I love food. I love the French language. And I especially love idioms. Here's a posting that combines all three passions ...
My friend Diana posted a great LA Times article about French food idioms, which I'm shamelessly lifting and posting here. I knew appuie sur le champignon, but most of the others are new to me, hence the title of this posting.
Oh, and the tagline for my blog, j'ai du pain sur la planche, should also be explained here, as it is a food-related idiom that literally means "I have bread on the board," but really means "I have a lot on my plate."
Given how serious the French are about food, using food as metaphors for life makes perfect sense. Their love for food is equal only to their love for slang, and French slang, to an amazing degree, is food related. In short, the French obsession with food is embedded in the language.
Here are the straightforward ones:
Good like good bread (Bon comme du bon pain)
Skinny as a string bean (maigre comme un haricot)
Make some dough (faire du blé): Earn some money
Look at that quarter-wheel of Brie (Regardez ce quart de Brie): Look at that person's huge nose.
Some serious sorrel (de l'oseille): Plenty of money.
I could eat a parish priest rubbed with garlic (Je pourrais manger un curé frotté d'ail): I could eat a horse.
Oh, mashed potatoes! (Oh purée!): Darn it!
I can eat my soup on your head (Je peux manger ma soupe sur ta tête): I'm a head taller than you.
Zucchini (courgette): Head.
Coffeepot (cafetière): Head.
She's working from her coffeepot (Elle travaille de la cafetière): She's a bit out of it.
Worry about your own onions (Occupe-toi de tes oignons): Mind your own business.
Onions (oignons): Buttocks.
Make fried marlin eyes (Faire des yeux de merlans frits): Make goo-goo eyes.
Your rear end is surrounded by noodles (Tu as le cul bordé de nouilles): You're extremely lucky.
Go ahead, tall unhooker of sausages! (Va donc, grand dépendeur d'andouilles!): Go ahead, you big lug! (The guy who unhooks the andouilles from the ceiling must be very tall and not very smart.)
You're turning my blood into blood sausage (Tu me fais tourner le sang en boudin): You're worrying me.
To have two eggs on the plate (avoir deux oeufs sur le plat): To be flat-chested.
She has the banana (Elle a la banane): She's got a big smile.
That puts the butter in the spinach (Ça met du beurre dans les épinards): That's icing on the cake.
You want the butter and the money of the butter (Tu veux le beurre et l'argent du beurre): You can't have your cake and eat it too.
He's sugaring his strawberries (Il sucre les fraises): He's old and senile, one foot in the grave.
Fall in the apples (tomber dans les pommes): To faint.
To be a cooking oil (être une huile): To be high-ranked, a big cheese.
Land a peach (mettre une pêche): Punch someone in the face.
Ears like cauliflowers (des oreilles en chou-fleur): Big ears.
Make some salads (faire des salades): Tell tales out of school.
A veal (un veau): A sluggish car.
Push on the mushroom (Appuie sur le champignon): Step on the gas.
Make a total cheese (en faire tout un fromage): Make a big deal out of something.
She pedals in the sauerkraut (Elle pédale dans la choucroute): She doesn't understand diddly squat.
A noodle (une nouille): An idiot.
Right in the pear (en pleine poire): Right in the face.
Make the leek (faire le poireau/poireauter): Wait impatiently for someone.
Send the sauce (envoyez la sauce): Make an effort.
He has some brioche (Il a de la brioche): He has a potbelly.
She has the heart of an artichoke, she has an artichoke heart (Elle a le coeur d'artichaut): She's sentimental.
A big asparagus (grande asperge): A tall person.
Spitting in the soup (cracher dans la soupe): Being overly critical or ungrateful.
Send a chestnut (envoyer un marron): Punch someone in the face.
That's turning to vinegar (Ça tourne au vinaigre): The situation's out of hand/going badly.
He's not in his plate (Il n'est pas dans son assiette): He's not himself.
The carrots are cooked (Les carottes sont cuites): It's too late to do anything about it.
The end of the string beans (la fin des haricots): The biggest deal possible, in a catastrophic way.