Talking about meat and seafood in English

Talking about food in English

Talking about food in English is similar to talking about food in your own language. But first, we have to ask an important question.

 

Who are you talking to?

 

A waiter in England or the United States? Your host who has invited you to stay with them in Ireland or Australia? The bride at a wedding? The pizza delivery guy?

As you can see, it’s important to know what we want to say. Sometimes we want to:

  • Compliment the chef
  • Ask questions about the food
  • Describe a meat or fish dish from our country to someone who doesn’t know it

 

In this post, we will only talk about the way to describe meat and seafood. Since food is an interesting topic for many people you may have to describe food from your country.
We’ll start with meat. Feel free to skip ahead, if you want to focus on fish and seafood.

Meat and seafood

In some countries only land animals are considered meat while birds and sea life are not. In English, generally birds (sometimes called “fowl” or “poultry” and food from the sea (“seafood”) are all considered meat are generally considered meat unless the speaker wants to be very technical.

 

Also – In many countries, the name of the animal is also the name of the food. In English, this is true for chicken and fish, but we usually use different names for the animal once it is prepare for consumption.

 

Take a look at the table below.

 

Animal Food
cow beef
young cow veal
sheep lamb
old sheep mutton
deer venison
pig pork
young pig suckling pig
wild pig boar
rabbit rabbit
goat goat
chicken(male, female) chicken
turkey turkey
duck duck
goose goose

Seafood: fish

For seafood (= fish and shellfish) we just call the food by the same name as the animal.

Here are some of the foods we eat from the sea.

 

Type of fish
fish
salmon
tuna
dorada, seabream
cod
haddock
hake
sole
plaice
monkfish
trout
perch
mackerel
kippers
sardines
eel
stingray
shark

Seafood: shellfish

Here are the names of the most common shellfish.

 

Shellfish
prawns
shrimp(like prawns but smaller)
langostines (like big prawns)
crab
lobster
clams
mussels
oysters
whelks
monkfish
cockles
barnacles
abalone
razor clams
crayflish (like tiny lobsters)

What happens now?

With the terms above, you should be able to basically descibe most basic meats. Stay tuned for my next blog where I tell yu how to talk about fruit and veg, starches, and cooking methods. There will also be a few quizzes.


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