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17 Food and Eating Idioms From Other Countries

Independence Day isn’t just patriotic speeches, flying the flag, parades and fireworks. Most Americans also celebrate July 4th by eating. A lot. I pigged out (Shameless lead-in to the blog topic) on the usual picnic fare: hot dogs, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, and watermelon. A neighbor told me she had Jose Cuervo for dessert yesterday. Ah yes, “Variety is the spice of life.” (Another shameless lead-in to the topic today), Food and Eating Idioms From Other Countries).

First, a quick refresher: an idiom is a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light ). the meaning of an idiom is figurative. The words and meaning don't exactly go together: it's raining cats and dogs really means it's raining very hard.

Food and eating idioms are common in other languages. Here are some examples.

Brazil. Our language is Portuguese. usually If a person is very hungry, it can be said like this “I could eat an ox” ( instead of a horse); work up an appetite turns into ” open the appetite”.

In Poland if you are very hungry, you will say: I could eat a horse with hooves.

Apparently a Russian person can get much more hungry, as we Russians say “I could eat an elephant” in such a case.

In Italian we say “I’d eat the table’s legs” …

Venezuela: if you say “I’m as hungry as a hardware store mouse” it means that you are really really hungry, you are starving!

Arabian idiom: when food is delicious we say “it’s so delicious that you eat your fingers after it!!”

One cannot ignore France when discussing food idioms. Here are a few choice ones.

Source: Kitchen French: 7 French Food Idioms - FluentU › blog › french-food-idioms

Raconter des salades. (Telling salads.) In English, we call them tall tales. But in French, when someone tells a story that seems a bit too crazy to be true, it’s called a salade.

Occupe-toi de tes oignons! (Mind your onions!) When someone’s putting their nose in things that don’t concern them fairly similar to the English phrase, “Mind your own beeswax!”

’ai la pêche! (I have the peach!) If you hear someone say this phrase, don’t go looking for a peach in his hands. Someone who says, “J’ai la pêche” means that he’s in high spirits or has a lot of energy. English variation: “I feel just peachy!”

Vouloir le beurre et l’argent du beurre. (Wanting the butter and the money from the butter.) Sound familiar? It should; this French expression is very similar to our “Have your cake and eat it too.” Just as you can’t have cake and eat it, you can’t have butter and the money you spent buying it.

Ça ne mange pas de pain. (It doesn’t eat bread.) When something “doesn’t eat bread,” it means that it’s not problematic or too expensive. Similar to “no skin off my nose,” this expression is used to mean something like, “it couldn’t hurt.”

Now let’s travel to Scandinavian countries for some food and eating idioms.


Our favourite Nordic idioms - ScandiKitchen - Scandi Life › nordicidioms

“Glida in på en räkmacka” -‘slides in on a prawn sandwich’ Sweden. it means someone who didn’t have to work to get where they are in life. (My favorite).

“At træde i spinaten” “To step in the spinach.” Danish, in Norway it’s salad instead of spinach!) Meaning: To make a mistake.

“Att lägga lök på laxen” “To put onion on the salmon” Swedish- Meaning: To make things even worse…

“ kiertää kuin kissa kuumaa puuroa” “To pace around hot porridge like a cat”Finnish – Meaning: To beat around the bush.

“Nu är det kokta fläsket stekt” “Now the boiled pork is fried” Sweden If someone tells you that, what they are really saying is ‘now things are really, really bad’.

“Er det hestens fødselsdag?” “Is it the horse’s birthday?” Danish. Meaning: the rye bread is too thick for my open sandwich.

Do you have a favorite among these food/eating idioms? Contact me by using the Contact tab on my website:

I’m making some editing changes to the website. You’ll notice the background color is different, and there is a new set of questions and answers at the Q&A tab. See for yourself.

Finally, be safe out there.

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