We use idioms in various everyday situations. Literature is riddled with these flowery phrases to elevate prose and poetry. They are so common that we have become unaware that we are using them like idioms are naturally flowing in our speech.
Idioms, sometimes, are easy to understand and make practical sense such as carrot top and cool as a cucumber. Meanwhile, some idioms have interesting origins like the three food idioms below.
Bring home the bacon – to earn money
Example: The parents must bring home the bacon.
This phrase has a funny origin dated back in 1104 in Great Dunmow, Essex that sounded more like a folktale. A local couple impressed the church in their little town with their love and devotion that they were given a slab of bacon. This started the ritual of the church to award couples bacon if they can prove that they are loyal to each other for a year. Since then, couples have been trying to bring home the bacon.
Cry over spilled milk – get upset over something that has happened and cannot be changed
Example: The vase is broken and it cannot be fixed. Don’t cry over spilled milk!
The origin of this idiom is not exactly known, but common belief said that it originated from the days when people offer food and drink to fairies to which they strongly believed. Fairies love milk and when people spill milk, it is nothing to worry about and is considered as an extra offering to the fairies.
Spill the beans – To reveal secret information often ruining a surprise or plan
Example: Jenny spilled the beans about Kerry’s plans.
This phrase originated from ancient Greece where people cast votes using white or black beans in a jar. A white bean means positive vote or “yes” and a black bean means negative vote or “no”. If someone spilled the beans, the result of the voting will be revealed even before the official count.