Bum In The Butter

Great little Guardian piece on food idioms:

“In every culture, there are people who are blessed with good fortune, constantly landing with their bums in the butter. Some are born with silver spoons in their mouths, or, as the Spanish saying goes, ‘con un pan bajo el brazo‘ – with a loaf of bread under their arm. In Cantonese, someone who derives the most benefit from a situation could be described as being the first to have the soup; in Swedish, ‘glida in på en räkmacka‘, or ‘sliding in on a shrimp sandwich’ refers to someone for whom everything seems easy. Those less fortunate might complain of ‘hiyameshi o kuu‘ – in Japanese, the phrase literally translates as ‘eating cold rice’, but means being shunned or left out in the cold. In German, someone finding a task challenging or life in general bit much might remark, ‘Das ist kein Honiglecken’ – it’s not like licking honey; the English equivalent would be ‘it’s no picnic.'”

I spent a whole hour with my adult conversation students once simply listing all the food-based terms of affection that exist in English — cookie, honey, pumpkin, muffin, sugar-plum, sugar-pie, sweetie.  (“Pumpkin” is funny because in Korean it means an ugly woman.)

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This entry was posted in Food, Kultur, Language. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Bum In The Butter

  1. Kokoba says:

    Only in Sweden would sliding in on a shrimp sandwich be a good thing. WTF, future adoptive homeland of mine.

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