10 common food idioms

Here are some common food idioms, together with definitions and examples.

At the bottom of the page you’ll find a link to a quick quiz for testing yourself on these phrases.

as cool as a cucumber

to be very relaxed and calm in a particular situation
The Swedish tennis player Bjorn Borg was known for always being as cool as a cucumber on court. He never looked nervous or stressed.

not my cup of tea

something is not to your taste
Beach holidays are not my cup of tea: I much prefer going sightseeing in cities.

don’t put all your eggs in one basket

to spread your risks, to not depend on one thing
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by investing all your money in one company. Invest smaller amounts in several companies.

take something with a pinch of salt

to not automatically believe something, not immediately assume that someone is telling the truth
You should take what she says with a pinch of salt – she’s always exaggerating.

a bad egg

someone who is often in trouble and is not to be trusted
My mum says that John Smith is a bad egg and she doesn’t want me to be his friend. She says he’ll get me in trouble.

have your cake and eat it

you can’t always have everything, you can’t have two opposing things or situations
Mike loves his easy part-time job and all the free time he has, but he says he wants to be rich and successful. He can’t have his cake and eat it – if he wants more money he’ll have to get a full-time job.

the apple of my eye

to love and adore someone
My daughter is the apple of my eye.

cheesy

to be kitsch and/or without style
That film was so predictable and unoriginal – it was just a cheesy love story.

to butter someone up

to be especially nice to someone or give someone something in order to get what you want
She doesn’t usually speak to me, but yesterday she was buttering me up after she heard I had been promoted to a higher position at the company.

in a nutshell

basically, to summarise
He’s selfish, greedy and impolite; in a nutshell, he’s horrible.