Food idioms in languages point out a very particular aspect of each food, often tickling the funny bone. Here are a few examples in popular languages:
Food Idioms in English
Being full of beans!
Being full of beans means having a lot of energy – because beans are high in carbohydrates, molecules packed with energy
Icing on the cake!
Icing on the cake describes something that makes a situation even better – because what is better than a layer of thick sugar on a cake?
As cool as a Cucumber!
As cool as a cucumber means being calm – because cucumbers are rarely energetic and more often than not are placed in the fridge.
Food idioms are also very common in other languages; however their explanation is often unclear to non-speakers and requires a great knowledge of that culture.
Food Idioms in French
Avoir du pain sur la planche
Avoir du pain sur la planche (to have bread on the plate) means to have many things to do.
En faire un fromage
En faire un fromage (to do a cheese of it) means to exaggerate a situation
Food Idioms in Russian
Запретный плод сладок
Запретный плод сладок (Zapretnyy plod sladok – in English, the forbidden fruit is sweetest) means being tempted to do something you are not supposed to.
Вешать лапшу на уши
Вешать лапшу на уши (Vešat’ lapšu na ušy – in English, to hang noodles on someone’s ears) = to lie to someone
Food Idioms in Spanish
Importar un pepino
Importar un pepino (to mind a cucumber to someone): not to worry about something at all
Tener un cacao mental
Tener un cacao mental (to have a cocoa mind): To be confused
Food Idioms in Hindi
Oont ke munh mein jeera
Oont ke munh mein jeera (A cumin seed in a camel’s mouth) describes an insufficient offer
Thali ka baingan
Thali ka baingan (An eggplant on a plate) describes a person that cannot be trusted
Did you notice? Most of the time, the foods used in these expressions are typical of the language, cuisine and culture they come from: bread and cheese for France, beans and pie for English-speaking countries, cumin in India…
Next time you munch on something, have a quick think about how it is used in your language; you might be surprised how often you use it as idioms without realizing.
All there is left to say is, Bon Appétit!