IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 9|1. Culinary tools


1. Discuss these questions.

  • Who prepares the meals you eat? Do you ever cook? What do you think makes cooking easy, and what makes it difficult?
  • What is your opinion of time-saving kitchen equipment, such as a dishwasher or food processor?
  • What types of kitchen appliances and gadgets do you think will be useful in the future?

1. Skim this newspaper article about high-tech kitchen appliances and gadgets and answer this question:

What is the Counter Intelligence Group’s main aim?

A to find alternatives to cooking

B to produce and sell kitchen gadgets

C to encourage people to cook more

D to explain why fewer people cook

* about 600 words

Chips with everything

Scientists at MIT aim to ease culinary fears

Deep inside MIT — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — lies a room full of cutting-edge gizmos. The room belongs to the Counter Intelligence Group, an international team of experts brought together to invent gadgets to combat one of the biggest threats to modem America: that people are frankly hopeless in the kitchen.

This is counter intelligence with a difference. Think kitchen counters with built-in computers and you get the gist. It’s about software that trawls the Internet to find recipes for delicate pastries. It’s about electronic knives that raise the alarm if you’re hurrying your dinner. It’s about using cameras to spy on food, not an enemy.

By pooling its expertise, Counter Intelligence hopes to reverse a depressing trend that before long will make the kitchen obsolete. Mary people are too busy to cook, so they eat on the move or get a take-away. Following recipes can be an exercise in frustration. And then there’s the thought of washing up afterwards.

To address this problem, Counter Intelligence built a kitchen of its own and started making gadgets to fill it with. One idea that could take a lot of the drudgery out of cooking is the appropriately named Dishmaker, designed to do away with cupboards full of crockery and the endless cycle of washing and drying up. With the Dishmaker you can create the right number of plates, bowls and cups only when they’re needed, simply by pressing a button. When the meal is over, the crockery is fed back into the machine, where it is crushed and melted down, ready to be used again. The Dishmaker works by forcing granules of polymer, often acrylic, between twin hotplates to produce thin plastic sheets. Each sheet is then suspended briefly over an infrared lamp and blow-moulded to shape.

Inevitably, the Internet has a role to play in the kitchen. By installing an Internet-ready computer fitted with a camera in their kitchen, Counter Intelligence has created a system to help overcome the ‘What on earth can I make with this lot?’ dilemma. Wave the ingredients you have at the camera and, with luck, the computer will recognise them and search cyberspace for suitable recipes.

It’s all well and good knowing what to cook, but successfully following a recipe is not always easy. The group has developed a smart spoon that analyses whatever it is being used to stir. The spoon can be connected to a computer and programmed to follow a certain recipe. By taking readings from tiny temperature and pressure sensors, and salinity and acidity detectors, it can warn at each stage if whatever is being made is too hot or too cold, or if too much salt has been added.

For those of you who know how to cook, there are still tedious necessities, such as regularly checking the oven to make sure you haven’t incinerated your culinary masterpiece. Why bother peering through a clear door, when you can put a camera in the oven to broadcast snapshots of the activities in the oven to a screen in another room?

The kitchen has long been at the forefront of technology, the first room in the house to harness everything from fire and water to refrigeration and microwaves. But disturbing figures, like the fact that 20% of food consumed in the US is now eaten in the car, suggest modem life is eroding kitchen culture. Counter Intelligence hopes to redress the balance by making the kitchen more appealing: that way. people are more likely to spend time there.

Test spot

To read effectively, you need to make intelligent guesses about the meaning of words you don’t know, if they seem important in the context. Try to work it out from the surrounding words and sentences. Think also of what other words might fit the context.

2. Work out the approximate meaning of these words from the passage in the context. For each word write the word class and a brief definition.

Match the words from the text 1-10 with their definitions  a-j

1. combat (v) a) devices to measure and record something
2. pooling (v) b) no longer in use
3. obsolete (adj) c) hung
4. address (v) d) try to prevent something bad from happening or getting worse
5. granules (n) e) control something in order to use its power
6. suspended (v) f) deal with, try to solve
7. dilemma (n) g) collecting and using together
8. sensors (n) h) completely burned
9. incinerated (v) i) a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made
10. harness (v) j) very small grain-like pieces of a substance

3. Look at the list of gadgets A-I below. Match each action (1-5) with the gadget which can perform it.

Test spot

In matching tasks there will be more options that questions, and some will not be chosen. Read the questions and the list. Usually either the questions or the options are short. Find and underline these in the passage, then look for information about them.

List of Gadgets

A kitchen counter B electronic knife C fridge
D dishmaker E cupboard F bowl
G computer with camera H smart spoon I camera in oven door

Phrasal verbs with up

One of the most common particles used in phrasal verbs is up. If the main verb has its normal meaning, up can function in three main ways:

a up means an upward movement, increase or improvement, for example, speak up ( — speak more loudly)

b up means very much or frilly, for example, eat up (= eat all the food)

c up has no specific meaning, for example, make up (in the meaning to invent)

1. Decide how up is functioning in each of these sentences, choosing among a, b and c above.

2. Match each phrasal verb in italics with the best definition. If you don’t know the meaning, think about what meaning would fit the context, and make an intelligent guess.

3. Read this text about someone complaining about having to do housework. Notice how the particle up sometimes expresses the idea of completing or totally finishing something.

I spent all morning yesterday clearing up1 my study. There were books and papers everywhere. Then I had to sweep up2 the rubbish and dead leaves on the
After that I tried to tidy up3 my bedroom. There were dirty clothes all jumbled up4 in a pile on the floor. 1 had to hang up5 four jackets and several pairs of trousers I’d left lying on chairs. That took me an hour. Then I discovered the washbasin was clogged up6 in the bathroom, so I had to clear that. By that time I’d used up7 all my energy and I was too tired to do anything, so I just fell asleep on the sofa.

1 making a place tidy and clean, especially by putting things where they usually belong
2 remove rubbish or dirt, usually from the floor, using a brush
3 make a room or a group of things tidy by putting things in the correct place

4 (adjective) mixed together in an untidy way (from the verb jumble up)
5 hang something, especially clothes, on a hook
6 blocked
7 finished a supply of something

Note how the particle up can be used for emphasis:

Eat up your vegetables, children! Drink up your juice! Paul’s used up all the milk.

These three sentences could be written without up, but using up emphasises the meaning of ‘finish it all or completely’.

4. Read this live Internet chat between Robert and Gemma and remember the meaning of the highlighted words.

1 arrived, especially at a place where people were expecting her
2 arrived
3 started a new shop or business
4 make something more interesting and exciting
5 (noun) the way that something is arranged (from the verb
set up)
6 separate something into smaller parts or groups
7 cutting something, especially food, into small pieces

5. Look at the picture and answer the questions.



1. What does the woman need to tidy up?
2. What does she need to sweep up?
3. What must she hang up?
4. What are jumbled up on the floor?
5. How might she feel when she has cleared everything up?


Discuss the questions

— Have there been any changes in the type of food eaten in your country? If so, can you say why?

— Can you suggest what types of food we would eat if chopsticks, knives, forks and spoons hadn’t been invented?

Test spot

Completing a flow chart is very similar to completing notes or sentences. The answers come in the same order as in the recording, and come either from the recording or from a box. Remember to write no more than the maximum number of words. Before listening, read the flow chart and predict words that might fit each space.

1. You are going to hear a talk about the history of knives, forks and spoons. The talk is in two parts.

listen and write


Questions 1-7

Questions 1-7

 In Europe, knives have been used as weapons, tools, and eating utensils since prehistoric times, and spoons are equally ancient.  In the early Stone Age, tense of thousands of years ago, it seems that in Southern Europe spoons were made of shells —  evidence for these includes the effect that later the Greek and Latin words for a spoon come from the word for the shell of a snail. In Northern Europe, road was probably the most common material, and again there’s linguistic evidence for this.

Though forks are much more recent, they trace there origins back over 2000 years, to the Ancient Greeks. Their forks had two tines — the points that go into the food  — and where designed to hold meet steady while it was carved and served. The tines allowed it to slide off easily.

By the 7th century, royal courts of The Middle East had begun to use forks at the table for dining. Forks became fairly common among the wealthy in Byzantium — modern Istanbul -and in the 11th century, they were introduced into Italy. The Italians, however, were slow to start using them.

During the Middle Ages — very roughly from the 9th or 10th century up and to including the 15th — Europeans used knives and their fingers for eating. Hosts didn’t provide knives for their guests, and most people carried their own. in sheaths attached to their belts. These knives had pointed ends, and were used to spear food and raise it to the mouth.

Spoons of the Middle Ages were generally made of wood or horn, although royalty often had spoons made of gold, and other wealthy families might have silver ones,. From about the 14th century, spoons made of brass, pewter and other metals became common. The use of pewter especially nude spoons more affordable for ordinary people.

Complete the sentences below.

Write NO MORE THAN ONE WORD for each answer.

Questions 8-14

Questions 8-14

By the 16th century, forks were in everyday use in Italy, and in 1533 they were brought from Italy to France, when an Italian noblewoman married the future king of France. At first, using them was thought to be pretentious, and they were slow to catch on.

In the early 17th century, an Englishman named Thomas Coryate brought the first forks back to England after seeing them in Italy during his travels. The English, however, thought forks unnecessary, treated them with ridicule, and continued to use their hands. But slowly forks became fashionable among the wealthy. Small, slender, handled forks with two tines were used for sweet, sticky foods or for food which was likely to stain the fingers. By the middle of the 17th century, forks used solely for dining were luxuries, made of expensive materials. They indicated social status and sophistication, and were intended to impress guests.

Early table forks, like kitchen forks, had two fairly long, widely spaced tines, which ensured that meat wouldn’t twist while it was being cut, but small pieces of food fell between the tines. In late 17th century France, larger forks with four tines were developed. Diners were now less likely to drop food, and as the tines were curved, forks served as a scoop, so people didn’t have to constantly switch to a spoon while eating.

The fact that knives were still used as weapons always posed the threat of danger at the dinner table. However, once forks began to gain popular acceptance – forks being more efficient for spearing food – there was no longer any need for a sharp tip at he the end of a dinner knife. In 1669, the king of  France declared knives like this illegal on the street or at the dinner table, and he had all knife tips ground down, in order to reduce violence. Other design changes followed. Cutlers, who manufactured knives, began to make the blunt ends wider and rounder so that small pieces of food could be piled on the knife and carried to the mouth.

The birth of blunt-tipped knives in Europe had a lasting effect on American dining etiquette. At the beginning of the 18th century, very few forks were being imported to America. However knives were being brought in and their tips became progressively blunter,

Because Americans had very few forks and no longer had sharp-tipped knives, they had to use spoons in place of forks. They would use the spoon to steady food as they cut, and then switch the spoon to the opposite hand in order to scoop up food to eat. This style of eating has continued to the present day, though with the fork replacing the spoon: many Americans cut their food, then lay the knife down and hold only the fork while they eat.

During the last hundred years or so, the ornamental styles of cutlery popular in previous centuries have given way to much plainer designs, and stainless steel has replaced many of the materials used earlier. Now there’s a whole range of cutlery intended for different purposes in the kitchen or dining room – including different spoons for soup, dessert, tea, coffee; knives for main course, steak, grapefruit; forks for cake, main course, dessert. And the list grows longer as new specialized implements are invented.

Complete the sentences below using words from the box.

affected blunt commonplace curved illegal laughable luxurious ornamental pointed refined simple widely spaced


cutting-edge /ˌkʌt.ɪŋˈedʒ/ /ˌkʌt̬-/ adjective [ before noun ]

very modern and with all the newest features

cutting-edge design/technology

gizmo plural gizmos /ˈgɪz.məʊ/ /-moʊ/ noun [ C ] INFORMAL

any small device with a particular purpose

electronic gizmos

counterintelligence /ˌkaʊn.tə.rɪnˈtel.ɪ.dʒən t  s/ /-tɚ.ɪn ̬ -/ noun [ U ]

secret action taken by a country to prevent another country from discovering its military, industrial or political secrets

counter /ˈkaʊn.tə r / /-tɚ/ ̬ verb [ I or T ]

to react to something with an opposing opinion or action; to defend yourself against something

The Prime Minister countered the opposition’s claims about health service cuts by say ing that the government had increased spending in this area.

When criticisms were made of the school’s performance, the parents’ group countered with details of its examination results.

Extra police have been moved into the area to counter the risk of violence.

trawl /trɔːl/ /trɑːl/ verb SEARCH

  1. [ I or T usually + adverb or preposition ] to search among a large number or many different places in order to find people or information you want

The newspaper had trawled its files for photos of the new minister.

You need to trawl through a lot of data to get results that are valid.

pool /puːl/ verb [ T ]

to collect something such as money or resources in order for it to be used by several different people or groups

Three schools in Putney have pooled their resources/money in order to buy an area of waste ground and turn it into a sports field.

obsolete /ˌɒb.s ə lˈiːt/ /ˌɑːb-/ adjective

not in use any more, having been replaced by something newer and better or more fashionable

Gas lamps became obsolete when electric lighting was invented.

drudge /drʌdʒ/ noun [ C ]

I feel like a real drudge — I’ve done nothing but clean all day!

infrared /ˌɪn.frəˈred/ adjective

a type of light that feels warm but cannot be seen

Their pilots are guided by an infrared optical system that shows images clearly even at night.

mould UK , US mold /məʊld/ /moʊld/ verb

  1. [ T ] to make a soft substance a particular shape

This plastic is going to be moulded into plates.

The children moulded little pots out of/from (= made them by shaping) clay.

incinerate /ɪnˈsɪn. ə r.eɪt/ /-ə.reɪt/ verb [ T ]

to burn something completely

to incinerate waste

The spacecraft and its crew were incinerated by the billion-degree temperatures generated by the fireball.

harness /ˈhɑː.nəs/ /ˈhɑːr-/ verb [ T ]

  1. to put a harness on a horse, or to connect a horse to a vehicle using a harness
  2. to control something, usually in order to use its power

There is a great deal of interest in harnessing wind and waves as new sources of power.

clog /klɒg/ /klɑːg/ verb [ I or T ] to (cause something to) become blocked or filled so that movement or activity is difficult

The roads are clogged with holiday traffic.

Eating too much fat causes your arteries to clog (up).

Leaves are clogging (up) the drain.

flowchart /ˈfləʊ.tʃɑːt/ /ˈfloʊ.tʃɑːrt/ noun [ C ] (ALSO flow diagram)

a diagram (= simple plan) which shows the stages of a process

cutlery /ˈkʌt.lə.ri/ /-lɚ.i/ noun [ U ] UK (US USUALLY silverware) knives, forks and spoons used for eating food

flatware /ˈflæt.weə r / /-wer/ noun [ U ] US


crockery /ˈkrɒk. ə r.i/ /ˈkrɑː.kɚ-/ noun [ U ] UK OLD-FASHIONED

cups, plates, bowls, etc., used to serve food and drink, especially made of china

sheath /ʃiːθ/ noun [ C ]

  1. a close-fitting covering to protect something

The cable has a copper wire surrounded by a plastic sheath.

The nerves are protected by thin sheaths of fatty tissue.

  1. a cover into which a knife or sword fits so that the blade cannot cut someone when it is not being used

He drew the knife from its jewelled leather sheath.

pewter /ˈpjuː.tə r / /-tɚ/ ̬ noun [ U ]

a bluish grey metal which is a mixture of tin and lead

a pewter plate/tankard

scoop /skuːp/ noun [ C ] TOOL

  1. a tool with a deep bowl-shaped end which is used to dig out and move a soft or powdery substance

a measuring scoop

an ice-cream scoop

spear /spɪə r / /spɪr/ verb [ T ]

  1. to push or throw a spear into an animal

They catch the fish by spearing them.

  1. to catch something on the end of a pointed tool or object

He speared a meatball with his fork.

poke /pəʊk/ /poʊk/ verb PUSH

  1. [ T ] to push a finger or other pointed object quickly into someone or something

You’ll poke someone in the eye with that umbrella if you’re not careful!

Two kids were poking a stick into the drain.

dwindle /ˈdwɪn.dl ̩/ verb [ I ]

to become smaller in size or amount, or fewer in number

The community has dwindled to a tenth of its former size in the last two years.

Her hopes of success in the race dwindled last night as the weather became worse.

staple /ˈsteɪ.pl/ ̩ noun [ C ] BASIC

  1. a main product or part of something

Shortages mean that even staples (= basic foods) like bread are difficult to find.

Phosphate has been a staple of this area for many years.

Romantic fiction and reference books are a staple of many public libraries.

abattoir /ˈæb.ə.twɑː r / /-twɑːr/ noun [ C ] MAINLY UK (MAINLY US slaughterhouse)

a place where animals are killed for their meat

coarse /kɔːs/ /kɔːrs/ adjective ROUGH

  1. rough and not smooth or soft, or not in very small pieces

coarse sand/breadcrumbs

Linen is a coarse -grained fabric.

live up to sth phrasal verb

to be as good as something

The concert was brilliant — it lived up to all our expectations.

meticulous /məˈtɪk.jʊ.ləs/ adjective APPROVING

very careful and with great attention to every detail

Many hours of meticulous preparation have gone into writing the book.

heed /hiːd/ verb [ T ] FORMAL

to pay attention to something, especially advice or a warning

The airline has been criticized for failing to heed advice/warnings about lack of safety routines.

allocate /ˈæl.ə.keɪt/ verb [ T ]

to give something to someone as their share of a total amount, for them to use in a particular way

The government is allocating £10 million for health education.

[ + two objects ] As project leader, you will have to allocate people jobs/allocate jobs to people.

It is not the job of the investigating committee to allocate blame for the disaster/to allocate blame to individuals.

multi-faceted /ˌmʌl.tiˈfæs.ɪ.tɪd/ /-tiˈfæs.ɪ.t ̬ ɪd̬ / adjective

having many different parts

It’s a multi-faceted business, offering a range of services.

repercussion /ˌriː.pəˈkʌʃ. ə n/ /-pɚ-/ noun [ C usually plural ]

the effect that an action, event or decision has on something, especially a bad effect

Any decrease in tourism could have serious repercussions for the local economy.

President Kennedy’s assassination had far-reaching repercussions.

1. Choose the best verb from the box to fill the gaps in this e-mail. Use a different verb in each gap and write it in the correct form.

show up   turn up   open up   liven up   set up   divide up   chop up

2. Choose the correct answer to complete these sentences. Sometimes there is more than one possible answer.

Expressions in English – Food

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