It is sometimes said that the next best thing to eating food is talking about food. If this is true, we need the vocabulary with which to do it! In this post, we focus on idioms, phrasal verbs and other phrases that we use to talk about eating.
As you might imagine, many of the more colourful phrases in English relate to eating a lot. Someone who has eaten too much may say informally that they have made a pig of themselves: I made a real pig of myself at lunch.
A person who has had people staying in their home may say humorously that the visitors have eaten them out out of house and home, meaning that they have eaten all their food: My grandchildren came to stay for the week and ate me out of house and home!
She’s very slim but she can really pack it away (=she eats a lot)
The kids put away three packets of cookies in one evening.
If you wolf food down, you eat a lot of it very quickly: The boys wolfed the pizzas down and then started on the cake.
The phrasal verb pick at, meanwhile, means the opposite. Someone who picks at their food eats very little of what is on their plate, showing no interest in it: She had no appetite and picked at her salad.
To force food down is to make yourself eat it when you do not want to: I hate cheese but to be polite, I managed to force it down.
There are a number of useful phrases that include the word appetite. Someone who has a good/healthy appetite eats plenty: Both children have healthy appetites.
If you work up an appetite, you do something, for example exercise, that makes you feel hungry: I thought we could go for a walk and work up an appetite for dinner.
If a snack that you eat before a meal spoils your appetite, it makes you no longer feel hungry: No more sweets, Phoebe, or it will spoil your appetite.
A phrase which some people may find slightly unpleasant is to make someone’s mouth water. If the smell or sight of food makes your mouth water, it makes you want to eat: Ooh, the smell of bread baking is making my mouth water!
Finally, someone who is very hungry may say informally that they could eat a horse: Are we going to stop for food? I could eat a horse! What is the equivalent phrase in your language?