59 Expressions that Prove France is Obssesed with Food

It’s no secret that the French are obsessed with food, but little known is the severity of this obsession. Not only are the French famous for their long lunch breaks—some take up to two hours every day!—and known to discuss upcoming meals while eating their current one, but so many common idioms happen to revolve around food. We’ve compiled 59 expressions to help you navigate the culinary and linguistic absurdity of French culture.

Chef
© Pixabay

Fruit

  • to have the peach (avoir la pêche): to be energetic
  • to have the banana (avoir la banane): to have a smile
  • to go to the strawberries (aller aux fraises): to lose time, to go off on a romantic escapade
  • for prunes (pour des prunes): for nothing
  • to cut the pear in half (couper la poire en deux): to compromise
  • to bring one’s strawberry (ramener sa fraise): butting into a conversation

Lettuce and greens

  1. my cabbage (mon chou): my sweetie
  2. to be in the cabbages (être dans les choux): to be confused
  3. to eat dandellions by the roots (manger les pissenlits par la racine): to be dead and burried
  4. to tell salades (raconter des salades): to lie
  5. to sell one’s salad (vendre sa salade): to make a strong sales pitch
  6. to have a green pea in the brain (avoir un petit pois à la place du cerveau): to be an idiot

Root Vegetables

  • mashed potatoes! (purée!): damn it!
  • to have the potato (avoir la patate): to be energetic
  • to be without a single radish (ne plus avoir un radis): without a cent
  • a turnip (un navet): a bad movie
  • mind your own onions (occupe-toi de tes oignons): mind your own business
  • the carrots are cooked (les carottes sont cuites): it’s all over
  • to do the leek (faire le poireau): to wait

Other vegetables and nuts

  • the end of string beans (la fin des haricots): the end of the world
  • to press on the mushroom (appuyer sur le champignon): to step on the gas
  • to bike in sauerkraut (pédaler dans la choucroute): to be lost
  • asparagus (une asperge): a tall and thin person
  • a young sprout (une jeune pousse): a novice
  • to grow like a mushroom (pousser comme un champignon): to grow quickly
  • to have a heart made of artichoke (avoir un coeur d’artichaut): to fall in love too easily
  • a pickle (un cornichon): an idiot
  • a squash (une courge): clumsy
  • to get a chestnut (se prendre une châtaigne): to get electrocuted or punched

Dairy

  • it’s custard (c’est du flan): it’s easy
  • a cream (une crème): a nice person
  • the cream of the cream (la crème de la crème): the best
  • shut your Camembert box! (ferme ta boîte à Camembert!): shut up!
  • to make a whole cheese out of it (en faire tout un fromage): making a big deal out of nothing
  • to cook oneself an egg (aller se faire cuire un œuf): to leave someone alone
  • to put butter on spinach (mettre du beurre dans les épinards): to make things better
  • to make one’s butter (faire son beurre): to make a profit
  • to be like bread and butter (être comme pain et beurre): to be inseparable

Meat

  • a sausage (une andouille): an idiot
  • pork fat or pork meat (du lard ou du cochon): something that could be true or a lie
  • to defend one’s steak (défendre son bifteck): to look out for one’s interests
  • to earn one’s steak (gagner son bifteck): to make a living

Carbs and sides

  • to have the French fry (avoir la frite): to be energetic
  • a noodle (une nouille): an idiot
  • to do according to one’s sauce (faire à sa sauce): to do it one’s own way
  • to not know with what sauce we’ll be eaten (ne pas savoir à quelle sauce on sera mangé): to not know what to expect

Baking and desserts

  • it’s pie (c’est de la tarte): it’s easy
  • bread on the board (du pain sur la planche): a lot of work
  • to be rolled in the flour (être roulé dans la farine): to be duped
  • to put your hand in the dough (mettre la main à la pâte): to get down to business
  • cake face (tronche de cake): to look stupid
  • to make your cake (faire son cake): to act pretentious
  • to cost candies (coûter bonbon): to be very expensive
  • to break the candies (casser les bonbons): to annoy

Kitchen and food prep

  • to have casseroles hanging from one’s butt (avoir des casseroles au cul): to have a scandalous past
  • it’s all cooked (c’est du tout cuit): it’s in the bag
  • to sing like a saucepan (chanter comme une casserole): to sing badly
  • water in the gas (de l’eau dans le gaz): something wrong
  • to put water in one’s wine (mettre de l’eau dans son vin): to compromise

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