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How to make food: Food related words for ESL students

When you first meet someone, it's great to talk about food! Everybody eats, and people from different cultures eat different things. It is interesting to learn about new foods. When you talk about food, you might even learn about delicious new foods from other countries! 


People from Europe might know a lot about traditional bread. Mexican people use corn and spicy ingredients in their dishes. Southeast Asia has many special fruits. Have you ever tried mangos? They are sweet and tasty!


Let's learn about three different ways to make and eat food:


  • to dip: to put something into a sauce for a short time
They dip the corn chips in salsa (tomato sauce).
  • to spread: to cover something
He spreads sauce on the pizza.
  • to put on: to place something on something else (Can also be used to describe things other than food: "I put the hat on my head.")
He puts cheese on the pizza.

Here are some examples!


She dips _____ in ___. 


  • She dips french fries (chips) in ketchup.
  • She dips corn chips in salsa.
  • She dips cookies in milk.


He spreads ____ on _____.


  • He spreads peanut butter and jelly on bread.
  • He spreads cream cheese on a bagel.
  • He spreads icing on the cake.


She puts ____ on _____. 

  • She puts mustard on the hot dog.
  • She puts candles on the birthday cake.
  • She puts ham and cheese on the sandwich.
A bagel sandwich

Now guess the right answers by yourself

(click on the answer to see if you are right!)


1. He ____ lettuce, tomatoes, and onions ___ the hamburger.


b. spreads...on

c. puts...on


2. She ____ sauce ____ the pizza. 


b. spreads...on

c. puts...on


3. He ____ the carrot ___ hummus.


b. spreads...on

c. puts...on


4. She ____ dressing ___ the salad.


b. spreads...on

c. puts...on


5. He spreads _____ on the bread.

a. mayonnaise

b. turkey

c. ice


6. She dips ____ in salsa.

a. mustard

b. lettuce

c. corn chips

They put oil on the salad.

Vocabulary words:


  • ingredient: a food that is used to make a dish
  • a dish: when you prepare food in a special way (A dish is also a synonym for "plate."
  • spicy: when food tastes hot
  • dressing: a sauce for salads
  • corn chips: they are like potato chips, but made from corn
  • salsa: tomato sauce 
  • mayonnaise: a white sauce made from oil and eggs
  • bagel: a round piece of bread with a hole in the center


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