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Text 1. Meals in Britain (A)

The English say that in their country the variety of food from meal to meal is probably greater than anywhere else in the world. They say that you can never confuse a breakfast with a dinner, for example, and that in many other countries you eat exactly the same kind of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

You can have your meals at home, in a restaurant or a cafe, in the canteen of your factory or office. Those who stay at rest-homes or sanatoria have meals in the dining-hall, which is generally placed in a separate building, usually a cottage with kitchen premises. While travelling by train you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner in the dining-car as well cooked and served as if you were in a first-class hotel, or at the railway station when you are on the point of fainting from hunger you hurry to the refreshment room before the train starts. Travelling by ship your dinner or supper may be served in the dining-saloon.

In case you are up to the eyes in work and can´t go to the canteen but are hungry and want to have a bite you may drop into a self-service restaurant or «cafeteria» as Americans call a restaurant at which patrons serve themselves at a counter, taking their food to tables to eat.

Nowadays many self-service canteens, restaurants and cafe are being opened throughout the country. When employees or workers have a short break for dinner or lunch they find it impossible to get home this meal and so they take it in a self-service cafe or restaurant. There are cafes and restaurant´s to suit every taste and purse.

In Britain you can find table d´hote and a la carte dinners in every restaurant. Table d´hote dinners are cheaper then a la carte ones. When you dine a la carte you order course by course, as you desire. But a table d´hote dinner consists of several courses, a choice is limited, and it is served in a canteen or a restaurant at a fixed price.

London offers something for everyone, rich or poor. What about your town? At the top of the scale are some of the finest and grandest eating places in Europe, such as the Connaught Hotel. There, in the Grill reached through an elegant porch guarded by a top-hatted doorman, you will find a warmly panelled room, fastidious waiters and superb French and English cuisines. The Chef is famous and the restaurant must be treated with respect — no open-necked shirts or trouser-suits here. You must also be rich enough not to worry about the bill.

For the serious gourmet who also wants a little style, London offers a big choice. The Grill Room at the Savoy Hotel still follows its tradition of classic cooking in the French style, and quiet efficient service. Even today, when the cosmopolitan types come here for its fame, not an eyebrow is raised. Here one pays not just for the food, but also the bands, the floor- show and the name.

The working Londoner often thinks more of his beer than his food. Many cheap cafes offer the same monotonous menus of «meat and two veg», «fish and chips», «beans on toast». But if you search away from the busy main streets you can find all kinds of pla

ces that are highly popular, not only for their price or convenience, but for their food.

The traditional fish and chips cafe is hard to find now in central London. It has been superseded by American-style fried chicken and hamburger bars. But you can still find them. Look down the end of Villiers Street, off the Strand. Under the railway bridge in the most insalubrious surroundings can be found excellent fish and chips. There is no decor or table service. But the service is quick and the place clean.

In the City of London there are many lunch places. A fixed menu of three courses may cost less than a starter at one of the grander establishments. Extremely popular with the office personnel, who may have «luncheon vouchers» from their employer, they provide the main meal of the day to many; there is a cheerful waitress calling «love» or «dear» to her regulars. The food can be unexcitingly English: steak-and-kidney pie, spotted duck, roly-poly pudding and mustard. But at least the service is quick, and the bill modest.

Exercises:

Read and translate the text.

Answer the following questions:

Where do people go if they want to eat?

Is going to a restaurant a usual thing with young (middle-aged; old) people?

What do you usually order for the first (second) course?

What do customers generally do while, waiting for their meals to be served?

When you are dinning in a restaurant, do you have dinner a la carte or do you order table d´hote?

In what case do you leave the choice of dishes to the waiter (your friend)?

Which restaurants in your town are famous for good food and service?

Why do people sometimes like to celebrate their birthday or other events in restaurants?


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