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Food related idioms from around the world often bring out interesting characteristics of the ingredients used in preparing each dish, sometimes tickling the funny bone.

Here are a few examples of interesting food idioms from around the world that you are sure to not have thought the same way:

United Kingdom – English Idioms

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?

BEING FULL OF BEANS!

‘Being full of beans’ means having a lot of energy – because beans are high in carbohydrates, molecules packed with energy.

AS COOL AS A CUCUMBER!

‘As cool as a cucumber’ means being calm – because cucumbers are rarely seen as energetic and more often than not are placed in the refrigerator.

France – French Idioms

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.

Russia – Russian Idioms

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.

Spain – Spanish Idioms

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.

India – Hindi/Indian Idioms

OONT KE MUNH MEIN JEERA

‘Oont ke munh mein jeera’ (A cumin seed in a camel’s mouth) describes an insufficient offer.

THALI KA BAIGAN

‘Thali ka baigan’ (An eggplant on a plate) describes a person that cannot be trusted.


Did you notice something interesting? Usually the ingredients used in preparing the food form the basis of these idioms and are typical of the cuisine/region 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 if it is used as an idiom in your country/region and share them below in the comments.