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Food Idiom Exercises for ESL Students

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English Food Idioms


Food Expressions in English

Here are 2 nice activities for the higher levels. These food idioms are very common in spoken English and are worthwhile learning.


Simply print off a copy of the expressions below and ask the students to read the meaning and then choose the word they think is correct. When they are finished, go through the answers and have each student memorise one idiom. Tell them to put away the photocopy.

At the bottom of the multiple choice section are sentences. Read them out and let your students decide which expression is the most appropriate to each situation.

For a similar activity with animal idioms - follow this link here.

A. She’s the ___________ of his eye.

  1. Candy
  2. Apple
  3. Dessert

Meaning – She is very special to someone.

B. He drinks like a _______________

  1. Fish
  2. Horse
  3. Shark

Meaning - He drinks a lot of alcohol.

C. There’s no use crying over spilt _____________

  1. Wine
  2. Tea
  3. Milk

Meaning – If something bad happens, there’s nothing you can do to change it. There's no point in dwelling on it.

D. I wouldn’t do it for all the _____________ in China.

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  1. Tea
  2. Silk
  3. Rice

Meaning – You won’t do something no matter what.


E. That kid’s a bad ____________

  1. Fruit
  2. Egg
  3. Mushroom

Meaning – That person is bad and cannot be trusted.

F. They’re like 2 _____________ in a pod

  1. Pies
  2. Beans
  3. Peas

Meaning – Two people are so similar they are identical.

G. It’s the best thing since _________________

  1. Chocolate cake
  2. Sliced bread
  3. Frozen food

Meaning - Something is excellent.

H. They’re like chalk and _____________

  1. Salt
  2. Butter
  3. Cheese

Meaning - Two people are completely different to each other and have nothing in common.

I. She has a ____________ in the oven

  1. Loaf
  2. Pie
  3. Bun

Meaning - She is expecting a baby.

J. I bring home the ___________ in our house

  1. Bacon
  2. Beef
  3. Pork

Meaning - I earn the money in this household.


K. That company has been ____________ the books for years

  1. Cremating
  2. Cooking
  3. Simmering

Meaning -The company has not been honest about their real income.

L. He’s a couch ____________

  1. Crepe
  2. Burger
  3. Potato

Meaning - He is a lazy slob and doesn’t do much.

M. He was no match for her; she ate him _____________

  1. Raw
  2. Alive
  3. With bread

Meaning – She defeated or overwhelmed him completely.

N. That gave us food for _____________

  1. Happiness
  2. Appetite
  3. Thought

Meaning -It made us think about things carefully.

O. That child is full of _____________

  1. Beans
  2. Peas
  3. Onions

Meaning -The child is full of energy.

P. He was left with ______________ on his face

  1. Soup
  2. Spaghetti
  3. Egg

Meaning – He was embarrassed or humiliated.

Q. They have their finger in more than 1 ____________

  1. Pie
  2. Casserole
  3. Lasagne

They have an interest in or are involved in more than one thing.

R. You should take whatever he says with a grain of ___________

  1. Chilli
  2. Salt
  3. Herbs

Meaning - Don’t believe everything he says.

S. People treat that organisation like a ____________train

  1. Gravy
  2. Chocolate
  3. Condiment

People take advantage of something and gain money/benefits from it without making an effort.

T. It’s a piece of ____________

  1. Bread
  2. Fruit
  3. Cake

Meaning – Something is very easy.

Answers: A-apple, B-fish, C-milk, D-tea, E-egg, F-peas, G-sliced bread, H-cheese, I-bun, J-bacon, K-cooking, L-potato, M-alive, N-thought, O-beans, P-egg, Q-pie, R-salt, S-gravy train, T-cake.

The Gravy Train


Part 2 - Using the idioms

After the students have memorised an idiom each, read out the sentences below. They need to call out the best expression for that situation.

  1. I love my new i-phone. It really is ....
  2. I can’t tell the sisters apart. They look the same, speak the same, think the same...
  3. I wouldn’t want to have an argument with your mom, she’d...
  4. I really don’t know why they are together, they’ve nothing in common. They’re...
  5. Don’t worry about that test, I did it before and I found it really easy. It’s a...
  6. Has Marie put on weight? Oh, haven’t you heard the news? She has a ...
  7. David I asked you to take out the rubbish while I was gone and you just sat there instead. You such a...
  8. Your little brother keeps running and jumping around. He’s ...
  9. He’s well known for stretching the truth. I’d take everything he says with a....
  10. I try not to favour any of my grandchildren, but our youngest is so much fun. He’s the...
  11. Most of the kids in the class are nice and they’ll do what you ask, but there’s always 1... that disrupts everything.
  12. You sent the wrong email to your boss? Oh well, what’s done is done. There’s no point...
  13. That business was recently audited and fined by Revenue. It turns out they have been ...... for years.
  14. That’s an interesting perspective, I hadn’t thought of it like that before. You’ve given me...
  15. It makes me sick to see those bankers earning huge unjustifiable sums of money for doing nothing. They’ve been riding the ... for years.
  16. The wedding crowd have been drinking beer all day. They drink...
  17. He owns the bakery, the local supermarket, 3 apartments and a pub. Wow! He has his ...
  18. He invited her to a meal at a restaurant, but didn’t show up. Oh no! So she was left there with...
  19. The parents don’t work because of their disability, but the daughter works a 60 hour week. She’s the one who brings...
  20. I hated working there. The money was awful and so was the boss. I wouldn’t go back for...

Answers: 1-the best thing since sliced bread. 2-They’re like 2 peas in a pod. 3-eat me alive. 4-like chalk and cheese. 5-piece of cake. 6-bun in the oven. 7-couch potato. 8-full of beans. 9-grain of salt. 10-apple of my eye. 11-bad egg. 12-crying over spilt milk. 13-cooking the books. 14-food for thought. 15-gravy train. 16-like fish. 17-finger in more than 1 pie. 18-egg on her face. 19-home the bacon. 20-all the tea in China.


Muttface (author) from Portugal on September 14, 2013:

Thanks so much!

IslandBites from Puerto Rico on September 13, 2013:

Cool hub!

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