Food Idioms

If you are a regular reader of the Intrepid English Blog, you may have read our recent post all about Body Idioms. You may have also noticed our posts on other idioms such as Ocean Idioms, Baby Idioms, Dog Idioms, and so much more! The English language is full to the brim with idioms! Learning to understand and use idioms is an essential part of perfecting your English skills and connecting with native speakers. In today’s post, we’ll look at eight fun food idioms.


Download a copy of our free ebook, Essential English Idioms to learn twenty five essential English idioms and practise using them with gap fill exercises.

Food for thought

Something to think about or seriously consider is food for thought.

  • We have received a couple of very good offers on the house. It’s certainly food for thought.
  • In the meeting, Carla gave a couple of suggestions for how we can improve our management style which gave us food for thought.

Apple of one’s eye

This idiom features in our love idioms blog post. If you are ‘the apple of someone’s eye’ you are very precious to someone. They love and adore you very much.

  • He was never sure about becoming a parent, but now he has a son and he is the apple of his eye.
  • They are childhood sweethearts. She is the apple of his eye.

Have your cake and eat it

This idiom means to have the best of both worlds (another idiom!) To have your cake and eat it is to experience two positive things which are not possible at the same time. If you have your cake and eat it, it means you enjoy something positive without having to make any sacrifices.

  • If you want to be the best swimmer in your class, you need to get up early on Saturday morning to train. You can’t go out late with your friends on Friday. I’m afraid you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
  • You can either work more hours and get paid more, or work fewer hours and have more freedom but receive less pay.Those are the options, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

Want a piece of the pie

If something has become very successful or is making a lot of money and other people want a share of it, we can say that they want a piece of the pie.

  • When the business started to make serious money, everyone in the family suddenly wanted a piece of the pie.
  • I worked hard on this group project by myself. Now that it has received a good grade, my classmates want a piece of the pie and are saying that they did the work too.

A piece of cake

Something that is a piece of cake is very easy and simple.

  • The homework was a piece of cake! Perhaps I need to challenge myself and move into the more advanced group.
  • Wayne was a very talented footballer, so for him the practice was a piece of cake.

Spill the beans

This idiom means to tell a secret.

  • It looked like the boss was telling you something very important in that meeting. Come on, spill the beans!
  • We are organising a surprise party for Maria on Saturday. She doesn’t know about it, so don’t spill the beans!

Cup of tea

If something is your cup of tea it is to your tastes. You enjoy it.

  • There is a modern art exhibition coming to town next month. Do you want to go and see it? It sounds like your cup of tea.
  • I don’t understand the appeal of rap music. It’s just not my cup of tea.

No use crying over spilt milk

This is a slightly old-fashioned phrase meaning there is no point in being upset or getting stressed about something which has already gone wrong.

  • So you didn’t get the grades you needed. There’s no use crying over spilt milk. You’re just going to have to retake the exam.
  • Unfortunately the new project was not as successful as we hoped. There’s no use crying over spilt milk. Let’s learn from this and do things differently next time.

Discussion Questions

Think about your answers to the following questions. Post your answers in the comments below to practise using these idioms and an Intrepid English teacher will get back to you.

  • Who is the apple of your eye?
  • What kind of music or art is not your cup of tea. Why not?
  • Can you think of a time that a job or task that you needed to do was a piece of cake for you?
  • Are you good at keeping secrets? Can you think of a time that you accidentally spilled the beans?

Can you think of any other food idioms? Do you have similar idioms in your own native language? Aside from making our speech and language skills sound more advanced and natural, idioms can also often provide a fascinating insight into culture or how we think about things. Let us know in the comments and keep your eyes peeled for more idioms blog posts.


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