20 idioms to spice up your culinary lingo (and your love of food, of course)

If upping your foodie game is on your to-do list this year, then consider a more well-rounded approach. Of course what you’re able to whip up in the kitchen counts, as well as how well-frequented you are in the restaurant scene, and how well-versed you are in the latest trends perhaps your love of food even extends into growing the plumpest tomatoes.

But a true food-lover doesn’t only cook, eat and grow beautiful food. They speak it, too. Though certain food puns have become unbearable clichés, we’ve rounded up a selection of lesser-spewed platitudes to spice up your lingo.

1.Tough nut to crack

A difficult problem to solve. (Nuts are hard. Problems are hard. You get it.)

20 idioms to spice up your culinary lingo

2. Low-hanging fruit 

The easiest thing to achieve or get.

3. As busy as popcorn on a skillet

To be very active. (Though we aren’t sure who cooks popcorn in a skillet anyway.)

4. A half-baked plan 

Not thought through properly.

5. Like nailing jelly to a wall 

A really challenging thing to do. 


6. The top banana 

The leader or boss. Particularly enjoyable to use when someone thinks they’re the big cheese (yes, that’s another one). Bananas just don’t conjure images of status and respect.

7. Greatest thing since sliced bread 

Something that is excellent.

20 idioms to spice up your culinary lingo

8. Not worth a hill of beans

Not valuable.

9. Take it with a pinch/grain of salt 

Don’t take it too seriously or to heart.

10. Upset the apple cart 

Disturb the status quo or upset the balance 


11. Buy a lemon 

To buy something worthless or defective. (But we love you, lemons!)

ALSO READ: When life gives you lemons, make these 9 sweet desserts


12. That is so ‘vanilla’ 

To be plain, bland or ordinary. (It’s an unfair stereotype, but some flavour had to bear it.)

13. To not give a fig 

To not care.

20 idioms to spice up your culinary lingo


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14. Fat’s in the fire 

When big problems or troubles are ahead. Burns and loud crackling noises will likely follow.

15. The carrot and stick approach 

To simultaneously motivate someone through reward and punishment.

16. To cut the mustard 

To have achieved something, to be effective or to be top quality. 


17. A storm in a teacup 

A great hullabaloo over trivial things. (Teacups are really more suited to civilised whispers of indignation.)


18. Cool as a cucumber 

To be calm and composed. 


19. Bubblegum news  

A not so nice way of referring to slightly immature journalism. 


20. Piece of crumpet

An attractive woman. Use this one at your own risk – we’re fairly sure that most women would take offence at being compared to a stodgy tea cake.

20 idioms to spice up your culinary lingo

May your year be filled with foodie idioms and your dinner parties peppered with puns!