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Ten Food Idioms that are right under your nose to help Score Band 8.0+


Idiomatic expressions are sayings in English, which are almost impossible to interpret based on the words alone. They pose quite a problem for IELTS learners. Therefore, IELTS candidates should prepare themselves for the IELTS Speaking test by learning them now to get Band 7.5 IELTS Score.


A big cheese

Meaning: a person of importance or authority
Example: Apparently her father is a big cheese in one of the major banks.

Different as chalk and cheese

Meaning: Two objects that although appearing to be similar are in fact different
Example: Australia & US are like chalk and cheese

Cheese and kisses

Meaning: Wife
Example: The cheese and kisses and I will go on a holiday to Canada this month.


(Just/not) one’s cup of tea

Meaning:  something pleasant or agreeable.
Example: Playing football is just my cup of tea

A storm in a teapot

Meaning: A disproportionate reaction of anger, concern, or displeasure over some minor or trivial matter.
Example: I really think you’re making a storm in a teapot over this. It’sjust a tiny scratch on the car!

Tea Party

Meaning:  something easy; a pleasant and unstressful event.
Example: The test was a real tea party. No sweat.


One-banana problem

Meaning: A problem, project, or task that requires little to no effort, expertise, or intelligence to solve or complete.
Example: It’s only a one-banana problem at the most; even kids can solve it. I can’t understand why people get stuck there.

Going bananas

Meaning: Go crazy
According to lexicographer E.J. Lighter, going bananas refers to the term going ape often used in American popular culture in the second half of the 1900s. Apes were seen as crazy by the mid-century media, and what do apes eat? Bananas!
Example: I will go bananas if you still acts like this.

A banana skin

Meaning: something which causes or is very likely to cause embarrassing problems
Example: The new tax has proved to be a banana skin for the government.


Apples and Oranges

Apples and oranges are fruits, but they have distinctly different color, taste. Therefore, this idiom refers to two incommensurable items, i.e. a comparison of things that cannot be compared.
Meaning: Completely different
Origin: The idiom first appeared as apples and oysters in John Ray’s 1670 Proverb collection, and equivalent terms exist in many languages: “grandmothers and toads” in Serbian to “love and the eye of an axe” in Argentine Spanish. What other funny fruits turn unusual phrases?
Example:  We can’t compare inner city hospitals and hospitals on the outskirts of the city – they’re apples and oranges.

The apple of sb’s eye

Meaning: the person who someone loves most and is very proud of
Example: His youngest daughter was the apple of his eye.

Upset the apple cart

Meaning: to mess up or ruin something.
Example: I always knew he’d tell secrets and upset the apple cart.

A bad/rotten apple

Meaning: one bad person in a group of people who are good
Example: In every organization, you can find a bad apple who can damage their prestige.

Put something in apple-pie order

Meaning: in very good, well organized order
I’ve put my entire life into apple-pie order.


Origin : Popularized in the U.S. in the late 1800s, the most notable use of pie to mean “simple and pleasurable” appears in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Part of our next food idiom makes a home in many pies, especially in America.

eat humble pie

Meaning: to make an apology and accept humiliation
Example: I will not break my promise toeat humble pie and admit that I have made a mistake if you can prove it.

piece of the pie

Meaning: A share or part of something.
Example: The business owner wanted all of his employees to have a piece of the pie, so he gave them all stock in the company as a holiday bonus.

(as) easy as pie

Meaning: very easy
Example: You make everything sound as easy as pie, George.

Pie in the sky

Meaning: something good that is unlikely to happen
Example: Those plans of hers to set up & run her own business are just pie in the sky.


Full of beans

Meaning: Energetic; frisky
Example: The children were too full of beans to sit still.

Spill the beans

Meaning: To reveal a secret information
Origin: English speakers have been using the word “spill” to mean “divulge secret information” since 1547, but the spilling of beans in particular may predate the term by millennia. Many historians claim that secret societies in ancient Greece voted by dropping black or white beans into a clay urn. To spill those beans would be to reveal the results of a secret vote before the ballots had been counted.
Example: They are looking into who spilled the beans about  the voting results?

In a nutshell

Meaning : In a few words; concisely
Origin : The ancient Roman encyclopaedist Pliny the Elder claimed that a copy of Homer’s The Iliadexisted that was small enough to fit inside a walnut shell. Almost 2000 years later in the early 1700s the Bishop of Avranches tested Pliny’s theory by writing out the epic in tiny handwriting on a walnut-sized piece of paper and lo and behold, he did it!
Example :  The explanation is long and involved, but let me put it in a nutshell for you.


Walking on eggshells

Meaning: taking great care/try hard not to upset someone.
Origin: It is thought to have originated in politics when diplomats were described as having the remarkable ability to tread so lightly around difficult situations, it was as though they were walking on eggshells.
Example: Everyone at the company was walking on eggshells until we heard that no one would be fired.

(To) have/put all your eggs in one basket

Meaning: put too much faith in one thing
Example: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! You should always have Plan B

Egg someone on

Meaning: urge someone to do something
Example: My parents tried to egg me on studying abroad. However, I didn’t manage to pass the IELTS test with a high score to study overseas.


(To) butter somebody up

Meaning: to flattersomeone
Example: He is trying to butter his friends up so that they can help him with the upcoming test.

A hair in the butter

Meaning: A problem or challenging situation
Example: To score band 8.0 in the IELTS test to get a scholarship is a hair in the butter to me.

Bread and butter

Meaning: necessities, the main thing
Example: The quality of IELTS online course on is bread and butter to drum up IELTS learner’s interest in registering it.


A piece of cake

Meaning: very easy
Example: Achieving Band 8.0 in IELTS is a piece of cake for almost every English native speakers.

Icing on the cake

Meaning:  something good that is added to another good thing
Example: Getting a IELTS certificate is icing on the cake when you want to study or work abroad.

Sell like hot cakes

Meaning: bought by many people
Example: The IELTS ebook with the title “IELTS Speaking Actual Tests and Suggested Answers” on are already selling like hot cakes.
In a nutshell, we hope you go bananas for food idioms. Whether they’re your cup of tea or not, these terms are easy as pie to use in the IELTS Speaking test and they’ll make you the big cheese of any conversation! So go ahead and spill the beans, it’s just like apples and oranges.
Also check :

Written By

Nafia Zuhana is an experienced content writer and IELTS Trainer. Currently, she is guiding students who are appearing for IELTS General and Academic exams through With an 8.5 score herself, she trains and provides test takers with strategies, tips, and nuances on how to crack the IELTS Exam. She holds a degree in Master of Arts – Creative Writing, Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has worked with The Hindu for over a year as an English language trainer.

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