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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay from the real IELTS general training exam on the topic of cooking at home.

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IELTS Essay General Training: Cooking at Home

Cooking at home is a waste of time because there are so many convenient fast food options that make life less stressful.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many people today feel that cooking food at home has become inessential due to the ubiquity of fast food restaurants. In my opinion, the understandable appeal of fast food does little to undermine the health benefits of preparing your own meals.

Fast food is convenient. This is evidenced through its popularity and is based on how quickly it can be purchased, its price, the fact you do not have to prepare it yourself and how easy it is to clean up afterwards. These incentives combine to entice the average worker, coming home tired after a long day, that some burgers from McDonald’s or a pizza from Domino’s will not only make their lives easier and reduce their stress levels but also help them cope with any personal problems. Given all these motivating factors, it is no surprise that many today have convinced themselves that cooking at home is a waste of time.

Regardless, the above listed reasons do not outweigh the health risks of fast food or the health benefits of home-cooked meals. Fast food has been shown, in numerous replicated studies over decades of research, to be one of the leading contributors to the risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The alternative to fast food is cooking at home. This is not always healthy; it is perfectly possible to prepare an unhealthy meal by oneself. However, home cooks have complete control over the ingredients and are not adding the preservatives or chemicals that are typically found in fast food. They are instead more likely to serve fresh fruits and vegetables and be generally conscious of what goes into their body, thereby improving short and long-term health.

In conclusion, fast food is a naturally attractive time and stress saver that does not imply people should stop cooking at home. The health benefits of home-cooking are crucial and this is unlikely to change in the near future.

Analysis

1. Many people today feel that cooking food at home has become inessential due to the ubiquity of fast food restaurants. 2. In my opinion, the understandable appeal of fast food does little to undermine the health benefits of preparing your own meals.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Fast food is convenient. 2. This is evidenced through its popularity and is based on how quickly it can be purchased, its price, the fact you do not have to prepare it yourself and how easy it is to clean up afterwards. 3. These incentives combine to entice the average worker, coming home tired after a long day, that some burgers from McDonald’s or a pizza from Domino’s will not only make their lives easier and reduce their stress levels but also help them cope with any personal problems. 4. Given all these motivating factors, it is no surprise that many today have convinced themselves that cooking at home is a waste of time.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence with your main idea at the end. This sentence can be short.
  2. Explain your main idea in detail.
  3. Develop it fully – vary long and short sentences.
  4. Conclude the paragraph.

1. Regardless, the above listed reasons do not outweigh the health risks of fast food or the health benefits of home-cooked meals. 2. Fast food has been shown, in numerous replicated studies over decades of research, to be one of the leading contributors to the risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. 3. The alternative to fast food is cooking at home. 4. This is not always healthy; it is perfectly possible to prepare an unhealthy meal by oneself. 5. However, home cooks have complete control over the ingredients and are not adding the preservatives or chemicals that are typically found in fast food. 6. They are instead more likely to serve fresh fruits and vegetables and be generally conscious of what goes into their body, thereby improving short and long-term health.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea.
  2. Explain your main idea – you can use research to support your ideas.
  3. Write short and long sentences.
  4. Include any caveats or exceptions.
  5. Keep developing your main idea.
  6. Finish developing your main idea fully and don’t switch to a new one.

1. In conclusion, fast food is a naturally attractive time and stress saver that does not imply people should stop cooking at home. 2. The health benefits of home-cooking are crucial and this is unlikely to change in the near future.

  1. Summarise your ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Add a final thought/detail. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many people today feel that cooking food at home has become inessential due to the ubiquity of fast food restaurants. In my opinion, the understandable appeal of fast food does little to undermine the health benefits of preparing your own meals.

Fast food is convenient. This is evidenced through its popularity and is based on how quickly it can be purchased, its price, the fact you do not have to prepare it yourself and how easy it is to clean up afterwards. These incentives combine to entice the average worker, coming home tired after a long day, that some burgers from McDonald’s or a pizza from Domino’s will not only make their lives easier and reduce their stress levels but also help them cope with any personal problems. Given all these motivating factors, it is no surprise that many today have convinced themselves that cooking at home is a waste of time.

Regardless, the above listed reasons do not outweigh the health risks of fast food or the health benefits of home-cooked meals. Fast food has been shown, in numerous replicated studies over decades of research, to be one of the leading contributors to the risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The alternative to fast food is cooking at home. This is not always healthy; it is perfectly possible to prepare an unhealthy meal by oneself. However, home cooks have complete control over the ingredients and are not adding the preservatives or chemicals that are typically found in fast food. They are instead more likely to serve fresh fruits and vegetables and be generally conscious of what goes into their body, thereby improving short and long-term health.

In conclusion, fast food is a naturally attractive time and stress saver that does not imply people should stop cooking at home. The health benefits of home-cooking are crucial and this is unlikely to change in the near future.

Answers

inessential not important

ubiquity very common

understandable appeal easy to understand why people want it

undermine doubt

preparing your own meals cooking at home

convenient easy and simple

evidenced supported by

clean up afterwards do the dishes, etc.

incentives combine reasons together

entice attract

average worker normal person

not onlybut also including both

reduce their stress levels make life less stressful

cope deal with

given all these motivating factors considering these enticements

no surprise naturally

convinced themselves make themselves think

waste of time not a good use of time

regardless nonetheless

outweigh stronger than

numerous replicated studies repeated in different research over and over

leading contributors main causes

risk factors what can lead to you getting a condition/disease

alternative different option

perfectly possible likely to happen

home cooks people who cook at home

complete control total oversight

ingredients what you put into a dish

adding the preservatives or chemicals putting in artificial substances

found in fast food that is in fast food

instead on the other hand

serve fresh fruits and vegetables recently bought foods

generally conscious more or less aware of

improving short and long-term health feeling better now and in the future

naturally attractive obviously something people want

saver keeps

imply necessarily

crucial really important

unlikely to change in the near future probably not going to be different later

Pronunciation

ˌɪnɪˈsɛnʃəl 
ju(ː)ˈbɪkwɪti 
ˌʌndəˈstændəbl əˈpiːl 
ˌʌndəˈmaɪn 
prɪˈpeərɪŋ jɔːr əʊn miːlz
kənˈviːniənt
ˈɛvɪdənst 
kliːn ʌp ˈɑːftəwədz
ɪnˈsɛntɪvz ˈkɒmbaɪn 
ɪnˈtaɪs 
ˈævərɪʤ ˈwɜːkə
nɒt ˈəʊnli … bʌt ˈɔːlsəʊ
rɪˈdjuːs ðeə strɛs ˈlɛvlz 
kəʊp 
ˈgɪvn ɔːl ðiːz ˈməʊtɪveɪtɪŋ ˈfæktəz
nəʊ səˈpraɪz 
kənˈvɪnst ðəmˈsɛlvz 
weɪst ɒv taɪm.
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs
aʊtˈweɪ 
ˈnjuːmərəs ˈrɛplɪkeɪtɪd ˈstʌdiz 
ˈliːdɪŋ kənˈtrɪbjʊtəz 
rɪsk ˈfæktəz 
ɔːlˈtɜːnətɪv 
ˈpɜːfɪktli ˈpɒsəbl 
həʊm kʊks 
kəmˈpliːt kənˈtrəʊl 
ɪnˈgriːdiənts 
ˈædɪŋ ðə prɪˈzɜːvətɪvz ɔː ˈkɛmɪkəlz 
faʊnd ɪn fɑːst fuːd
ɪnˈstɛd 
sɜːv frɛʃ fruːts ænd ˈvɛʤtəb(ə)lz 
ˈʤɛnərəli ˈkɒnʃəs 
ɪmˈpruːvɪŋ ʃɔːt ænd ˈlɒŋtɜːm hɛlθ
ˈnæʧrəli əˈtræktɪv 
ˈseɪvə 
ɪmˈplaɪ 
ˈkruːʃəl 
ʌnˈlaɪkli tuː ʧeɪnʤ ɪn ðə nɪə ˈfjuːʧə

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many people today feel that cooking food at home has become i________________l due to the u_______________y of fast food restaurants. In my opinion, the u_____________________l of fast food does little to u______________e the health benefits of p_______________________s.

Fast food is c______________t. This is e____________d through its popularity and is based on how quickly it can be purchased, its price, the fact you do not have to prepare it yourself and how easy it is to c______________________s. These i____________________e to e_________e the a________________r, coming home tired after a long day, that some burgers from McDonald’s or a pizza from Domino’s will n___________y make their lives easier and r______________________s b__________o help them c_____e with any personal problems. G___________________________________s, it is n_____________e that many today have c_______________________________s that cooking at home is a w_____________e.

R________________s, the above listed reasons do not o______________h the health risks of fast food or the health benefits of home-cooked meals. Fast food has been shown, in n_________________________________s over decades of research, to be one of the l________________________s to the r________________s for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The a________________e to fast food is cooking at home. This is not always healthy; it is p_________________e to prepare an unhealthy meal by oneself. However, h_____________s have c______________________l over the i__________________s and are not a___________________________________s that are typically f__________________d. They are i___________d more likely to s________________________________s and be g_______________________s of what goes into their body, thereby i_________________________________________h.

In conclusion, fast food is a n___________________________e time and stress s___________r that does not i_________y people should stop cooking at home. The health benefits of home-cooking are c___________l and this is u____________________________________e.

Listening Practice

Watch and listen to Gordon Ramsay cooking at home below:

Reading Practice

Learn some copycat recipes below so that you don’t have to go get fast food later:

https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/fast-food-copycat-recipes/

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Cooking

  1. Do you like to cook?
  2. Why do some people like cooking?
  3. Do you usually eat at home or eat out?
  4. What do people in your country usually cook?

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic and then check with my sample answer:

In many countries, traditional foods are being replaced by fast food. This has a negative impact on families, individuals and society.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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