20 useful food idioms to spice up your writing

By Edmund Ho
  • We offer you a smorgasbord of food-related phrases for use in everyday speech
  • It'll be a total piece of cake
By Edmund Ho |

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A piece of cake

Meaning: something that is easy to do
Use it: “Scoring all A’s was a piece of cake. I didn’t even study properly!” boasted Philip.

Bring home the bacon

Meaning: to earn money to live on
Use it: Mary was tired of being the only one in the family bringing home the bacon.

Cheap as chips

Meaning: really inexpensive
Use it: “This chair is on sale; it’s practically cheap as chips!”

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Not your cup of tea

Meaning: it is not the type of thing that you like
Use it: “Drag racing really is not my cup of tea,” said Hank.

Take something with a pinch of salt

Meaning: to not completely believe something that you are told, because you think it is unlikely to be true
Use it: “Neil lies all the time, so people often take what he says with a pinch of salt.”

Have your cake and eat it too

Meaning: to have all the benefits of a situation when, in fact, having one thing means that you cannot have the other
Use it: Simon wants to go to university, but does not want to study. His parents say he cannot have his cake and eat it too.

As cool as a cucumber

Meaning: very calm and relaxed, especially in a difficult situation
Use it: He was as cool as a cucumber, considering he was talking about his company going bankrupt.

Egg on someone

Meaning: to encourage someone to do something, especially something unwise or bad
Use it: Egged on by his friends, he was determined to fight his rival.

In a nutshell

Meaning: using as few words as possible
Use it: The situation in Syria is too complex to be explained in a nutshell.

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Put all your eggs in one basket

Meaning: to depend on a single person or plan of action for
your success
Use it: You are investing all your money in stocks? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, the financial adviser warned.

Bear fruit

Meaning: to be successful especially after a lot of work or effort
Use it: Joan’s hard work is bearing fruit; her boss has promised her a promotion soon.

Buy a lemon

Meaning: something you buy that gives you a lot of problems
Use it: “I think you bought a lemon!” said John’s friend when he came home with an old, dodgy-looking Nintendo Switch.

Couch potato

Meaning: a person who watches a lot of television and does not have an active life
Use it: My friend becomes a couch potato during the football season.

Eat humble pie

Meaning: to admit that you were wrong
Use it: The politician was forced to eat humble pie after losing his seat in the general election.

Be like taking candy from a baby

Meaning: to be very easy
Use it: The game of tennis seems so easy for him, it’s like he’s taking candy from a baby.

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Pie in the sky

Meaning: something good that is unlikely to happen
Use it: I wanted to be a football superstar, but I knew it was probably pie in the sky.

Sell like hot cakes

Meaning: to be bought quickly and in large numbers
Use it: The new product is apparently selling like hot cakes.

Walk on eggshells

Meaning: to be very careful with your words or actions
Use it: After my brother broke up with his girlfriend, I was walking on eggshells, avoiding talking about it with their friends.

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Have egg on your face

Meaning: to be very embarrassed because of something you said or did
Use it: Henry ended up with egg on his face when none of his predictions about the World Cup came true.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles

Meaning: said when something slightly unlucky has happened that could not have been prevented and so must be accepted
Use it: “That’s the way the cookie crumbles,’’ the tennis star said. “I didn’t play that well in my second round match, so I knew I was probably in for a tough match today.”

All gifs via GIPHY

Edited by M. J. Premaratne

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