We’re back with our guests this week and talking about a beloved topic - food. George tells us about cosmopolitan cuisine in England, Nicole shares what it’s like to be a vegetarian in Chile, and Mariah tells us about Jello. Listen in!
Paige: Welcome back to Coffee with Gringos! I’m Paige Sutherland.
Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika. On this episode, we’re back with George and Nicole. And, we’re talking about everybody’s favorite topic in the entire world… food!
Mariah: Remember, if you get lost as you’re listening to us… I know that this week and last week might be a little bit more challenging because you’re listening to different voices than ours, right? And so, if you do get lost, don’t worry, head to our website and check out that transcript and vocabulary guide.
Paige: Perfect. Well, welcome back, George! Thanks so much for joining us again!
George: No problem, glad to be back.
Mariah: We’re happy to have you. Okay, food, the best topic. And remind our listeners where you’re from, how long you’ve been in Santiago.
George: So, I’m from England, and I’ve been in Chile for two and a half years. I was living in the south before, not the “real South.” Near Concepcion, the 8th region. And I’ve been in Santiago for about six months.
Mariah: Okay, awesome. Tell us about food where you’re from.
George: It’s controversial because English food is famous for being tasteless and boring, but I don’t think that’s a fair stereotype because: What is English food? This may be the same in the States, I’m not sure, but English food for me is, y’know, pasta one night and then Mexican the night and then Indian the next night. It’s very multicultural, at least now. I know some of the more stereotypical dishes are more plain. But for me, when I think of traditional English foods, it’s like soups, stews, and casseroles, which I don’t like to be perfectly honest. Shepherd's pie, fish & chips is the obvious one, curry. In fact, our national dish is technically Tikka Masala.
Paige: Really? I guess that makes sense.
George: It’s not Indian. It’s like the British variation of curry, and it’s delicious! And I highly recommend it!
Paige: So, do you like British food overall?
George: If we’re talking about the traditional food, I would say no. It’s just, it’s not interesting enough. And I guess I’ve tried so many different foods from different places that it no longer interests me. But, in terms of the availability of all of these different foods, that’s one of my favorite things about England.
Paige: Yeah, no, that’s fair.
George: I imagine it’s similar in the States.
Mariah: I totally agree.
Paige: What you said was absolutely similar. I mean, when people think about American food, US food, it’s burgers, pizza, Starbucks, hot dogs. And I mean, yes, we do eat those things, but they’re more for like barbecues and special occasions. If you’re on a road trip, maybe you get a fast food burger, but normal dinner with your family is different multicultural foods - pasta, Mexican, Indian, everything.
Mariah: Totally, I completely agree. And Minnesota has some weird food.
Mariah: Yeah, hotdishes and casseroles, which are this crazy mix of different foods all together are really popular. Jello is a stereotypical dish that…
George: Is that a dish? Just as a side note, in England we call it jelly.
Mariah: Really?! So, jello in Minnesota is famous because we put so many things in it.
George: But it’s a savory dish? It’s a desert right?
Mariah: Actually, we call it fruit salad.
George: That’s generous!
Paige: So, a ton of sugar and some fruit.
Mariah: So, it’s different fruits, jello, and then usually whipped cream of sorts.
George: Nice! Salad!
Mariah: Sometimes, for example, my dad makes a “fruit salad” with jello, marshmallows, fruit, and whipped cream. And I would say that it’s probably 20% fruit and 80% other things.
George: I like the sound of that.
Paige: So if somebody asks, “What did you have for dinner, would you say a salad if you had this jello concoction?”
Mariah: No, no, it’s not quite that bad. But, beyond those like strange, interesting foods that are just part of your background and family traditions, I completely agree with you… when people ask me what food I miss from the United States, I don’t say jello and other Minnesota foods. I said: “I miss Costa Rican food. I miss Vietnamese food. I miss really, really good tacos.” Y’know? Those are the foods that I miss because, yeah, there isn’t one definition of what food in the United States is.
Paige: So what do you miss?
George: From England?
George: Curries. Again, that’s probably not what you mean by English food, but curries are a big part of our diet now. There are a few really nice places here in Santiago, but it lacks the kick I’m looking for. I think people see me because I’m quite pale skinned. I’ll say, “Quite spicy please!” And they look at me, and they say, “He doesn’t mean it. He can’t handle it.” So they’re like “Okay… here’s your spicy dish.” But they’re taking away all the chili.
Paige: Does anyone here miss milk? Fresh milk?
George: No, but I have noticed that you can’t buy it.
Mariah: I miss chocolate milk!
Paige: Yeah, I miss peanut butter.
George: Peanut butter milk or peanut butter?
Paige: Nooo I miss fresh milk, separately from me missing peanut butter. I miss bagels.
Paige: Like a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel.
George: I love bagels.
Mariah: So tell us, now that we’ve chatted a little bit about the foods that we dearly miss, what food do you love here in Chile?
George: I think this might be too obvious of an answer, but empanadas.
Mariah: They’re great.
George: I don’t think I’ve had an empanada I don’t like. They’re really nice. What about you guys?
Paige: Yeah, I love the empanada mechada. That’s delicious. I love pastel de choclo. That’s something that’s very unique, and I think it tastes really good because I haven’t had something like that before.
Mariah: I also didn’t realize how many types of bread they have here.
George: Oh yeah!
Mariah: I love bread. I don’t eat bread as often as a lot of my Chilean friends do.
George: Every meal!
George: Which is delicious.
Mariah: Right, but I do love all the different types of bread. I didn’t realize there was such a huge variety.
Paige: It’s very worrisome though because the bread here is everywhere, it’s so cheap. I’m like, “I could use bread tonight with dinner!” And then I’m like… you don’t need it.
George: But I want it! It’s much nicer. I’m used to buying sliced bread in the packets in England. I would never go to a bakery. That would be nice, but it’s expensive. But here, it’s like you said, it’s cheap and delicious, so it’s not good for the waistline, but it’s tasty!
Mariah: I honestly think that my favorite food here is the meat at an asado.
George: YES. Barbecue meat.
Mariah: Barbecues in the United States, in my experience, I know that in the South of the United States and other regions, really, really good barbecued meat is more of a tradition. In Minnesota, it’s not so much, and so, barbecuing is more of a - at least for my family - you throw some hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, one person goes out and takes care of it, you eat, and that’s it. I love that it’s a marathon social event here in Chile, and the meat is fantastic because it takes time to cook.
George: In England, we don’t really have very many barbecues because there’s like four days of sun. But in Chile, it actually is not important if it’s raining, snowing, like… you’re having your asado. The weather is not going to stop you. I really admire that spirit.
Mariah: I do admire that too.
George: And also, it’s delicious, so I fully approve of that.
Mariah: And, we’re back with Nicole for the second part of our episodes with our guests. We just chatted with George, and now Nicole, could you remind our listeners where you’re from and how long you’ve been in Chile?
Nicole: Sure, I’m from Melbourne, Australia, and I’ve been in Chile for about ten months.
Mariah: Okay, fantastic. And, um, just like we talked about with George, our topic today is food.
Paige: Which we love.
Nicole: Love food!
Mariah: We were just saying that - everybody’s favorite topic. So, to start with, can you tell us a little bit about the foods you grew up with or maybe traditional foods in Australia?
Nicole: Oh, that’s a tough one because I feel like: “What are traditional foods for Australia?” We have borrowed from so many different cultures. And we are a British colony. So, initially, the food is not very exciting or varied. I grew up on meat and three vegetables. You know, every night, you’d get a different piece of meat and three different types of vegetables. That was your main dish. It was pretty plain. Then there are other cultures coming from China or parts of Asia, Europe. You get differing Italian and Asian cuisines. A big mix of all kinds of things. So, it’s pretty wide and varied. It’s difficult to pinpoint a traditional Australian cuisine. Even the meat pie, which is considered Australian, really comes from the UK.
Paige: It’s interesting you say that because I couldn’t think of one thing that’s Australian.
Mariah: And I think that’s a really good point is that y’know, the concept of a traditional food from a country is really changing because immigration, colonization, and all of these different forces transform food.
Nicole: Yes, exactly.
Paige: So, you’ve been here ten months?
Nicole: Ten months, yes!
Paige: What do you think of the food here? Do you have a favorite restaurant spot? A favorite dish that you like to order?
Nicole: My experience in Chile this time is a little different because now I’m a vegetarian.
Mariah: How do you do that here?!
Nicole: Exactly. Yeah, it’s a challenge. It’s a challenge.
Paige: You only eat bread.
Nicole: I eat at home a lot. I cook a lot of my own food. I haven’t discovered a lot of vegetarian restaurants here, as of yet.
Paige: Is there a food that you miss from home?
Nicole: Food that I miss from home… yeah, there are some things, like specific chocolate bars snacks that you can’t here.
Mariah: Right, comfort foods.
Nicole: Yeah, comfort food. I guess the breakfasts, like the big cooked breakfasts that you could get in cafes with poached eggs and avocado and tomatoes and mushrooms and hashbrowns and things like pancakes. They don’t have those big western style breakfasts here.
Mariah: Or the hearty omelettes. Yeah, that’s a good point. I miss that too.
Paige: I miss brunch.
Mariah: I miss brunch!!
Mariah: Is brunch popular in Melbourne?
Nicole: Absolutely! There is a huge brunch culture. Absolutely. That’s what I miss - going and meeting a friend for brunch and having a really fantastic meal.
Paige: Totally. That is so common at home. We didn’t really talk about this with George, but what do you think about the cost of food here? Is it different from Melbourne? Is it similar?
Nicole: Yes, I think it’s comparable with Melbourne. I find it very expensive to eat out here in Santiago, and I don’t eat out really at all, unless it’s a special occasion because I just can’t afford it. So, it’s limiting. It’s like Melbourne in the cost, yeah, it’s difficult.
Paige: When I first arrived here, I knew it was gonna be expensive, it’s comparable to Boston food prices. I don’t know about Minnesota, but I was doing the math in my head because I wasn’t quite in tune with the currency yet, and I was like, “Oh, that was so cheap!” And then I used my currency calculator, and I was like, “That was actually very expensive!” It’s very comparable to home.
Nicole: I think you can find places here that are definitely affordable, they’re just a little more fast food and not quite catering to vegetarians as much.
Paige: If you want a cheap completo, you can…
Mariah: Yeah, if you want a completo, you can definitely find that. Oh, that’s a good question! Okay, completos, they’re a really big thing here. In Australia, what’s a hot dog like? I know you’re a vegetarian…
Nicole: Yeah, yeah, but I used to love eating hot dogs, actually. Hot dogs are probably not as popular in Australia as they are here. You’d find hot dogs at sports games. They don’t put quite as much topping on them in Australia. You definitely wouldn’t find mayonnaise on a hot dog. Probably not avocado. They’re mostly ketchup, mustard, some cheese, some onions.
Mariah: Cheese is new!
Paige: Yeah, you wouldn’t find cheese on a hot dog in the US.
Nicole: Really?! Oh that’s interesting!
Paige: Mostly, everything you said, but the cheese.
Nicole: Yeah, so they like cheese on hot dogs in Australia.
Mariah: I mean, that sounds delicious. In my opinion, everything is better with cheese.
Nicole: I agree!
Paige: I have yet to try a completo here. It just looks like a lot of mayonnaise.
Mariah: I think they’re delicious!
Nicole: I’m a vegetarian, but previously, I did enjoy hot dogs, and sometimes on the street, I have looked at those completos and been tempted.
Mariah: I believe that!
Paige: I’m a vegetarian who sometimes eats completos… Is there a name for that?
Nicole: I haven’t eaten one yet. I look at them and think, “I’m really hungry, I could eat one of those.” No you can’t.
Paige: What do you think about the Chorrillana?
Nicole: Before, when I wasn’t a vegetarian, I quite liked the Chorrillana, it’s a big, ugly mess on a plate, but it’s quite delicious.
Mariah: It’s a big, delicious mess on a plate. I agree.
Paige: That’s very well said. Now that we made everyone hungry, why don’t we end this episode? So, thanks again for being here.
Mariah: Yeah, thanks so much for joining us! As for me, I think it’s time to eat. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.
KEY VOCABULARY, PHRASES, AND SLANG
Controversial (adjective) - causing argument or public disagreement
Example: It’s a controversial opinion, but I think that traditional English food is really boring.
Tasteless (adjective) - without flavor
Example: George thinks that traditional English food is pretty tasteless.
Stereotype (noun) - a belief that many people hold, often an oversimplified image or idea of a person or thing
Example: A stereotypical English dish is fish and chips.
Plain (adjective) - simple or basic
Example: In my opinion, traditional English foods are quite plain.
Road trip (noun) - a vacation that you take by car
Example: Sometimes we eat fast food when we’re on a road trip.
Hot dish (noun) - a combination of foods baked together in the oven
Example: In the Midwestern region of the United States, it’s very common to eat hot dish.
Casserole (noun) - a kind of stew that is cooked slowly in an oven
Example: There are many traditional casseroles in the Midwest of the United States.
Jello (noun) - gelatin, a common food in Minnesota
Example: Some people think it’s very strange that jello is a common food in Minnesota. For Mariah, it’s normal!
Concoction (noun) - a strange mix of things
Example: So if somebody asks, “What did you have for dinner, would you say a salad if you had this jello concoction?”
Curry (noun) - a dish of meat, vegetables, etc., cooked in an Indian-style sauce of strong spices
Example: Curries have become a big part of British cuisine.
Cuisine (noun) - a style or method of cooking
Example: Modern British cuisine includes food from all over the world.
Spicy (adjective) - hot, strong flavor
Example: I really miss spicy food! It’s not so popular in Chile.
It’s not good for the waistline (idiom) - an idiom used to describe foods that make you gain weight
Example: Empanadas are delicious, but they aren’t good for the waistline!
Pinpoint (verb) - specifically identify
Example: It’s difficult to pinpoint what traditional Australian cuisine is.
Comfort food (noun) - foods you eat that make you feel happy and at home
Example: I miss some typical comfort foods from Australia.
Brunch (noun) - a meal that’s a mix between breakfast and lunch
Example: Melbourne has a great brunch culture, and the food is just delicious!