It Ain’t All Good: 19 Negative Food Metaphors


“Every time The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs was mentioned, Stan’s dad tossed his cookies.”

We are swimming in a sea of food wonderfulness, and trite positive imagery surrounding our means of sustenance is omnipresent. But the history of the English language is replete with food imagery and metaphors being used in a negative way; here are some of Fork in the Road’s favorite examples. Proving that everyone didn’t always love food as much as we do. Perhaps you can suggest some expressions we’ve missed.

1. Toss Your Cookies
Meaning: Vomit
Sample sentence: “Every time The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs was mentioned, Stan’s dad tossed his cookies.”

2. Fed Up
Meaning: Can’t stand it anymore
Sample sentence: “I’m totally fed up with ramps, and if I see another one, I’m going to throw a brick through the window of the restaurant.”

3. Walking on Eggshells
Meaning: In a delicate situation that could go either way
Sample sentence: “My relationship with him is so iffy, I feel like I’m always walking on eggshells when we’re together.”

4. Can’t Cut the Mustard
Meaning: To be inadequate, not equal to the task
Sample sentence: “When he started out working as a male stripper, he was just plain bad and really couldn’t cut the mustard.”

5. Apple Polisher
Meaning: Ass kisser, sycophant
Sample sentence: “I think she got the promotion simply because she was an apple polisher.”

6. Butterball
Meaning: A fat person
Sample sentence: “His love of food has turned him into a real butterball.”

7. Goose Is Cooked
Meaning: He’s a goner, done for, washed up.
Sample sentence: “Once out of college and in the employment office, his ability at the pool table and with ladies meant nothing, and his goose was cooked.”

8. To Fry for a Crime
Meaning: Die in the electric chair
Sample sentence: “She’s gonna fry for shooting that kid.”

9. Candy Ass
Meaning: Sissy or softy, sometimes with anti-gay overtones
Sample sentence: “He’s such a candy ass, he’s afraid to call his mother on the phone.”


“The magazine always runs some cheesecake on the front cover.”

10. Cut the Cheese
Meaning: To flatulate
Sample sentence: “Jesus, that stinks. Who cut the cheese?”

11. Eat a Fist Sandwich
Meaning: To be punched in the face
Sample sentence: “If my teacher gives me another F, he’s going to be eating a fist sandwich.”

12. Fingers in Too Many Pies
Meaning: Too busy for your own good
Sample sentence: “She had her fingers in too many pies, what with the honor society, debate team, chess club, 4-H, and homework.”

13. Sour Grapes
Meaning: Pretending to not care for something you crave but cannot have
Sample sentence: “His withdrawing from the steeplechase was clearly a matter of sour grapes.”

14. Biting the Hand That Feeds You
Meaning: Being guilty of ungratefulness
Sample sentence: “She refused to help out her parents with the lawn work, biting the hand that feeds her.”

15. Cheesecake
Meaning: Female flesh used in a sexual way, especially the leg
Sample sentence: “The magazine always runs some cheesecake on the front cover.”

16. Oreo
Meaning: Black on the outside but functionally white on the inside
Sample sentence: “That Oreo refuses to date black girls.”

17. Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
Meaning: Accepted too many responsibilies
Sample sentence: “With his added chores at the Elks Lodge, he has bitten off more than he can chew.”

18. Cracker
Meaning: Redneck, know-nothing, rural dweller
Sample sentence: “That cracker is improving on his housing–he’s moving into a broken-down trailer.”

19. Boiling Over
Meaning: Super angry
Sample sentence: “You should have seen her when she got that traffic ticket. The cop was boiling over.”