Food Idioms: Examples and Explanations

• Apple of his eye – A favorite
• As busy as popcorn on a skillet – Very active
• As easy as apple pie – Something simple
• As flat as a pancake – Very flat
• As hungry as a bear – Very hungry
• As nutty as a fruitcake – Crazy
• As slow as molasses in January – Very slow
• As sour as vinegar – Disagreeable
• As sweet as honey – Very sweet
• As thick as pea soup – Very thick
• As warm as toast – Very warm
• Bad apple – Bad person
• Bear fruit – Get results
• Big cheese – Important person
• Big enchilada – Important thing or person
• Bite off more than you can chew – Try to do more than you can handle
• Bite the hand that feeds you – Act badly to someone who helps you
• Bitter pill to swallow – Hard to take
• Bread and butter – Basic needs
• Bring home the bacon – Earn a living
• Butter up – Flatter someone to get something
• Buy a lemon – Buy something worthless
• Chew the fat – Talk
• Coffee break – A break from work to eat or drink
• Compare apples and oranges – Compare things that are very different
• Cook his goose – Damage or affect negatively
• Cook up a storm – Cook a large quantity
• Cool as a cucumber – Doesn’t get easily upset
• Couch potato – Someone who watches a lot of TV
• Cream of the crop – The best
• Cut the mustard – Do what is necessary
• Cry over spilt milk – Worry about something in the past
• Drop like a hot potato – To immediately stop
• Eat crow – Admit a mistake
• Eat dirt – Be humble
• Eat high on the hog – Eat fine food
• Eat humble pie – To apologize
• Eat like a bird – Eat a small amount
• Eat like a horse – Eat a lot
• Eat one’s heart out – To be jealous
• Eat out – Dine in a restaurant
• Eat out of her hands – Do what she wants
• Eat us out of house and home – Eat a lot
• Eat your words – Take back words
• Egg on – Urge someone
• Either feast or famine – Either too much or not enough
• Everything from soup to nuts – A wide variety of items
• Fat is in the fire – Big problem
• Fine kettle of fish – A mess
• Finger in the pie – Participating
• Food for thought – Something to think about
• Forbidden fruit – Something banned
• For peanuts – Inexpensive
• Full of beans – Feel energetic
• Go bananas – Excited or crazy
• Goose is cooked – Finished or in trouble
• Gravy train – Well-paying job
• Greatest thing since sliced bread – Something that is excellent
• Half a loaf is better than none – Something is better than nothing
• Half-baked – Not thought through
• Hand to someone on a silver platter – Cater to someone
• Hard nut to crack – Difficult person
• Have a lot on one’s plate – Very busy
• Have a sweet tooth – Like sweet foods
• Have bigger fish to fry – Have more important things to do
• Have egg on your face – Be embarrassed
• Have one’s cake and eat it too – Having something both ways
• In a nutshell – In summary
• In a pickle – In trouble
• Life is a bowl of cherries – Life is good
• Like taking candy from a baby – Easy to do
• Like two peas in a pod – Very similar
• Meat and potatoes – Basics, simple food
• Melt in one’s mouth – Delicious
• Not for all the tea in China – Not for any price
• Not know beans about – Unfamiliar or ignorant
• Not worth a hill of beans – Not valuable
• Nutty as a fruitcake – Crazy
• Packed in like sardines – Crowded
• Piece of cake – Easy
• Pie in the sky – A dream
• Rotten to the core – Very bad
• Salt of the Earth – Ordinary people
• Sell like hotcakes – Sell a lot
• Slice of the pie – A share of something
• Small potatoes – Unimportant
• Spill the beans – Tell a secret
• Stick to your ribs – Last a long time
• Sugarcoat – Gloss over bad information
• Take with a grain of salt – Don’t take something seriously
• That’s the way the cookie crumbles – Things happen
• There is no such thing as a free lunch – Can’t get something for nothing
• Top banana – Leader
• Variety is the spice of life – Differences give life interest
• Walk on eggshells – Be cautious
• Whole enchilada – Entire thing