalapeno peppers with sliced tomatoes?
  9. I’m not a big …………… omelets.

Complete the sentences and win a million


Ex. 4   It’s time to be creative and practice the language of ordering food in a diner.

Work in groups of three. On the basis of the conversation prepare a short dialogue. Use the phrases below.

May I get you (something to drink)?

May we place our order now?

What do you have a taste for?

It comes with (hash browns and …).

I will go with (that) along with (rye toast).

I’m not a big fan of (omelets).

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

And finally, I have something special – a short extract from an old movie, ‘My Cousin Vinny’ in which Vinny is trying to eat grits for breakfast. Have you ever eaten grits? If not, it is a real must, especially in the south of the States. This dish is made from ground corn boiled in water and it is usually served for breakfast. Not convinced yet? Watch the movie and do the quiz.


1) What part of the day may it be?
1. morning 2. late afternoon 3. evening 4. night
2) Why is Vinny concerned about his cholesterol level?
1. Because it is an ongoing problem in the country. 2. Because he’s going to eat a hamburger. 3. Because the cook takes a spoonful of lard*.
*Lard is pure animal fat.
3) What food is there on the plate?
1. Two eggs, bacon and grits. 2. One egg, porridge and two sausages. 3. Two eggs, bacon and porridge.
4) What is grits?
1. a dish made from flour 2. a dish made from corn 3. a dish made from honey
5) How do you cook grits?
1. You simmer it in water for 15-20 minutes. 2. You simmer it in water for 30 minutes. 3. You simmer it in water with some butter.

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