I love a good question. Here's one I got this week:
"Why does this homework say the Japanese word for food is ryouri? I thought you said the word for food was tabemono?"
Consider the following:
Potatoes are tabemono, but they're not ryouri.
A plate of hot chips is tabemono AND ryouri.
Does that give you a clue?
Tabemono is food in quite a general sense.
The unprepared ingredients in your fridge are tabemono. The food on your plate is also tabemono.
Suki-na tabemono wa?
What's your favourite food?
Karada ni ii tabemono besuto 10!
Top ten foods that are good for you!
Ryouri, on the other hand, is cooking or cuisine. Specifically, it's food which has been cooked or prepared.
The food on your plate is ryouri, but the ingredients in your fridge are not ryouri.
Sono mise no ryouri wa oishikatta desu.
The food at that restaurant was great.
Ryouri can be the cuisine of a whole country:
Furansu ryouri ga daisuki desu.
I love French food.
Igirisu ryouri wa mazui to iwaremasu.
It's said that British food is disgusting.
料理をする ryouri o suru means "to cook", too:
Robaato san wa amari ryouri o shimasen.
Robert doesn't cook very often.
Question time! Can you answer these questions?
（すきな たべものは なんですか。）
（よく りょうりを しますか。なにを つくりますか。）
Or, you could hop on over to Twitter and ask me a question. I do love a good question 😊