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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 10 English Idioms with Food

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Welcome to

I'm Adam.

In today's video, we're going to look at idioms from the world of food.

So, all of these idioms have some sort of food in them.

And just to review: What is an idiom?

An idiom is an expression or a collection of words, the words of which don't necessarily

mean the same as the expression as a whole.


So, for example, we're going to talk about beans, but this idiom has nothing to do with


So I'm going to give you 10 idioms.

Here are five, and we're going to look at another five in a few minutes.


Let's start with: "Spill the beans".

"To spill" means to drop, like, for example if you have a bag of beans and you tilt it,

some of them will spill out.


Or you have a glass, and you spill some water.

So, what does: "Spill the beans" means?


It means to tell a secret.


To reveal a secret.

So, some of you might know the idiom: "To let the cat out of the bag" - same idea.

"To spill the beans" - to let out a secret.

It could also mean to just basically reveal some details.

So, I went out on a date last night, and then I come to work and all my co-workers-all my

guy friends-they want to know what happened, so they say: "Come on.

Spill the beans.

How was last night?

What did you do?

What...?" etc., all these things.

So, they want details.

They want the secret and they want me to tell them.

So, let out the secrets or the details.

Now, if you're talking about "bread and butter".

Now, everybody knows bread, you spread some butter on it - very delicious; you eat that.

But as an idiom, what does it mean when we say: "Something is my bread and butter"?

So, if I say: "Well, that's my bread and butter" means that's my major source.


So, if I'm a car dealer and I'm in a particular neighbourhood, the people who live in that

neighbourhood are my bread and butter; they're the ones who come and give me the most business.

So, it could be the major source of income or the major source of support.

So, some politicians, they target specifically white working-class people, or they target

immigrants, or they target any particular demographic group because that group is their

bread and butter; it is their major source of their support, and in some cases, their



"The big cheese".

So, not: "What is the big cheese?" but: "Who is the big cheese?"

The big cheese is the boss.


So, there's a new decision, a new policy that's going to come into effect in the company,

and I'm looking, and I'm going: "Whose idea was this?

Was this?"

And my co-worker says: "Oh, that's the big cheese.

He wanted it, so it's got to be done."

I say: "Well, that's stupid."

Well, still.

The big cheese wanted it - that's how it's going to be.

So, the boss knows.

Sometimes you might hear: "the head cheese", same idea.

"The head cheese" means the boss or whoever's in charge at the place.

Now: "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

So, imagine a tree and it has apples, when the apple drops, it drops very close to the

tree; not very far away from it.


Essentially, what this means is when we talk about a son and a father...

A son and his father.

So, if the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, we mean the son is very similar to his


It could be in looks, but usually it's more about behaviour.

And for some reason, we use it more about son and father than daughter and mother.

So, when we...

When somebody says: "Oh, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" means that the son

is doing the same things as his dad.

Now, usually we talk about this in...

Usually in negative things.

So, when somebody does something bad and we say: "He's just like his dad"...

We say: "Oh, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

He did bad things, his son is doing bad things; they're very similar in that way.

If you want to remember: An apple is the fruit of a tree; a child is technically the fruit

of a couple of people.


Now, what does it mean "to bring home the bacon"?

"Bacon", little strips of pork, you fry them and put them on your sandwich or whatever.

"Bring home the bacon", it doesn't mean bring home pork.

It means bring home money or earn a living.

Earn a living, make a living; salary.

So, if you're bringing home the bacon, you're bringing the money to take care of the family,

of the house, etc.

So, there's five; let's look at five more.

Okay, so now we have five more, and again, we're starting with butter.

Now, if you think about butter, what is it?

It's basically a rich, creamy milk.


It's tasty, it has a little bit of fat in it, a very rich flavour.

So, when we "butter somebody up", what are we doing?

Are we putting butter all over them?

Because that's not really good; that's kind of gross, actually.

But we are doing the opposite - we are flattering.

To flatter someone.

To say: "Oh, you know, you look very pretty today."

Or: "You're so smart, and you're so handsome, and you're so...

You're so good at what you do."

When you're doing this, you're buttering somebody up.

You're making them greasy so it's easier to slip something out of them.

You want something from them, so you make them feel really good, you say really nice

things about them, and then whatever favour you want just kind of slides off them much

more smoothly.

So, "to butter someone up" - to flatter, to praise.


Make them really feel really good, and then they're more willing to give you what you



"To have your cake and eat it too".

Now, sometimes you want two things that conflict.

You want the one side, but you don't want the other side.

Sometimes you get to have your cake, means you get the one thing and you get to avoid

or get the second thing as well.


So, you have your cake and you get to eat it...

Oh, I made a mistake here; sorry.

"Have your cake and eat it too"; not "it, it".

So, I'm trying to think.

So, taxes.

Let's say you win the lottery.

Like, in the US, if you win a lottery, you have to pay almost half of it, depending how

big it is, back to the government in taxes.

So you get your cake, but then half of it is gone to the government.

But in some countries, you get to have your cake and eat it too.

You win your million dollars, and you keep the whole million and you don't pay any taxes.

So, you don't have the side and the conflicting; you get to have both of the good of whatever

the issue is.

And it could be in any different context where you get both things that you want, even though

if they conflict with each other.


"Don't cry over spilled milk" or "over spilt milk".

Now, notice here I have "ed" ending or "t" ending.

This is sometimes North American or British thing.

British might spell it with a "t" more; Americans/Canadians will spell it with an "ed" more.

Meaning is the same, and we're talking about the past.

So: "Don't cry over spilled milk."

So, if you're eating a bowl of cereal, and your dog comes and knocks the table, and a

little bit of the milk comes out on the table - so, are you going to be upset?


There's no point.

It's already done, it can't be undone, there's no point being upset about something you can't


Another way to say this is just: "Let it go."


Don't be angry or don't be upset about things that have already happened and that you can't


Just move on, and hopefully it doesn't happen again; learn a lesson, maybe prevent it in

the future or avoid it in the future.

Now, if something is "not somebody's cup of tea"...

So: "It's not my cup of tea" means it's not to my taste.

And we're talking about taste.


Now, "taste", not like flavour.

I know you're thinking "tea" and "flavour", but "taste" means preference; what you like,

what you don't like.

So, somebody says: "Oh, I want to introduce you to this person."

And you say: "Oh, yeah.

I know him.

He's not really my cup of tea."

He's not my type; he's not the type of person that I choose to date or go out with.


So: "not my cup of tea" - not my preference; not to my taste.

And to "take something with a grain of salt".

So, if you look at salt very closely, very tiny, tiny little grains - that's what we

call each little piece of salt.

If you "take something with a grain of salt" means you don't accept it at face value.

"You don't accept it at face value" means you don't accept it as it is.

You always have a little bit of suspicion.

So, if somebody says: "Oh, this is true", you know what?

Maybe I don't believe you 100%.

I'm going to take everything you say with a grain of salt.

So, I...

I'll believe you 90%, but that 10% I'll go check and make sure that you're correct.


So, everything that you read in the newspapers or watch on, like, CNN or Fox TV or whatever

- take it all with a grain of salt; it's not 100% the truth.


So, anytime you're suspicious of somebody, and you're not sure he always...

He or she always tells the truth - just take everything they say with a grain of salt;

go do your own research, find out your own facts, and then you'll be sure of the information

that you need.


So, I hope these were pretty helpful.

All of these have some sort of food in them.

Good to know, because we talk about food all the time.

If you have any questions about these, please go to in the forum; you can

ask me questions there.

There's also a quiz you can take to check your understanding of these idioms.

I hope you like this video, and press "Like" on YouTube, and subscribe to my channel.

And come back again soon, and we'll do this again.

See you then.


The Description of 10 English Idioms with Food