Food Idioms & Proverbs

* This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

Let’s face it! We all LOVE food! And when we’re not eating, we like talking about food. In the English language there are thousands of expressions with food. Today we’re going to learn a few of the most common proverbs and idioms related to things that we eat and drink.

A proverb is a simple, traditional saying that expresses common sense and offers a piece of advice.  Often they are messages that older family members pass down to younger generations offering a bit of wisdom and guidance.

An idiom (or idiomatic expression) is a group of words that together have a meaning different from the meaning of each word on its own.


This proverb is used to advise people that eating a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables will help keep them healthy and out of the doctor’s office.








When we want to say that an action or activity is not difficult, but rather very easy, we can use this idiom. For example  if a friend is nervous about an exam that you have taken and found easy, you can say “Don’t worry! It’s a piece of cake!”







A person who is “bringing home the bacon” is earning enough money in his/her job to support the family.






When a friend has a secret or private information and we would like them to share it with us, we might say “spill the beans”. For example, “So, Jason, spill the beans! Tell us how you met your girlfriend.”







If we say “he bit off more than he could chew” it means that he tried to do more than possible or took on an endeavour that was too big or too difficult for him. When you bite off more than you can chew you have too much food in your mouth, thus the paralel with taking on a task that’s too big or difficult for you to handle.






If you’re a parent or you’ve taken care of todlers or young children, you know that they sometimes cry when something bad happens- even something as simple as a spilt glass of juice or milk.  This proverb reminds people that once something has happened, it is in the past and there’s not much we can do about it, and thus there is no reason to get upset.






When a person is very calm and relaxed we say “She’s as cool as a cucumber”. We may use this idiom in a situation in which we initially expected someone to be nervous or uneasy and we were surprised by their calm demeanor. For example:

– Was Sam really nervous when he played in the piano competition?

– No, he didn’t seem nervous at all.  He was as cool as a cucumber!





A couch potato is a very lazy person who spends too much time laying on the sofa watching TV. Example:

-Come on, Ed! Stop being such a couch potato! Get up and help me with the groceries!






When we want to express our preferences,  we use “I like”, “I prefer” or “I enjoy” among many other verbs. In the negative form we say “I don’t like” or if it’s a really strong negative feeling “I hate” or “I can’t stand”. This idiom is another way of expressing a negative opinion about something.  If you say “Sailing is not my cup of tea” it means that you don’t particularly enjoy sailing.

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* This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

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