When you don’t know what to say, say it in food

25 Aug

When in doubt, many people turn to food expressions to express their thoughts. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this but there are many expressions that I take issue with. Here’s a sampling: 

  1. Easy as pie. Have you ever made a pie? It is the farthest thing from easy. It’s pretty difficult to eat and cut, too. I don’t know who thought of this expression but whoever it was clearly never made a pie.
  2. Don’t cry over spilled milk. I’m sorry but I’m going to cry over spilled milk. First, milk is expensive especially the organic milk I buy. Second, it’s sticky and hard to clean up. Third,  it inevitably gets all over me which makes me sad. Particularly if it’s chocolate milk.
  3. Happy as a clam. Do we know for sure that clams really are happy? How was this decision made? Did a researcher conduct some sort of happiness survey among clams in different regions? I want proof before I make such a sweeping statement.
  4. Shake and bake. Funny in Talladega Nights. However, in real life, I can’t even fathom a situation where this expression would be appropriate. Or make sense.

    Does that blow your mind?


  5. Bringing home the bacon. Was bacon ever used as currency? If so, I’d like to bring this back for a number of reasons. But then it brings up some logistical problems like the conversion rate. For instance, would Canadian bacon be worth less than American bacon? How about turkey bacon or soy bacon? Where would they fall in the bacon currency scale? On second thought, maybe bacon as currency is just too complicated.

    Bacon wallet. Practical and tasty.


  6. How do you like them apples? I don’t get why apples were chosen. There are so many tastier, more exciting fruits than apples. How about the expression changes to how do you like them mangos or how do you like them bananas? Oh, and this expression only sounds good if you are Matt Damon and you are in the movie Good Will Hunting.
  7. Dangle the carrot. I suppose this expression has its origins with bunnies but now it’s used anytime there’s a motivational tool in place. But why not make it something better than a carrot, like dangle a cupcake or dangle a martini. I bet more people would be motivated if they were working for a cupcake.
  8. Salad days. Huh? What does this even mean?
  9. Cool as a cucumber. I get this one but I don’t like it. It is only acceptable in this lyric: I’m as cool as a cucumber in a bowl of hot sauce. The Beasties make everything better.
  10. Any expression involving cheese: The big cheese, cut the cheese, cottage cheese thighs. Why does cheese get such a bad rap? It’s a terrific food. It’s never hurt anyone (unless you are of the lactose intolerant set) and it’s delicious. Baseball players use as a compliment towards good fastballs. That’s the kind of positive reinforcement cheese needs.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some food expressions that I do like: candy ass, cool beans, cherry pick, bun in the oven, just to name a few. But the ones that I don’t like far exceed the number that I do like. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I’ll just roll with it! 

How about you? Are there any food expressions you don’t like or don’t understand? Are there any you do like? 


11 Responses to “When you don’t know what to say, say it in food”

  1. janna @ janna's keeping it real August 25, 2010 at 10:22 pm #

    “But then it brings up some logistical problems like the conversion rate.”

    loooove it!haha

    some of my favorites:
    “she’s a smart cookie!”
    “what I am, chopped liver?”
    “use your noodle” (i just don’t get the brain/noodle comparison…am i missing something?)
    “rolling in the dough” (some days, i wouldn’t mind literally rolling in the “dough”. gotta love carb-tastic days!)

    • theemptykitchen August 26, 2010 at 5:32 am #

      i don’t get the brain/noodle comparison either. you would think that would be reserved for other body parts.

  2. red_wagon August 26, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    You crack me up. All of these are very true musings. I wish I could earn a paycheck in bacon… yumm…

    • theemptykitchen August 26, 2010 at 8:17 am #

      but it also begs the question of do you get paid in cooked bacon or uncooked bacon? both have pros and cons.

  3. Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary August 26, 2010 at 1:21 pm #

    Great list! I’ve always wondered about numbers 1 and 3. Pie is not easy, and how do we know that clams are happy?!

    I’m pretty sure most of these saying come from historical situations that are difficult for us, now to imagine. For example:

    In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme: Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.

    Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and chew the fat.

    • theemptykitchen August 26, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

      thank you so much for explaining the bacon thing! but i still find it exceptionally weird that they hung up bacon. how long did it stay hanging for? didn’t they want to eat it instead? i know i would.

      • Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary August 26, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

        I know, it does sound pretty weird to me, but in a strange way it makes sense. As for me, I don’t eat bacon (or pork of any kind), so I wouldn’t really know! I guess if it was only available meat, I might change my ways :-).

        Here’s another tidbit:
        Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or the upper crust.

        Of course, just because I read it on the Internet doesn’t make it 100% accurate. I am not a historian, and I don’t claim to be!

      • theemptykitchen August 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

        i trust the internet completely 🙂

        you should try morningstar farms soy bacon. it’s really, really good. it’s what i eat now that i don’t eat meat.

  4. Alyssa August 26, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    The full saying for “happy as a clam” (from what I understand, anyway) is “happy as a clam at high tide”. So they’re happy they won’t get collected and eaten by the mass of people!

  5. Sarah August 27, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    this is hilarious! where did you find that bacon wallet? i should google it now 🙂 my husband would LOVE that!

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