085 - british Tea Time and baking vocabulary with charlie

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In this episode, we have a special guest. His name is Charlie Baxter and he's the host of the British English Podcast. We talk about the British Bake Off and he helps me understand the terminology used in it.

The American English Podcast

The American English Podcast

By Shana Thompson

Hi everyone!

In this episode, we have a special guest. His name is Charlie Baxter and he’s the host of the British English Podcast. We talk about tea time and Britain and the British Bake Off. There are many words that differ between British and American English when it comes to baking and he helps me understand many of them! Listen in to learn more! 🙂 

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085 – Chat with Charlie Part 1.mp3 transcript powered by Sonix—easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

085 – Chat with Charlie Part 1.mp3 was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best audio automated transcription service in 2020. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Hi, everybody, my name is Shana and this is the American English Podcast. My goal here is to teach you the English spoken in the United States. Through common expressions, pronunciation tips and interesting cultural snippets or stories, I hope to keep this fun, useful and interesting. Let’s do it!

Shana:
Hi, everyone. Today, we have a special guest on the show. His name is Charlie Baxter and he is an ESL teacher from Surrey, England. Hi, Charlie.

Charlie:
Hello. Lovely to be here. Very nice pronunciation of the county. Yes, Surrey.

Shana:
Yeah, I know it from “The Holiday.” Right? That’s the film that Surrey is in?

Charlie:
That’s right. Yeah. That’s where they’re filmed. Yeah, exactly that.

Shana:
Great. Yeah. It’s very beautiful. So, how are you doing today?

Charlie:
I’m good, thank you. Yeah. I’m actually currently residing in Sydney, Australia. So I’ve um. Yeah I’ve, I’ve run away from my home nation largely due to the weather. But I will be going back there in a couple of years, probably.

Shana:
Gotcha, and permanently?

Charlie:
Hmm… I don’t know, I think for the next five years after that we’ll be in the UK. But we’ll see. We’ll see if the weather makes me want to run away again.

Shana:
All right. So that would be with your girlfriend, right? I remember you mentioning the last time we spoke that you have a girlfriend who’s there with you in Australia, right?

Charlie:
That’s right. Yeah. I managed to drag her over here with me. It didn’t take too much convincing, but I’m in the bad books with her mother, my mother-in-law to be at the moment.

Shana:
Oh, OK. So she stayed in Surrey. Is your girlfriend from Surrey as well?

Charlie:
She’s actually in a place near Wales.

Shana:
Near Wales. Ok, yeah, interesting.

Charlie:
Called Hereford.

Shana:
Ok. Well Charlie has a YouTube channel called Real English with Real Teachers. He recently launched a podcast called the British English Podcast where he talks about British English, of course, and the language and culture of Britain. Is that right?

Charlie:
That’s good, yes. Spot on. I don’t need to add anything. Very nice work.

Shana:
And I just want to clarify for the audience that might be listening. When you say British English or Britain, do you mean Great Britain?

Charlie:
Um the British Isles. Yeah. Yeah, I could say Great Britain. I mean, I would say that the culture expands over to Northern Ireland as well. So it’d kind of be the UK, but they’ve got they’ve got very different traditions and cultures as well. But yeah, you could separate Scotland, England and Wales in their own identity, of course. But yeah, when I say Great Britain, I kind of mean the culture around… around the UK.

Shana:
Gotcha. Yeah. OK, so will you be discussing all of those different places in your podcast? So England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland…and…

Charlie:
It’s a good idea. I will be now. I will be now. Yeah. No, I will be. Yeah.

Shana:
Great. Well in today’s episode we’re going to be talking about baking. Americans love competitive cooking shows. We watch MasterChef, Chopped, Top Chef, Cutthroat Kitchen. But when it comes to the top baking show in the US, it’s definitely the Great British Bake Off.

Charlie:
Oh, is it?

Shana:
Yeah. And that was formerly known as the Great British Baking Show, which I accidentally call it that all the time. This Great British Bake Off is not catching on for some reason in my head.

Shana:
But recently it aired. It aired on Channel 4 in Britain, just about a month ago, or just a few weeks ago, and 10.4 million people sat down to watch it.

Charlie:
Wow.

Shana:
So, yeah. So that record hasn’t been broken since 1985. So the show is very popular in Britain. Do you watch it?

Charlie:
You’ll hate me, but no I don’t, I don’t watch it. I’m not one of those millions of people. I know loads of people do and I have conversations with them about it. But I can’t really add much to that conversation. I’m just a good listener when it comes to baking.

Shana:
But yeah, I think just the fact that you are British, you grew up in the country. I mean, you did grow up in Britain, right?

Charlie:
I did. I had twenty-five years of it. Yes.

Shana:
All right. So I think that will definitely be good enough for the topic that we have today.

Shana:
So, many Americans watch this show too. Most Americans I’ve spoken to prefer watching the British Baking Show over American cooking shows. It is competitive, but it doesn’t seem as competitive because there’s not a grand prize. The main winner wins a cake platter that says winner or something on it or like Great British Bake Off. And so there’s not a money reward, which I think allows people to be closer friends while they’re competing. And they’re very friendly, I don’t know what it is, it just seems like everybody inside of the tent where the event is hosted, become BFF and they go off and are friends after the show is over. So it’s a lighter feeling when you’re watching.

Charlie:
Right, ok. Well, generally, I would say if you’re a baker, you you’ve got to have patience. You’ve got to have quite a few positive characteristics to… to bake well. And maybe that overlaps with with befriending someone. I don’t know. But also interesting that you say that in America most of the competitions have a monetary reward. So is that is that the case throughout all of television? Like, it’s weird to not have that.

Shana:
Yes, it is very weird to not have that. And I actually really like that. I can see it playing a role in the friendliness of the competitors. Yeah. I don’t know.

Charlie:
Mhm. Yeah. Yeah. Well it might be something to do with like we have the notion of it’s the taking part that counts. Just as long as you take part in the activity, that’s the good thing. Whereas I think the culture with you guys is you better win or there’s no point in attending.

Shana:
No, it’s it’s a weird moment where the competitor that loses doesn’t walk off crying like in the American version, where, you know, the judge is kind of laughing at them. And no, it just seems like in a positive way to end each episode.

Charlie:
Ok, yeah, that’s good. That’s definitely a positive out of that. For you guys that the positive of that is that you get amazing sportsmen out of it and Olympians, because, for us it’s like, oh, well done, you came fifth. That’s exactly what we want. Well done.

Shana:
That’s that’s interesting, too. Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that. The competitiveness.

Shana:
Yeah. So today I actually have a multitude of questions that I’d like to ask Charlie about the differences between American and British English vocabulary when it comes to baking.

Shana:
The first time I watched the show, the very first episode, I remember thinking I don’t understand half of the things they’re talking about when it comes to baking.

Shana:
And of course, talk about British desserts, because we have Charlie here and I’m hoping that you eat dessert to answer…

Charlie:
I do, I don’t watch Bake Off, but I do eat lots and lots of desserts or puddings.

Shana:
OK, puddings. That was one of the things I wanted to ask you about; pudding refers to all desserts, right? In Britain?

Charlie:
Yeah. Yeah. You can, you can exchange dessert for pudding in the same sentence. Yeah. What are you having for pudding, or can’t wait for pudding. It means dessert.

Shana:
All right. And just so you guys are aware, in American English, pudding is a custard-like dessert that’s made of milk, sugar and flavoring. So it can be chocolate, butterscotch, rice pudding. You know, it’s an after dinner treat.

Shana:
But also actually in Britain, you have blood sausage pudding, right, or blood, so.. Maybe not? See, this is…

Charlie:
No, no, no, no. Yeah. Is that…the full, is that the actual name? I thought there was something else. Blood. Is it just called blood pudding?

Shana:
Oh, I don’t know.

Charlie:
Is it… Black pudding!

Shana:
Black pudding.

Shana:
Ok.

Charlie:
Black pudding. Yes, that’s disgusting in its description, it is quite tasty, but it’s definitely not as a dessert.

Shana:
Ok, so pudding doesn’t necessarily only need to be for desserts, right? So it can be for like a savory pie, like a shepherd’s pie?

Charlie:
Yeah, you’re right. We’ve got Yorkshire puddings. Yeah that’s true. But if you say it on its own, what are you having for pudding? They won’t assume that you’re having black pudding or Yorkshire pudding.

Shana:
Oh ok.

Charlie:
They’re thinking. Are you going to have a cheesecake, donut, whatever?

Shana:
Ok, gotcha.

Shana:
To start off with, I’d like to talk about desserts that are eaten on specific holidays. In the United States, we have various holidays where a specific dessert is eaten. So, for example, on the Fourth of July, we have an apple pie, hot apple pie with ice cream, a la mode. That’s very common. Or on Thanksgiving, which falls the fourth Thursday in November, we always have a pumpkin pie. We might eat a pecan pie. On Christmas, there’s always, you know, Christmas desserts, Christmas cookies. And so I’m curious, in Britain, do you have these sort of holiday-specific desserts that you eat?

Charlie:
Not off the top of my head, no. I don’t… I can’t recall a specific pudding. We’re kind of taking on your Americanisms. Pancake day, in my lifetime, has always been present, so we’ll always have Pancake day. But it’s very different to your pancakes, or my family had. It’s more like a crepe, but you put sugar on it. So it’s it’s quite sweet. What else? Yeah.

Charlie:
I mean, foods related to holidays. I mean, we, we say holiday meaning a vacation. So yeah. A specific religious holiday day like Easter, we’d have Easter eggs obviously. Christmas there’s loads of different foods that we could get into. But yeah, we don’t have Thanksgiving, so we don’t have any any food for that. Yeah. I don’t think we have too many allocated desserts for this. Maybe it’s similar to how you guys like to dress up a lot. With all of these celebrations you do fancy dress or – or how do you call fancy dress?

Shana:
Costumes? Fancy dress?

Charlie:
Yeah. Costumes. Yeah. This is a cultural difference, isn’t it? Fancy dress for you… I remember when I said it to an American, they thought like it was like sexy lingerie or something.

Shana:
Like I just imagined, I just imagined you in a dress… a fancy dress. So that’s a costume?

Charlie:
Oh, a fancy dress. Hilarious. Yeah, I have been in a fancy dress before, but no. Generally speaking, fancy dress means wearing costumes like in Halloween.

Shana:
Yes. OK, yeah. We do like to dress up all the time. That is, that is something that’s part of our culture.

Charlie:
Yeah. And maybe you like to associate lots of things to those days and make it a special thing.

Shana:
Oh definitely. I mean in fall we have pumpkin spice. It’s just, I mean it’s a mixture of I think there’s cloves, nutmeg and ginger in pumpkin spice, but you’ll find it in everything. There’s candles that smell like it. There’s pumpkin spice lattes. It’s just everywhere. And actually that smell is reminiscent of my childhood. I smell it and it makes me nostalgic. So I don’t know.

Charlie:
Lovely.

Shana:
That’s probably maybe not as common in Britain. I’m assuming you guys have nice pumpkins you carve on Halloween and set out on the table in November maybe?

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. We do have the pumpkin kind of tradition. We don’t have pumpkin farms that we go to, though. When I lived out in Ohio for a bit, I remember it was quite a nice event to go to the farm and pick your pumpkin.

Shana:
Yeah, the pumpkin patch.

Charlie:
Yeah, that was that was foreign to me. So it’s not a done thing. We do do the Christmas tree, picking the Christmas tree like you guys, but we don’t pick up pumpkins necessarily.

Shana:
So, but you do have a specific time where you have specific nice desserts, right? Tea time is something that’s, it’s just from England and Britain, right? Or does it exist elsewhere, do you know?

Charlie:
I’m sure it spread throughout the whole of the UK, but traditionally, yeah, it’s England. Um, scones at tea time.

Shana:
Scones.

Charlie:
A wee bit of whipped cream and jam on top. Yeah, and your tea with it.

Shana:
Is that something that you do on a daily basis?

Charlie:
Not for me. Not for me. I yeah, I will disappoint you. I prefer coffee over tea.

Shana:
Ooh…

Charlie:
Yeah. So whenever someone says, do you want to put the kettle on? I’m like, I’d rather not. I’d rather have a good flat white or a cappuccino please. Which doesn’t go down well. It doesn’t go down well.

Shana:
So how do they react to that if you’re in a tea room and you order a cup of coffee, can you do that?

Charlie:
They’ll… They’ll have coffee in a tea room. It isn’t that common to go to a tea room in the U.K.. The cafes, generally speaking, are, you know, ever present nowadays. And it’s actually a nice thing, like a nostalgic thing to do, to go to a tea room. It’s kind of playing up to a stereotype. And and we would put on a fancy dress and we would enjoy the tea pretending like we’re the queen or something.

Shana:
Ok, so and by that, when you say fancy dress in that context, do you mean, just nice clothing?

Charlie:
Yeah, I was… I was joking. Yeah, so we would put on nice clothes, we would put a nice clothes.

Shana:
And so actually when you do, like say for example you’re having tea with your friends and family, would you get one of those three-tiered trays to put finger sandwiches on and like specialty desserts and things like that?

Shana:
Or is that just something that I watched?

Charlie:
No, that’s that’s still done. Yeah, we do do that. We like that. My sister took a while to cotton on to that kind of Pinterest kind of theme. But once she, once she got that tiered cake thing, cake stand or sandwich tray. Yeah. It’s, it’s a thing in our family and certainly my girlfriend’s family, they would do that kind of thing.

Shana:
That’s so nice. Yeah. That’s something that I saw. Actually, (I) watched a lot of YouTube videos before we got on this call just because I wanted to get a better idea of what tea culture is like, what tea time is like. And so I looked at that and thought, gosh, I really need to get one of those at my house because it truly does make any sort of environment and food, I mean, social eating situations so much more nice. I mean, it’s just nicer.

Charlie:
Yeah, it’s quite elegant, isn’t it. Yeah.

Shana:
Yeah.

Charlie:
It makes you feel sophisticated. The other thing I noticed, actually, I, I was spending time with an Australian over the weekend and she said, do you want a cup of tea? And I did actually want one then. So I said yes. And she felt the pressure, she felt the pressure of making a good cuppa for a British person. And I actually enjoyed that because I’ve always had the opposite of like British people not knowing how to cook for Italian people, French people, Spanish. And and so this kind of moment, I was like, oh, this is quite nice. We’re putting the pressure on this Australian to create a good tea.

Shana:
So did she use tea bags or like did she actually use the looseleaf tea? Because is it like a faux pas…

Shana:
Sorry?

Charlie:
No, she didn’t go to that extent. That would be, that would be top marks if she did use tea leaves and a strainer, but no, tea bags are usually acceptable in most households. But yeah, it’s just the ratio of how long you put the tea bag in for. Maybe warm the pot if you feel like you want to be extra careful with it, or warm the mug maybe. And then, yeah, the ratio of the milk is very important.

Shana:
Ok, so the host would do that for you? They would put the milk in?

Charlie:
Yes. Yes.

Shana:
And you just say, if you were at a restaurant, would you just say milk and cream?

Charlie:
At a restaurant, (we) don’t really have cups of tea. In a cafe you’d say, oh, I’d take it with two sugars if if you like it very sweet. I personally just like a bit of milk. So I’d say just a splash of milk, or and a normal way of saying it in a household, you would say just as it comes. As it comes.

Shana:
Nice. Like that. Like that. And do you put, what is it called, clotted cream?

Charlie:
Clotted cream. Yeah. Clotted cream.

Shana:
Is that something that you would also add to tea, or is that only for scones or… How did you pronounce it, scones?

Charlie:
We say scones, scones,

Shana:
Scones, ok. We say scones in American English. But I think it’s something entirely different.

Charlie:
Yeah, I believe so. Yeah. Yeah. So yes. Clotted cream, I only really know it goes well with scones, but I wouldn’t put it past a Brit to try and put it in a tea. That does seem weird to me but yeah I don’t know…

Shana:
It might get really heavy, you might start chewing your tea.

Charlie:
Yeah.

Shana:
That was new for me though – clotted cream. We don’t have that here. As I’m sure you know from being in Ohio.

Charlie:
Yeah, yeah, we kept going to the British aisle though in the supermarket and kept getting a bit disappointed. But, you know, we’ve got to embrace different cultures…

Shana:
So let’s move on to the next thing I’d like to do. I want to figure out what differences there are between British and American dessert terms. Today, I was actually reading a New York Times article that is sort of a guide to help Americans understand the British Bake Off. And it had a great paragraph in here. And I was wondering: Charlie, would you be willing to read this? I can’t get the pronunciation correct. So your pronunciation of the British terms is going to be much better than mine.

Charlie:
Certainly. Certainly, yeah. That’s an interesting idea to to be able to explain the Great British Bake Off to Americans. Yeah, fantastic idea. OK, so do you want me to read just the British word and then you say, “___ is that”?

Shana:
Sure that works. Yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. OK, so stodgy…

Shana:
… is bad.

Charlie:
Scrummy…

Shana:
is good.

Charlie:
Gutted…

Shana:
is bad.

Charlie:
But I just want to pull that one up, gutted, I would say, like if you’ve if you’ve done a bad job of the baking, you might be gutted that you lost the competition.

Shana:
Ok, so you feel really bad. You’re devastated.

Charlie:
Yeah. Yeah. It’s not… I don’t think it’s a food related, gutted. The food isn’t… The food can’t be gutted. I’m pretty certain on that.

Shana:
Ok, so you feel you are gutted. Like you feel gutted.

Charlie:
Yeah, yes.

Shana:
Ok.

Charlie:
Next one. Clingfilm…

Shana:
… is plastic wrap or saran wrap.

Charlie:
Yeah. Saran Wrap. And I just want to add aluminium foil…

Shana:
… is aluminum foil.

Charlie:
Caster sugar…

Shana:
… is super fine sugar or baker’s sugar.

Charlie:
Icing sugar…

Shana:
… is powdered sugar.

Charlie:
Corn flour.

Shana:
… is cornstarch.

Charlie:
Didn’t know that one.

Charlie:
Pudding…

Shana:
is dessert.

Charlie:
Custard…

Shana:
is pudding.

Charlie:
Kind of. You said a nice explanation about it being – it being kind of like that, didn’t you?

Shana:
Custard-like. Yeah.

Charlie:
Yeah. Custard-like. Yeah. And then the next one proving. What’s this?

Shana:
Honestly, I do not use this word at all. They have the American version as proofing, but it’s when you let dough rise because you’ve added yeast to it or… yeah, you’re letting it prove. But at the same time here I would just say I’m letting it rise.

Charlie:
I think I would say the same. I’m not a particularly active baker, but I did actually ask Stacy that one and she didn’t know it either. And she bakes a little bit. So, yeah, we would probably say the same as you.

Shana:
All right.

Charlie:
Next one, plaiting…

Shana:
is braiding.

Charlie:
As in your hair?

Shana:
No. So they actually braid some of the pastries that they make.

Charlie:
Oh, yeah.

Shana:
Yeah. And so it gets this very nice… sometimes they’ll add like cinnamon to it or chocolate. And so you get this very nice overlap of the pastry dough. It’s very pretty.

Charlie:
Very nice. Biscuits…

Shana:
… are cookies. Mm hmm.

Charlie:
Scones.

Shana:
… are biscuits.

Charlie:
Yeah. Um and then baps…

Shana:
… are bread rolls, or but also breasts we learned.

Charlie:
Yeah, very good. Sultanas…

Shana:
… are raisins.

Charlie:
We also have raisins. I wonder if it’s a different size. But yeah I would, I would say raisins.

Shana:
Are they golden raisins? The golden ones. Maybe? No.

Charlie:
They can be, but both colors. Yeah. Some nuts and raisins on my granola. Yeah. Raisins. Yeah. But yeah sultanas also exist.

Charlie:
Uh, bake is a noun.

Charlie:
Oh yes. They always say that on the show. They always say, oh I had a great bake, like you know, and I go wait, but like for me you baked well. It’s a verb for me. And so it’s funny to hear them talk about their bakes; the things that they created on a given day.

Charlie:
Yes. Yes, that’s true. Yeah. Gonna go home and have a bake. Yeah.

Shana:
One other thing that I noticed when they’re… when they win – so they’re not gutted because they lose – they say they’re chuffed. And that’s a term that I’ve never heard in my life. What does it mean to be chuffed? Does that mean …

Charlie:
It means pleased. Slight… maybe a slight association with smug, uh, but pleased with yourself. Pleased or happy with yourself.

Shana:
Gotcha. Gotcha. Ok.

Charlie:
It’s a very British word. Yeah. I’m so chuffed. Yeah.

Shana:
So chuffed. I like that. I’ll maybe add that to my vocabulary. Yeah. Get a few glances.

I hope you enjoyed the first part of our conversation about tea time in dessert adjectives. As you can probably tell from this episode, I was not too familiar with traditional British Tea time. I would say that in the United States, coffee culture is embraced a little bit more than tea culture. Afternoon tea with a scone covered in clotted cream and jam is something that we might think of when we think of British tea time, whereas in the United States we might opt for a latte with a pastry, perhaps a bearclaw, an almond crescent, you know, to each his own. I can’t say I wouldn’t mind having a three-tiered tray of finger sandwiches and desserts every afternoon around 3:00. That would be pretty nice.

Through our conversation, you probably also noticed how confused I was about some of the terms that Charlie used. I think that this episode is a great reminder that there are quite a few differences in terms of vocabulary between British and American English.

I hope you have a sweet tooth as much as I did and enjoyed that episode as much as me. There will be another episode with Charlie in the very near future when we talk about some British desserts and some American desserts. So stay tuned for that. Hope you have a nice day. Bye!

Thank you for listening to this episode of the American English Podcast. Remember, it’s my goal here to not only help you improve your listening comprehension, but to show you how to speak like someone from the States.

If you want to receive the full transcript for this episode or you just want to support this podcast, make sure to sign up to premium content on americanenglishpodcast.com.

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Shana - ESL Teacher

Hi Everyone! I am an ESL teacher from California and the host of the American English Podcast. Learn more about me and my teaching experience here.

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샌즈카지노 · February 17, 2021 at 12:11 am

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