This week, we’re looking at English idioms that feature food and drink words. As there are lots of these idioms, we’re focusing today on idioms containing words for sweet food. Next month, we’ll publish a post on savoury (UK) or savory (US) food idioms.
The first paper in the exam was a piece of cake.
If someone selfishly wants two advantages that cannot be experienced at the same time, you might say they want to have their cake and eat it (too):
You can’t have a steady girlfriend and yet flirt with all the women in the room. That’s called having your cake and eating it!
A thing that makes a situation that is already positive even better is often described as the icing on the cake:
It’s a great job, in a great company and – the icing on the cake – I get to work with Ollie!
If a product sells like hot cakes, it sells quickly and in large numbers:
Property in this area is selling like hot cakes.
As you might expect, various items of fruit feature in idioms. The apple of someone’s eye is the person they love most and are most proud of, usually their child. It’s a slightly old-fashioned idiom, but one that you sometimes hear:
Melissa, his youngest child, was the apple of his eye.
In British English, another/a second bite at the cherry is another opportunity to do something:
He missed a chance to score just before halftime but got another bite at the cherry in the final minutes of the game.
Again, in British English, if a plan goes pear-shaped, it fails:
Our intention was to make an early start and get there by midday, but that all went pear-shaped.
If you describe someone’s criticism as sour grapes, you are suggesting that they are only being negative about something because they could not do or have it themselves:
Joe wasn’t impressed with Harry’s apartment but I suspect it’s just sour grapes because he can’t afford one himself.
The word fruit itself features in a useful idiom. The phrase low-hanging fruit refers to things that are easy to do or deal with, especially compared with other things:
I know that writing about my family for this essay is low-hanging fruit, but I don’t have time to research and write about anything else.
We would love to hear any common food idioms in your language!