Speak and Write English with Philip

English with Philip


What are Food Idioms

Food idioms are phrases or expressions that typically presents a figurative, non-literal meaning attached to the phrase; but some phrases become figurative idioms while retaining the literal meaning of the phrase. Categorized as formulaic language, an idiom’s figurative meaning is different from the literal meaning.

In English  we take ideas from many parts of our lives to form a food idiom, we use words, phrases, places, people, things and animals to create each individual Idiom. Food idioms are very popular and to the native British speaker they are a normal part of every day speech. If you are not familiar with food idioms; the best thing to remember is that the individual words do not mean very much. the only way the food idiom means anything to anyone is as a phrase. (By phrase I mean a collection of words together).  Each food idiom or phrase has to be memorised as a phrase. Try also our music idioms.

When do we use food idioms

We would normally use a food idiom to add character or interest to our conversation. Imagine you are reading a story book and in the book there are often words to make the story sound more interesting, maybe more dramatic and colourful.  When we are speaking we do exactly the same thing and often we do this by including idioms in our speech. By adding idioms in our sentences, this can make what you are saying much more interesting to the listener.  We can use Food Idioms on all occasions; be it with friends, at home, work, school and even interviews. Idioms and food idioms are a great way to show that you have a good command of the English language and you are also connected with English humour. Practice your idiom use with your Skypeclass Teacher Philip.

To go bananas

When you read the food idiom above ‘to go bananas‘ you are probably lost. You think what goes bananas? who goes bananas? what bananas?.  If you have not learnt this idiom of by heart, it means nothing to you. What it actually means is ‘to become very enthusiastic about something’. Example: When I gave her a car as a birthday gift she went bananas.

read more about other Idioms at the BBC

20 Food Idioms in English

It’s a case of sour grapes

Used to demonstrate a persons negative attitude about something

  • The customer service department said the complaint letter was a case of sour grapes.
  • I don’t thinks the lottery is worth the price, and that is not sour grapes because I did not win.

A second bite of the cherry

Another opportunity to do something.

  • The singer was allowed a second bite of the cherry in the singing competition.
  • the nervous interviewee was allowed a second bite of the cherry with a second interview opportunity..

It’s not one’s cup of tea

Something a person does not like or is not interested in

  • Animals are not my cup of tea.
  • Takeaway food is not my cup of tea. I prefer fresh food.

I wouldn’t do  it for all the tea in China

Not at any price

  • I would not step past your front door for all the tea in china.
  • I will not sell my skateboard, not for all the tea in china.

It’s as good as a chocolate teapot

It is useless to use.

  • The umbrella lets water in, it is as good as a chocolate teapot.
  • The car is full of faults, it is as useful to me as a chocolate teapot.

It’s a hot potato

A controversial topic that is best avoided.

  • I don’t want to speak about the election, it is a hot potato.
  • Drink and drugs are hot potatoes in my town.

A carrot and a stick

the use of a combination of reward and punishment to get people to do things

  • The Manager thought the carrot and stick approach motivated his staff.
  • The schools want to introduce a carrot and stick method to help students increase their grades.

Like two peas in a pod

Two people who acted the same or look the same.

  • When they looked in the mirror they looked like two peas in a pod.
  • The twins were like two peas in a pod, only their Mother could tell the difference.

To be full of beans

To be highly spirited or very happy and lively.

  • When my Sister returned home from her date, she was full of beans.
  • My Dad was full of beans when we said he would have to stay at home alone on Friday evening.

I haven’t got a bean

To have absolutely no money

  • My Brother could not go out with his friends as he didn’t have a bean.
  • She didn’t have a bean during her 3 years at university.

To spill the beans

To indiscreetly reveal information that is secret.

  • My Uncle spilled the beans about my failed exam to my father.
  • My son spilled the beans to his sister by telling her what present she was getting for her Birthday.

To call someone a bad egg

We say bad egg to refer to someone as a jerk or not a very nice person.

  • I have no time for my Uncle as he clearly is a bad egg.
  • She is always angry and rude, clearly she is a bad egg.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Don’t risk everything hoping that one thing or business could be successful.

  • I want to spread my savings around instead of putting them into one bask
  • I want to study a variation of subjects instead of putting all my eggs into one basket.

He/she has egg on their face

When a person is very embarrassed about something.

  • He said he got a giant pay rise, instead he got 2% and now he has egg on his face.
  • I was completely wrong and now I have egg on my face.

It’s as easy as pie

Very easy

  • Using a TV remote is as easy as pie.
  • For me, learning to drive was as easy as pie. But for my brother it was a nightmare.

Pie eyed

To be very drunk

  • Every Friday after work my friends like to get pie eyed at the local bar.
  • I hate the weekends, because many young people get pie eyed and it makes me uncomfortable.

Have a finger in many pies

To have an influence or interested in many different areas or things.

  • My Dad earns a good salary because he has a finger in many pies.
  • My Mother does not have a secure job but she does have a finger in many pies and earns a good living.

Bring home the bacon

To earn money for a family to live on

  • My Mother and Father work very hard every week to ensure they always bring home the bacon.
  • I hate procrastinating, I need to concentrate on being able to bring home the bacon.

Butter someone up

To compliment or please another person, especially in order to get something from them.

  • Oh Marie, you look fabulous today. Do you mind if I borrow your car?
  • John buttered his wife up in order to get her to agree to move to a new house.