In this The English We Speak podcast: Neil is cooking an unusual meal in the BBC Learning English kitchen. Why has he put books into the saucepan? Find out more by listening to this programme.
Neil: Hello and welcome to the BBC Learning English kitchen with me, Neil, and my assistant, Feifei.
Feifei: Yes, welcome to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. I am very excited today because Neil has asked me to be his assistant in the BBC Learning English kitchen.
Neil: That’s right. I’ve started boiling the water in the saucepan and now I’ll prepare the ingredients.
Feifei: Oh, I’m so excited! I wonder what Neil’s going to cook. So what are the ingredients?
Neil: There we go.
Feifei: Neil, I think you are emptying your bag from the library rather than the supermarket!
Neil: No Feifei, this is right. I’m going to cook the books.
Feifei: Cook the books?! Are you crazy?!
Neil: Yes, Feifei. I might look happy and full of joy but there’s something terrible I have to admit.
Feifei: Oh no. What’s that?
Neil: Well… I have serious financial problems. I’m millions of pounds in debt.
Feifei: Oh no! How will cooking the books help?
Neil: It’s an expression in English. If you ‘cook the books’, you change the numbers in a company’s financial records so you can take some of the money for yourself illegally.
Feifei: Neil! That’s not like you. Let’s hear some more examples of that phrase being used.
- A: Did you hear Dave the accountant got fired for stealing from the company?!
- B: Yeah, he’d been cooking the books for years.
- A: The chief executive of that bank got sent to jail for cooking the books.
- B: Well I think he deserves it. Fraud is a serious crime.
Feifei: Hmm, so are you cooking the books so you can pay off your debts?
Neil: Yes, it’s the only thing I can think of. I’m desperate!
Feifei: I don’t think that’s a good idea, Neil. Fraud is a serious crime. Oh, but hang on. What’s that floating on the top?
Neil: Oh it’s just a lottery ticket. I use them as bookmarks.
Feifei: Let me check the lottery numbers on my smartphone.
Neil: What’s the point? I never win.
Feifei: Actually Neil, you’ve won!
Neil: I’ve won? I’m a millionaire! My problems are over! Let’s celebrate! Let’s have a meal! Here – this one I’ve just cooked.
Feifei: Neil didn’t cook the books in vain. Mmm – these books are actually delicious!
Neil: Not bad, are they?!
The English We Speak – To cook the books Transcript Video
Source: BBC Learning EnglishMore Series for You: