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Your English: Idioms: food

Type: Reference material

Tim Bowen gives us plenty of food for thought with his interesting explanation of some of the many idioms associated with this yummy subject.

As food plays such a central role in human existence it is not surprising that there are a large number of idioms and expressions based on items of food. The word food itself provides us with the expression food for thought, meaning something that makes you think a lot about a particular subject, as in ‘Thanks for your comments – they have given us plenty of food for thought'.

Most people dream of finding a plum job (a very well-paid job) and might be accused of sour grapes (criticism of something because you are annoyed that you cannot have it) when they don’t get it. Even if a particular job is not your cup of tea (not something you enjoy), at least it will enable you to bring home the bacon (earn money to support your family) but you should always be careful not to put all your eggs in one basket (depend on only one thing) because if you do, you might end up with egg on your face (embarrassed because something you did has gone wrong).

You might think that something is a piece of cake (very easy) or meat and drink to you (something you enjoy because you can do it very easily), but things could go pear-shaped (go badly wrong) and your boss (the big cheese) might go bananas (get very angry) because what you did takes the biscuit (is the most silly, stupid or annoying thing in a series of things). If this happens, don’t rub salt into the wound (make matters worse) by saying something you might regret later and remember which side your bread is buttered (who to be nice to in order to gain advantages for yourself).

Something that is very inexpensive might be described as cheap as chips and may therefore sell like hot cakes (sell very quickly), but if you still don't like it you might say that it is not your cup of tea. If someone says 'It's no use crying over spilt milk' it means that the problem is not worth getting upset about, as the worst has already happened. A person who has their finger in every pie is doing lots of different projects at once, but if this seems too unbelievable to be true, you may want to take what they say with a pinch of salt (not entirely believe it).

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