20 Food Sayings And Put Downs From Around The World

Julia Wytrazek / © Culture Trip
Julia Wytrazek / © Culture Trip
Photo of Andrew Webb
Food & Drink Editor10 August 2018

It seems the world over, we love to describe feelings, people and things in a food-related way. Here’s just a few of the sayings and put downs from around the globe from the multinational team here at The Culture Trip. Tweet us @culturetripfood if you know any others.

Spain

🇪🇸”Vete a freír espárragos”

Translation: go and fry some asparagus!
Meaning: go away, get out of my face

🇪🇸”No está el horno para bollos”
Translation: the oven is not ready for buns

Meaning: I’m not ready to do it, I can’t be bothered

🇪🇸”Líquido blanco en una botella tiene que ser la leche”
Translation: white liquid in a bottle has to be milk
Meaning: this is what I think it is, famously said by Rafael Benitez about Liverpool

UK

🇬🇧”They’re one sandwich short of a picnic”

Meaning: they’re a bit stupid and under prepared

🇬🇧“They’re as much use as a chocolate teapot”
Meaning: that person is completely useless (As the hot tea would melt the teapot. Though research shows that is not always the case)

China

🇨🇳吃闭门羹
Translation: eat the closed door soup
Meaning: be turned away from a party or gathering

🇨🇳帶兩梳蕉
Translation: bring two bunches of bananas
Meaning: brings nothing but a pair of big, bare hands, with each hand like a bunch of bananas

Italy

🇮🇹”In mezzo come il prezzemolo”
Translation: getting in the way like parsley
Meaning: The person is useless and gets in the way like garnish on food

Germany

🇩🇪”Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei”
Translation: everything has an end, only the sausage has two
Meaning: all good things come to an end

🇩🇪”Sie haben Tomaten auf den Augen”
Translation: you have tomatoes on your eyes

Meaning: you can’t see the obvious, everyone else gets it except you

🇩🇪”Lachen wie in Honigkuchenpferd”
Translation: laughing like a honey cake horse
Meaning: to burst into laughter or a big smile (a honey cake horse is a popular iced gingerbread style biscuit in Germany, often with a big smiley face)

France

🇫🇷”Casser du sucre dans le dos de quelqu’un”
Translation: to break sugar on someone’s back
Meaning: to talk behind someone’s back

🇫🇷”Tomber dans les pommes”
Translation: fall into the apples
Meaning: to faint or pass out

🇫🇷”Va te faire cuire un œuf”
Translation: go and cook yourself an egg
Meaning: get lost, go away

🇫🇷”C’est la fin des haricots”
Translation: It’s the end of beans
Meaning: it’s the end of the world

Luxembourg

🇳🇱”Een broodje aap”
Translation: a monkey sandwich
Meaning: That’s an unlikely story

🇱🇺 “Den Appetit kennt iwwert dem Essen”
Translation: you’ll get hungry once you’ve started eating
Meaning: Once you’ve started doing something you’ve been putting aside, it’ll get easier

🇱🇺 “Waat den Bauer net kennt dat fresst en net”
Translation: the farmer doesn’t eat what he doesn’t know
Meaning: Refusing to try out something new

🇱🇺 “Leck Salz dann gess de duuschtereg”
Translation: lick salt and you’ll get thirsty
Meaning: In response to someone who keeps complaining about how hungry they are

🇱🇺 “Engem Hongeregen ass guid kachen”
Translation: it’s easy to cook for someone who’s hungry
Meaning: It’s easy to impress someone who knows nothing about a certain subject

🇱🇺”Wann een net un d’Kiischte kennt, seet een se wiere saver”
Translation: if you can’t reach the cherries, you just say they’re sour
Meaning: If you don’t achieve a goal or get something, find a believable excuse to explain why you didn’t achieve it

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