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We’ve all heard that too many cooks spoil the broth, but have you ever stopped to think about how often we use concepts related to food and cooking to explain things in other parts of our lives?

We don’t literally bring home any bacon when we earn a paycheck, but there are thousands of idiomatic expressions like that one that we use every day.

Linguistics experts say that languages worldwide make use of idioms – the figurative expressions that act as a substitute for other concepts. There are an estimated 25,000 in English alone, and since eating is such a universal human activity, it isn’t surprising that so many of them revolve around food.

American food idioms cover everything from soup to nuts, and some of the most common involve not just the act of eating but staples such as bread, eggs, beans, salt, and apples.

Everyone knows that baseball is as American as apple pie, life is not a bowl of cherries, and that the pot shouldn’t call the kettle black, but did you know that you can’t teach your grandma to suck eggs?

We’re all familiar with fog that’s thick as pea soup, traffic that’s slow as molasses in January, and music that’s just not our cup of tea.

Many of us find ourselves in a pickle, land in hot water, or get packed like sardines in an elevator. We go bananas over celebrities, are tempted by forbidden fruit, and have a lot on our plates in our day-to-day lives.

In a nutshell, we work for peanuts and may even get to ride the gravy train before heading back to the salt mines. Our products may sell like hotcakes, but other times our efforts turn out to be small potatoes. That’s a fine kettle of fish, but sometimes it’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

We all know people who are full of beans, out to lunch, hard nuts to crack, or born with silver spoons in their mouths. It just goes to show that a person can be a bad apple, a good egg, nutty as a fruitcake, or one cool cucumber. There are apple polishers, bean counters, couch potatoes, and two peas in a pod.

Some folks are clearly the salt of the earth, while some rub salt in others’ wounds. Anybody who is worth their salt, though, generally takes such things with a grain of the same.

We may be chastised for comparing apples to oranges, buttering people up, and stewing over trivial matters, but when we all get together, we chew the fat and spill the beans, cook up a plan, and cry over spilled milk. Anything that gets discussed just becomes more grist for the mill.

We egg each other on, put all our eggs in one basket, and lay a big egg when we goof up. We eat humble pie, eat competitors for breakfast, and sometimes even have our cake and eat it too.

When it comes to making sense out of life, eating our words never tasted so good.