Anyone who, in an honest spirit of enquiry, has watched many of us eat and drink will have been frightened at the sight. A large part of the population has become simultaneously gluttonous or rather it chooses terrible things to consume and terrible ways of consuming them. How far should the Government be responsible for the health consequences of its own population's lack of taste and self-control?
We should not overlook far deeper and more revealing aspects of the national diet, however. Most people prefer not to think about these, because they reveal a society in a state of profound decomposition. If you examine the national rubbish, as I do wherever I walk, you discover that it is composed mainly of the wrappings of junk and fast food. We eat on the street to a degree almost unknown anywhere else.
But why should this be? A sociologist told me that half of our homes no longer have a dining table. Flats in which there are no dining tables are also flats in which not much in the way of cooking fresh ingredients goes on. The microwave is the cooker, the saucepan, the casserole dish, and the entire batterie de cuisine in fact; and everyone in the family eats not as a social activity, but almost furtively. Meals are nasty, solitary and short.In other words, one of the most elementary but important and enjoyable of all social activities, eating together, is now restricted to a considerable proportion of the population.
I. READING COMPREHENSION
1. Are the following statements TRUE or FALSE? Copy the evidence from the text. No marks are given for only TRUE or FALSE.
a. The society described in the text does not have the habit of eating on the street.
b. In the author's country all homes have a dining table.
2. In your own words and based on the ideas in the text, answer the following questions.
a. What negative eating habits are mentioned in the text? Write about at least four of them.
- Many people have become gluttonous, bad eating habits, junk food, microwave substitutes traditional cooking utensils, individual activity.
b. What can rubbish reveal about people's diet?
II. USE OF ENGLISH
3. Find the words in the text that mean.
- a. research (paragraph 1): enquiry
- b. nearly (paragraph 2): almost
- c. whole (paragraph 2): entire
- d. unpleasant (paragraph 3): nasty
4. Complete the following sentences. Use the appropriate form of the word in brackets when given.
- a. Last night, before eating (eat) his orange. John asked for a second cut of fried bread.
- b. John, you ate (eat) more than two loaves (loaf) of bread, didn't you?
- c. According to a survey, most people buy (buy) kitchen furniture only once or twice in their life.
Complete the following sentence to report what was said:
- d. Anne, do you want something else to eat?