Today’s English expression is “cook up.”
To “cook something up” is to create a clever story or plan. If a plan or story is “clever,” it’s smart and unique. So if you cook something up, you’re creating a smart and unique story, or a smart and unique plan.
When we say someone cooked something up, it’s generally against the rules, generally not a true story, some type of crime. But I’m not talking like, smash a car window and steal a phone. That’s not clever. Clever is like, you think about it, you plan it, and it’s a smart plan.
So when you cook something up, you make a clever story or plan. Here’s an example. “Better Call Saul ”—you’re tired of hearing me talk about this show, but I’m watching all five seasons, so it’s giving me inspiration.
Jimmy, a character in Better Call Saul, back in his past, would cook up scams to cheat people out of money. He’d get them to buy fake watches. He’d get them to invest in non-existent companies. He’d sit at this bar in Cicero, Illinois, drinking with a buddy. And they’d cook up a plan to scam money from someone else in the bar. They’d think up an elaborate story, they’d each play parts, and somehow they’d get the other person to give them money. They cooked up a story. They made up a story, they made up a plan. It was smart—in its own way—and unique.
Did you ever skip school? I never did, never once. I wasn’t clever enough to cook up a plan to skip school. You see, at least where I grew up, if you’re not in the classroom, the school calls your parents. So you can’t just wander off and spend the day at the park, or wherever. You need to cook something up. You need a story. You need to create fake documents, like a note from home. You might need to forge a signature. You might need to start laying the groundwork days in advance.
There’s a famous movie called “Ferris Buehler’s Day Off.” It takes place in Chicago and the suburbs. Ferris is a kid in school. And he cooks up an elaborate plan to skip school. He creates a complicated, elaborate story and plan so that he can skip school one day.
On Thursday, I’ll tell you about a big real estate scam that two Venezuelan immigrants cooked up in Miami. They cooked it up…it was an elaborate, complicated plan. And it was clever. I worked in the real estate industry for fifteen years and I read their scheme and I said, huh, I don’t support it, I don't agree with it, but I have to give them credit: it was smart. There are lots of ways to steal money. But the plan they cooked up was clever, it was smart. Illegal, wrong, all that stuff. But it was smart.
Quote of the Week
Time for a quote of the week. “Blues” is a type of music; it was one of the precursors to rock and roll music. A lot of famous rock bands—the Rolling Stones among them—were heavily influenced by blues music. Jimi Hendrix was a famous guitarist. And here’s today’s quote: “Blues is easy to play—but hard to feel.”
I’m not a musician whatsoever . I don’t have a musical bone in my body. But I think this means that it’s easy to play the notes. But to be a good blues player, you have to feel it in your body—and that’s the hard part. I think.
See you next time!
That’s all for today’s lesson. Remember, on Thursday, I’ll tell you the full story of the Venezuelan couple who pulled off one of the biggest real estate scams in recent history—until they got caught.
While you wait, remember the lesson continues online at PlainEnglish.com/528. In today’s lesson, you heard me say, “the more expensive, the better.” And on today’s video lesson, I show you exactly what that means and how to use it in your own sentences. That’s online at PlainEnglish.com/528.
See you Thursday.