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Carol Roach

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It's All About Food
By Carol Roach
Saturday, August 04, 2007

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A story about the usage of food in our vernacular

It’s All About Food
Carol Roach
I once wrote about a teabag. I wrote about the aroma, the flavour, texture, and how the simple teabag brought such wonderful feelings of strength into my life. I mentioned how Eleanor Roosevelt felt that women are like teabags, you only get to know how strong they are when they are immersed in hot water. She used the concept of boiling water and tea as a metaphor for life. We use boiling water all the time in this fashion. How many times have you heard the expression “getting into hot water” to mean somebody is facing a difficult situation of some sort?
That article prompted to me think about how words pertaining to food have entered our vernacular and became quite common place. An expression as a child, that I found confusing or amusing as the case may be, was “fishing for compliments” again fish was something we ate, how could you fish for a compliment? Was there an invisible net that you gathered all these compliments into?
What about the expression lazy as or dirty as a pig? We eat pork all the time. And of course, lest we forget, there was always the chubby person known as porky, or by the very hateful words, “fat as a pig”. I was wounded by those words so much as a child.
When I was young, I used to find the word poaching extremely confusing. I understood poachers were people who hunted for animals in the off season, or just plain illegally hunted, but poaching? You poached an egg. How do you poach an animal?
Now that I brought it up, let’s talk about poultry. A not very bright person has oftentimes been known as a “turkey” while a fearful person has been called a “chicken”. I love to eat these foods but I certainly wouldn’t want to be one.
After thinking about poultry another expression that comes to mind for me, is “walking on eggshells”. I know first hand what it feels like to be afraid to “rattle somebody’s feathers”; hmm, I wonder what animal that could have been? I also know what it is like to be so afraid to say or do the wrong thing that I didn’t want to break the harmony, or break the egg shell relationship.
Eggs, wonderful fluffy eggs, what pancake could be complete without them. We love to eat pancakes but do we love to wear them? Remember that wonderful hairdo that cost you so much money. Your hair was fluffed up just right until you went to bed. The next morning it was as “flat as a pancake”.
Life has those disappointing moments. It never really is as “easy as pie”. My grandmother used to say, if you think it is then you must be as “nutty as a fruitcake”. She had no problem picking out people who were totally “crackers”. She actually told some to their face that they were just plain “bananas”; especially the men who were “nuts” about her. My grandmother lived in an era were sexism ran rampant. She had no time for “flaky women” and men who were “dough heads”. These “beefcakes” were charming but did not have much between the ears. Ah, but the ones that were “ripe for the picking” were the ones she wanted her girls to marry.
It was hard to bring her plans to “fruit”ion. Most of the men that she saw hanging around the house wanting to court her girls were not what you would call the “salt of the earth”. She wanted them to be “sweet as candy” yet many sported a “sour puss” and bad table manners. Her girls were as “pretty as a peach”, why should they settle for less?
We girls rebelled. We wanted to pick our own future husbands. We spewed forth all the “raw emotions” contained within us. Time would stand still for no one. We didn’t want to become old maids. Even the “young roosters” we were dating did not want to become “hen pecked”. Marriage was the furthest things on their minds. Can you imagine our angst, leaving that “pot brewing”? Women aged like fine wine” yet the men we had seen grow older ended up bald with big “Jelly bellies”. We didn’t have much time left to choose a suitable mate
Even though we “chicks” were young and foolish, our brains had not “fried” or even made of “mush”. We chose our own husbands and soon there was “a bun in the oven” and then cute and cuddly “butterballs” were “de-“liver”-ed one by one. It was hard to keep as “cool as a cucumber” when they kept us up, crying half the night. My grandmother just laughed on, “you cooked your goose now” she told us. “You jumped from the frying pan into the fire” and now it is time to “stew in your own juices”. But ma we argued, you can’t blame our men for this after all they are working hard “bringing home the bacon, and who ever said that “life would be a bowl of cherries.”
Alas, time has moved on, and “my little butterball” grew up. He is tall and slim “like a string bean” and he is hungry. He is in the kitchen right now, rattling pots and pans. He just informed me that “he feels like a hamburger” Does anyone know what a hamburger feels like?

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Reviewed by m j hollingshead 8/5/2007
interesting read

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