​Domesticated Foods: Used to

Level: A2/B1 

Carrots. In the distant past carrots used to be purple or white. They also used to be thinner and longer than today. 

Eggplants. Ancient eggplants used to have spikes. They used to be small and round. They used to look like eggs. Their skin used to be green. People used to use eggplants for medicine.

Cucumbers. In the past cucumbers used to be oval. There used to be spikes on their skin. They used to have only 4 large seeds inside them. Ancient cucumbers used to be toxic and were not edible. 

Tomatoes. Tomatoes used to resemble berries because they were tiny. They used to have different colours. They used to be yellow, green and even purple. People used to think that tomatoes were poisonous.

Corn. Corn used to taste dry like a raw potato. Corn used to be smaller in size. It used to contain less sugar. Corn used to grow inside a hard shell. 

Bananas. Long ago bananas used to have large and hard seeds. They used to taste bitter and were not edible.

Peaches. Peaches used to be the size of a cherry. They also used to have a different taste. They used to be sour. Peaches used to have waxy skin which was not edible. They also used to be less juicy than today.

Watermelons. Watermelons used to have a paler skin. They used to taste extremely bitter.


Answer the questions:

1. Which fruit(s) or vegetable(s) used to: 

  1. …be thin? __________
  2. …have spikes? __________
  3. …be smaller than today? __________
  4. …taste bitter? __________
  5. …have different colours? __________
  6. …be poisonous? __________
  7. …be oval? __________
  8. …have pale skin? __________
  9. …grow inside a shell? __________
  10. …resemble a cherry? __________

2. What food from the text is your favourite? Describe how it used to look in the past.

3. Match the columns.

Then write a short description of each fruit/vegetable. Which fruit is not mentioned? What can you tell about it?

1. Carrots


2. Eggplants


3. Tomatoes


4. Cucumbers


5. Watermelons


6. Bananas




a. eggplant; 

b. tomato;

c. watermelon;

d. corn; 

e. cucumber;

f. carrot;

e. banana.

4. Compare ancient and present day fruits and vegetables. 

Write about their colour/skin/taste/size/etc.

Critical thinking:

  1. Why the name of the text is ‘Domesticated Foods’?
  2. Imagine you are going to shop for ancient foods with your friends. Describe to them what each vegetable or fruit used to look like so they understand what they need to find.
  3. Imagine you travelled 150 years into the future. Tell people there how do fruits and vegetables used to look like in their ‘past’. Start your story like this: 150 years ago they used to… and in the ancient times they…
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