Listen to this Episode of "Coffee with Gringos" here or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.


Paige: You are listening to Coffee with Gringos. I'm Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I'm Mariah Wika. This week on the podcast, we're doing things a little bit differently. Instead of Coffee with Gringos, we are cooking with gringos! So, in order to teach you that vocabulary about food and about cooking, Paige and I will actually be making a meal.

Paige: So, we apologize in advance, we are cooking - not a Chilean dish...

Mariah: No, unfortunately. We don't have the talent for that.

Paige: We do not have the talent, so we kept it pretty basic. We are doing the American, Italian dish, lasagna.

Mariah: Exactly.

Paige: And it's gonna be a pretty basic lasagna. Just meat, cheese, pasta. No frills.

Mariah: Nothing too crazy.

Paige: Okay. So to start, we went to the supermarket earlier. We got all our ingredients. We got the pasta. Check. We got the meat. The sauce. Three types of cheese.

Mariah: Three types of cheese.

Paige: Which, I could have done more. You're from the Midwest.

Mariah: Absolutely. I think that three types was really lowballin' it.

Paige: So we've got mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan. 

Mariah: And we have red wine. So we are ready. 

Paige: It's gonna be a great meal. Okay, so the first thing that you have to do when you cook lasagna is you have to cook the meat and cook the pasta.

Mariah: And we're cooking with beef, and so we're going to brown the beef.
Paige: Okay, so the first thing we're going to do is we're going to get a pan out and brown the meat and then a pot... we're going to put some water in and boil the pasta. Check.

Mariah: Neither Paige nor I are master chefs. I think that's an important thing to know. But we're going to try our best. Paige, usually during the cooking shows, I feel like the chef kind of explains why they have an emotional connection to the dish. Is lasagna special to you?

Paige: I'm a picky eater. 

Mariah: No! Paige!

Paige: I know. It's like such a bad flaw that I have. Lasagna for me is something that is comfort food. It's pasta, it's meat, it's cheese. It's just very basic and very filling too. You eat a piece of lasagna, and that's it. You're content.

Mariah: You're full.

Paige: So, for my picky eating habits. Lasagna is perfect.

Mariah: Excellent. I love it.

Paige: What about you? Are you a lasagna fan?

Mariah: The reason that lasagna is the perfect meal for my family is because we have carnivores, meat-eaters, and vegetarians, and so when we make lasagna, we can always make one meat lasagna and one vegetarian lasagna. And so that vegetarian lasagna has mushrooms and peppers and onions and maybe eggplant, and obviously the meat lasagna is beef. Everybody's happy.

Paige: That's the best thing about lasagna is you can personalize it. Like we're making probably the basic lasagna, but you can put mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini, merken, whatever you want. 

Mariah: Plenty of ingredients, exactly.

Paige: Okay, so sauteing the meat. 

Mariah: Okay, so we've established that Paige and I are not master chefs. But Paige, do you have a favorite thing to cook?

Paige: Yes, I was kind of known for this in college because I lived with some of my best friends. We had a house off campus, and I'm a creature of habit. Like I said, I'm a picky eater. So I like to eat the same things, so I would always make chicken, rice, and broccoli. I'm just someone... I don't know, normal food eaters need to mix it up. They need different meals every night. They can't have the same thing. Every night, I would eat chicken, rice, and broccoli. Yeah, with a little bit of soy sauce in the rice because you can't have just plain white rice. Every night and very happy.

Mariah: So just a classic stove-top, pan-fried chicken breast and then broccoli and rice.

Paige: Yeah, I'm so basic. It's like... protein, got a little bit of starch, got my vegetables. Check.

Mariah: You were happy. Wow. 

Paige: What about you?

Mariah: I think my answers not so dramatically different. I do a lot of stove-top meals... right? Like, what can I saute together, that's my dream, usually. So, usually I just chop up a lot of different vegetables. Peppers and onions, maybe some broccoli, some mushrooms... I pick a protein, whether that be fish or usually chicken. Again, similar to you, I'm more of a fan of that. And then I like to add loads of spices. So, I saute the vegetables. I love garlic, I love onion, and then I just saute all of those with the vegetables, add the protein, season it, and usually call it good.

Paige: The older I've gotten, I enjoy cooking more.

Mariah: Also, just to clarify... the older Paige has gotten... How old are you, Paige?

Paige: ...29. I'm older now! I'm getting up there!

Mariah: As Paige has aged...

Paige: I think when I was younger, like in college, I was eating to eat. To live. I had to eat. I didn't have the money to go out and buy food, so I made cheap, easy food. But now, as I've gotten older, I've been a little better about cooking. But, at the same time, for those of you that know... when you go online, there's thousands of recipes, but a lot of them require spices or ingredients that you don't have. Or this and that. And so it's sometimes difficult to make an elaborate meal because you don't have 90% of the ingredients in your kitchen.

Mariah: I think cooking can be really intimidating... some people feel when they see all of those ingredients that they don't have or these techniques that they don't understand, they think, "this isn't for me! I'm just gonna make some chicken, rice, and broccoli, and call it a day!" 

Paige: And sometimes, too, you will go the extra mile, right? You go out to the store, get all of these crazy ingredients, follow all of these ingredients to the T, and then you make it, and it's not good! 

Mariah: And it tastes like crap.

Paige: And you spend the time, money, energy, everything... and then you go, "oh, this doesn't really taste good."

Mariah: I don't mind cooking for myself because I will eat legitimately anything, but sometimes cooking for other people gives me serious social anxiety. Because I put in this effort, and I buy the ingredients, and cooking is a way of showing people you care! And so when I serve them this ugly plate, and it's not that tasty... man, it's a terrible feeling. Speaking of making dinner, things are looking good. Our meat is browning well, and relatively soon, we'll be ready to add some pasta.

Paige: Progress. Little by little. So, me and Mariah are not expert cooks. We forgot to preheat the oven. We're doing it now. Mariah, what is 350 in Celsius. 

Mariah: We have preheated the oven to 170. 

Paige: Check. And the meat is browning, actually quite well. And I think I hear the water boiling!

Mariah: Amazing! We're ready to cook some pasta.

Paige: Maybe I should put this pasta in. Right on schedule. 

Mariah: Okay, so we've added the sauce to the meat, so that's lookin' good. The pasta is boiling away. So that's perfect. And now, what are we about to do Paige?

Paige: So, now that all of our pre-cooking is more or less done, we need to make the cheese. 

Mariah: Make the cheese? What does that mean, Paige?

Paige: So, we have a few cheeses, but the layer of cheese has a few other ingredients besides cheese. So, Mariah, you're in charge of this. I'm going to give you a bowl. 

Mariah: Put me in, coach.

Paige: So, what we need to do is add one cup of mozzarella. So, one cup of mozzarella. We need all of the ricotta. 

Mariah: I love cheese so much. 

Paige: It is a requirement in the Midwest.

Mariah: Yeah, it's part of our DNA. 

Paige: All of this ricotta. A quarter cup of parmesan. 

Mariah: Perfect. We can do that. Paige is laughing at me because I'm eating little bits of every type of cheese... because remember, we have three types of cheese.

Paige: You're only doing it because you want to make sure it's safe for me to eat.

Mariah: Exactly. I'm testing it first. Very selfless.

Paige: After that, then we need an egg. 

Mariah: Usually cooking shows have visuals, but now you can imagine. You can use your imagination to imagine the amazing food that we're cooking.

Paige: Hopefully you're inspired when you're listening to this, so you're cooking at the same time that you're listening. So now, the meat is done, the pasta is done. I'm just going to drain the pasta.

Mariah: The cheese is mixed. Do you have a colander for the pasta? Perfect. 

Paige: We're draining. Lots of pasta.

Mariah: You can either say draining it or straining it. Both verbs are perfectly fine.

Paige: Okay! Pasta is thoroughly cooked. That's very hot. Very, very hot. Okay. And now, we're gonna take the pasta and just go at it. It's hot, so be careful. Okay, we are layering. It is very, very hot pasta. Okay, so we have a full pasta layer, now we're going to add our sauce and meat mixture. We spread that out. 

Mariah: Delicious! No, but seriously, it looks really good.

Paige: So, we have the pasta, the meat sauce... now we're adding our cheese mixture.

Mariah: Right, so you need to spread the cheese evenly across the mixture. 

Paige: Now we have the cheese... now we're going to add the same thing, just repeat. So, more pasta. Another meat layer, right?

Mariah: I'm testing the pasta, and I can tell you, it's good. It's edible. It's nice.

Paige: That's the key when you make lasagna is you need multiple layers...

Mariah: You've gotta ration those ingredients.

Paige: Okay! Meat's done. Now the cheese mixture. We now have three layers of pasta, meat, and cheese. Just because we love cheese, we're going to add the final layer.

Mariah: We're going to top it off by sprinkling some mozzarella and some parmesan on top.

Paige: Because you can never have too much cheese.

Mariah: This is not freshly grated parmesan at all, but I would recommend this.

Paige: It's Unimarc. Okay, now the last thing you do is you put tinfoil over the top so that it doesn't burn the cheese because given the temperature of the oven, it would burn it. So you want to put tinfoil, put it in the oven for 45 minutes, and then we'll eat! Sorry this is a podcast, and you don't get to enjoy our food.

Mariah: We wish we could share with you. 

Paige: Alright, we're puttin' it in! 

Mariah: Alright. The lasagna is in the oven, Paige and I are going to sit down and wait with a glass of red wine. Thanks so much for listening, and we'll talk to you soon.


No frills (idiom) - nothing fancy

Example: We’ll be making lasagna, a very basic dish. No frills!

To get ingredients (phrase) - to buy the things you need to make your dish *remember that get is used in many ways. In this case, it means to buy or obtain.

Example: Today, we went to the supermarket to get ingredients!

Raw (adjective) - uncooked

Example: The hamburger meat is raw.

To brown meat (phrase) - to cook meat on the stovetop, frequently used to talk about hamburger

Example: First, we have to brown the meat in the pan.

Picky eater (noun) - a person who is very particular about food and does not eat many foods

Example: I was surprised to discover that Paige is a picky eater because she’s usually such an adventurous person!

Vegetarian (noun) - a person who doesn’t eat meat

Example: Lasagna is perfect for our family because it makes the meat-eaters and vegetarians happy.

To saute (verb) - to cook something in a pan on the stovetop

Example: I really like to saute vegetables and eat them with rice or pasta.

Creature of habit (idiom) - a person who really likes routine and comfortable things

Example: Paige is a creature of habit. In college, she ate chicken and broccoli almost every night!

To chop (verb) - to cut into small pieces

Example: Please chop the peppers.

To season (verb) - to add spices to your dish

Example: I like to season my food with lots of interesting spices. It adds more flavor!

Go the extra mile (idiom) - to exceed your usual effort

Example: Sometimes we go the extra mile and cook something really special.

To preheat the oven (phrase) - to put the oven at the correct temperature to cook your food

Example: We preheated the oven to 170 degrees.

To drain (verb) - to separate liquid from your food

Example: The pasta is done cooking. Now we need to drain it!

Colander/Strainer (noun) - a kitchen utensil with small holes that you use to drain water from pasta, lentils, or other foods

To mix (verb) - to combine ingredients

Example: We mixed all four types of cheese together in a bowl.

To spread (verb) - to extend something over an area

Example: We need to spread the pasta sauce over the lasagna noodles.

To sprinkle (verb) - to add a small amount

Example: We sprinkled cheese on top of the lasagna.