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Date: Jul 6, 2005

Level: Easier (Try the harder lesson.)

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Audio: (1:41 - 198.7 KB - 16kbps)

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THE ARTICLE

French President Jacques Chirac is in hot water over comments he made about British and Finnish food. A reporter from France’s Liberation newspaper said Mr. Chirac made jokes to Russian and German leaders that Finnish food was the worst in Europe, followed closely by British cuisine. Mr. Chirac said: “The only thing they [the British] have done for European agriculture is mad cow”. He made a further attack on British cooking, saying: “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that.”

Mr. Chirac’s rude remarks may be costly for Paris’s bid for the 2012 Olympics. The final decision will be made on July 6 and two Finnish delegates are part of the deciding committee. British people are angry at Mr. Chirac’s insults against their food. They are boycotting French produce in supermarkets. British newspapers have hit back by criticizing Mr. Chirac. The Sun angrily called Mr. Chirac a “petty, racist creep”; while the Daily Express added, “he has lost his marbles”.

WARM-UPS

1. BEST AND WORST: In pairs / groups, tell each other why you believe your country’s food is the best in the world. Also, talk about which country has the worst tasting food in the world.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Jacques Chirac/ hot water / Finnish cuisine / British food / mad cow disease / 2012 Olympics / French produce / supermarkets / racism / marbles

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. FRENCH CUISINE: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with French food. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

4. OPINIONS ON CHIRAC: In pairs / groups, talk about how far you agree with these opinions about French President Chirac and his comments on food.

  1. He’s French and so he knows a lot about good quality food.
  2. He should not make such ridiculous comments before the G8 summit.
  3. It’s time for him to retire. Europe needs younger leaders.
  4. Mr. Chirac made a joke. The British have no sense of humour.
  5. I wonder if Mr. Chirac has ever tasted Finnish food.
  6. President Chirac has definitely lost his marbles.
  7. I don’t understand how Mr. Chirac can say fish and chips are not tasty.
  8. British food is among the best in the world nowadays. Finnish food is good too.
  9. He is a petty, racist creep.
  10. He should be forever congratulated for not supporting the war in Iraq.

5. WORLD CUISINE: In pairs / groups, talk about the most delicious things about the following cuisines.

  • Indian
  • French
  • Italian
  • Korean
  • English
  • Chinese
  • Thai
  • American
  • Japanese
  • Finnish

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

The French president put his British dinner in the trash can.

T / F

b.

Mr. Chirac likes taking hot baths.

T / F

c.

Mr. Chirac said Finnish food was the worst in Europe.

T / F

d.

Mr. Chirac said British people could not cook well.

T / F

e.

Paris’s Olympic bid may be harmed by Mr. Chirac’s remarks.

T / F

f.

British shoppers are boycotting French produce.

T / F

g.

A British newspaper said Mr. Chirac is a racist.

T / F

h.

Mr. Chirac loves playing with marbles.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

hot water

poorly

b.

comments

farming

c.

food

snubs

d.

agriculture

cuisine

e.

badly

damaging

f.

rude

big trouble

g.

costly

gone crazy

h.

insults

retaliated

i.

hit back

bad-mannered

j.

lost his marbles

remarks

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

Jacques Chirac is in

as badly as that

b.

Mr. Chirac made

by British cuisine

c.

followed closely

be made on July 6

d.

he made a further attack

his marbles

e.

people who cook

remarks

f.

rude

jokes

g.

The final decision will

against their food

h.

angry at Mr. Chirac’s insults

French produce

i.

boycotting

on British cooking

j.

he has lost

hot water

WHILE READING / LISTENING

ODD WORD OUT: Place a line through the word that does not fit in the groups of three italicized words.

Chirac rubbishes British food

French President Jacques Chirac is in hot water over remarks / comments / comets he made about British and Finnish food. A reporter from France’s “Liberation” newspaper said Mr. Chirac made / cracked / joked jokes to Russian and German leaders that Finnish food was the worst in Europe, followed next / closely / nearly by British cuisine. Mr. Chirac said: “The only thing they [the British] have done for European agriculture is mad cow”. He made a further attack / criticism / rubbish on British cooking, saying: “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that.”

Mr. Chirac’s rude remarks may be damaging / costly / pricey for Paris’s bid for the 2012 Olympics. The final decision will be made on July 6 and two Finnish delegates / representatives / delegations are part of the deciding committee. British people are furious / fury / angry at Mr. Chirac’s insults / criticisms / recipes against their food. They are boycotting French produce in supermarkets. British newspapers have hit back by criticizing Mr. Chirac. “The Sun” angrily called Mr. Chirac a “petty, racist creep”; while the “Daily Express” added, “he has lost his marbles / sense / book”.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘Anglo’ and ‘French’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. ODD WORD OUT: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the exercise. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?
 

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT CHIRAC/CUISINE SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about world cuisine or Jacques Chirac (or both).

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • hot
  • reporter
  • worst
  • agriculture
  • attack
  • badly
  • costly
  • committee
  • insults
  • produce
  • hit back
  • marbles

 DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. What did you think when you read this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the story?
  3. Do you think it’s a good headline?
  4. What do you think about President Chirac’s comments?
  5. What do you think about French food?
  6. Is your country’s food the best in the world?
  7. Is it OK for Mr. Chirac to make such jokes?
  8. Are his comments real jokes or just remarks made in bad taste?
  9. Do you think Mr. Chirac has lost his marbles?
  10. Do you think President Chirac is racist?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What did you think about what you read?
  3. What would you think if President Chirac rubbished your country’s food?
  4. Do you like going international and trying different cuisines?
  5. What do you know about British and Finnish food?
  6. Do you think Tony Blair should be angry at Mr. Chirac’s comments?
  7. Have you ever boycotted the produce or goods of another country?
  8. What do you think of Mr. Chirac as a world leader?
  9. Do the newspapers in your country like attacking the leaders of other countries?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

FOOD FACTS:

Ask the other students in your class what they know about three different cuisines of the world (write them in the table). Write their answers below.

 

Famous dishes

 

Taste

Healthiness

Variety

Spices

Cuisine 1

_________
 

 

 

 

 

Cuisine 2

_________
 

 

 

 

 

 

Cuisine 3

_________
 

 

 

 

 

 

After you have finished, sit with a partner / in groups and discuss what you found out. Were you surprised at anything? Did you find out anything interesting?

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Chirac rubbishes British food

French President Jacques Chirac is __ ___ _____ over comments he made about British and _______ food. A reporter from France’s Liberation newspaper said Mr. Chirac _____ _____ to Russian and German leaders that Finnish food was the worst in Europe, followed ________ ___ British cuisine. Mr. Chirac said: “The only thing they [the British] have done for European ___________ is mad cow”. He made a further attack on British cooking, saying: “You can’t trust people who cook ___ ______ ____ that.”

Mr. Chirac’s ____ ________ may be costly for Paris’s bid for the 2012 Olympics. The final decision will be made on July 6 and two Finnish _________ are part of the deciding committee. British people are angry at Mr. Chirac’s ________ ________ their food. They are boycotting French produce in supermarkets. British newspapers have ___ ______ by criticizing Mr. Chirac. The Sun angrily called Mr. Chirac a “______, racist ______”; while the Daily Express added, “he has lost his _________”.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on the Mr. Chirac’s comments. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. YUMMY: Write a description of your favourite food. Describe exactly how you like it cooked / prepared, how it makes you feel and how important it is to you. Write about the history you have with this food. Read your descriptions to your classmates in your next lesson. Did everyone write about similar foods?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to French President Jacques Chirac. Tell him what you think of his comments on British and Finnish food. Read your letter to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. F

c. T

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

hot water

big trouble

b.

comments

remarks

c.

food

cuisine

d.

agriculture

farming

e.

badly

poorly

f.

rude

bad-mannered

g.

costly

damaging

h.

insults

snubs

i.

hit back

retaliated

j.

lost his marbles

gone crazy

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

Jacques Chirac is in

hot water

b.

Mr. Chirac made

jokes

c.

followed closely

by British cuisine

d.

he made a further attack

on British cooking

e.

people who cook

as badly as that

f.

rude

remarks

g.

The final decision will

be made on July 6

h.

angry at Mr. Chirac’s insults

against their food

i.

boycotting

French produce

j.

he has lost

his marbles

ODD WORD OUT:

Chirac rubbishes British food

French President Jacques Chirac is in hot water over remarks / comments / comets he made about British and Finnish food. A reporter from France’s “Liberation” newspaper said Mr. Chirac made / cracked / joked jokes to Russian and German leaders that Finnish food was the worst in Europe, followed next / closely / nearly by British cuisine. Mr. Chirac said: “The only thing they [the British] have done for European agriculture is mad cow”. He made a further attack / criticism / rubbish on British cooking, saying: “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that.”

Mr. Chirac’s rude remarks may be damaging / costly / pricey for Paris’s bid for the 2012 Olympics. The final decision will be made on July 6 and two Finnish delegates / representatives / delegations are part of the deciding committee. British people are furious / fury / angry at Mr. Chirac’s insults / criticisms / recipes against their food. They are boycotting French produce in supermarkets. British newspapers have hit back by criticizing Mr. Chirac. “The Sun” angrily called Mr. Chirac a “petty, racist creep”; while the “Daily Express” added, “he has lost his marbles / sense / book”.

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