I might be throwing you out of the frying pan into the fire by posting two consecutive articles on food idioms in English as it might be a bit overwhelming, but please bear with me. In the end, it will be all worth it. If you haven't yet read the previous post, I suggest looking through it carefully and taking notes. In today's post I will be referring to a lesson plan that will include some of the previous idioms as well as a few new ones.
First off, I would like for you to read the following story crammed with idioms and expressions. The story was borrowed from here, and you can find a few activities that will make a great lesson plan if you're a teacher.
Bob works hard to bring home the bacon1, and put bread and butter2 on his family's table. Every morning, he drags himself to his desk at the bank and faces his tedious 10-hour-a-day job. His boss, Mark, is a bad egg3 but has somehow taken a liking to Bob so he always speaks well of Bob in front of Mr. Davies, the owner and big cheese4 of the company. Mark tells Mr. Davies that Bob's the cream of the crop5 and is one smart cookie6 who uses his noodles7. Mark likes to chew the fat8 with Bob during coffee break and discusses half-baked9 company plans with him because he trusts Bob and knows that Bob won't spill the beans10 behind his back. On these occasions, Bob tries to avoid any hot potatoes11 and, even if Mark isn't his cup of tea12, Bob makes an effort to butter him up13 by leading Mark into discussions about electronic gadgets which Mark is nuts about14. Bob really thinks that Mark is out to lunch15 and nutty as a fruitcake16, but in a nutshell17, if he polishes the apple18, his job could become a piece of cake19 and maybe one day he will find his gravy train20.
- Bring home the bacon
- Put bread and butter on the table: When you "put bread and butter" on the table you are the provider for your family. You can also say "we talked about bread and butter issues", which means you talk about something very important for people.
- Bad egg
- Big cheese
- The cream of the crop is used to talk about the best people, the best there is.
- One smart cookie: Somebody is called "one smart cookie" when they are really smart. You can also say that the person is "on the ball."
- Use one's (his, your, my) noodles means to "use your brains" and to think.
- Chew the fat with somebody means to have a conversation with them.
- Half-baked plans are the plans that are in the process of materializing, in the works.
- Spill the beans means to tell the secret. Another good expression is "to let the cat out of the bag."
- Hot potatoes are very difficult discussion topics that can provoke a lot of debate.
- It's not my cup of tea means it's not something I enjoy doing.
- Butter somebody up is to flatter somebody, tell them something nice they want to hear so they will like you. This is generally referred to students "buttering up" their teachers and employees "buttering up" their bosses.
- To be nuts about something means to be crazy about something (a subject, object or a person).
- To be out to lunch: Use "out to lunch" when you imply that somebody is not quite himself or that they're crazy.
- Nutty as a fruitcake is used to describe a person with a lot of strange tendencies and behaviors.
- In a nutshell - in general. This expression is often used when you summarize what you've just said.
- To polish one's apple means to try to win favor through flattering somebody (just like buttering somebody up). The expression comes from the time in 1920s when children would polish apples to bring as gifts to their teachers.
- A piece of cake.
- To find one's gravy train means to achieve success.