First of all I would like to thank all of my loyal readers and visitors to this blog. This week marks my 3rd anniversary. I am happy to report that I have now had over 200,000 views to date, and I am averaging about 500 views per day during the academic year, some weeks 700 – 800 views per day. I have more than doubled my viewership each of the three years and hope the blog keeps growing. My viewers are high school and college students from all over the world. I am very proud to be helping so many students understand metaphors. Please let me know if you have any questions about the blog or special requests on certain metaphors that you are studying.
Today, as we go into the holidays and begin overeating during Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, I thought I would share a few metaphors of eating. I have discussed food in several prior posts including spotlights on meat and potatoes, desserts and drinks, and types of cooking. Today I would like to share metaphors of the simple process of eating.
hungry for something
When we have not eaten in several hours we will become hungry for food. In popular terms, one can also be hungry for other things he or she wants in life.
Example: Many Americans are hungry for a new kind of government in which members of Congress work hard to help working class people.
Consume is another word for eat. While we commonly consume food, metaphorically people and machines consume other things such as natural resources and products. A consumer is anyone who buys products in American stores and marketplaces.
Example: American presidents must consider the fact that Americans consume incredible amounts of oil in their cars and buildings.
Example: American consumers greatly influence the state of the economy with their every day purchases.
chew the fat
A piece of meat with fat requires a longer time to chew. The phrase to chew the fat means to talk about something for a long time, usually with the sense that nothing important is said.
Example: During elections, sometimes candidates will go on popular TV talk shows to chew the fat with celebrities and get more exposure to voters.
As with the idea of consuming, eating can be used metaphorically to use up a certain resource. For example, high costs of food and gasoline can eat into people’s savings accounts.
Example: Americans spend less money on vacations when everyday expenses eat into their savings and they cannot afford to travel.
eating higher costs
Businesses may also need to pay for rising expenses out of their own budget. This is sometimes referred to as eating higher costs.
Example: Shipping companies may decide to raise their prices instead of eating the higher costs of gasoline for their cars and trucks.
If people have a great deal of food at a meal, they may feast on all the food. Metaphorically, journalists can feast on scandals and other big news items generated by politicians.
Example: When John McCain surprised everyone by nominating Sarah Palin as his running mate for the 2008 presidential election, the TV news shows feasted on the big news and spent days talking about Governor Palin’s background.
When we eat food, our bodies digest it with our internal organs. Metaphorically, we can also digest or understand information that we learn from books and TV.
Example: Many Americans do not vote in major elections because they cannot digest all the complex information about the candidates and the issues.
Babies cannot eat food on their own so their parents must feed them. This is sometimes called spoon-feeding babies. In common terms, people can also be spoon-fed information if they do not understand something.
Example: Well-educated voters do not like to be spoon-fed information on important issues; they want to learn the whole story.
The term piecemeal is an Old English expression meaning the fixed time to eat a meal. However, the term now indicates doing something in small measured steps instead of in one large effort.
Example: President George Bush added troops in Iraq piecemeal instead of sending them there all at once.
piece of the pie
When a large group of people eat a pie for dessert, they must cut the pie into pieces to make sure everyone gets their share. Metaphorically, the pieces of the pie can represent the opportunities available to someone in a social or financial situation.
Example: Every American works hard to get their piece of the pie: a nice car, a nice house and a good family.
Similarly, one part of something can be called a small slice as if it is a pie or a pizza.
Example: Local grocery stores may only be a small slice of the food market, but their lower prices can be very helpful to people on a budget.
Forks are common utensils for eating and serving food. A host at a party may serve a piece of meat by spearing it with a fork and passing it to a person. One might say the person is forking over the food to the person. In metaphorical terms, one can fork over something that he or she is obligated to give to another person, such as a payment for goods or services. In politics, politicians or taxpayers may have to fork over money to pay a certain obligation.
Example: During the 2008 bailout of the failing banks on Wall Street, American taxpayers had to fork over billions of dollars to keep the banks from closing.
fed up with something
When one has had a big meal, we can say that one is well fed. In slang terms, one can be fed up with some problem, meaning the person is no longer tolerant of something.
Example: Many taxpayers say they are fed up with having to pay higher taxes to pay for government’s mistakes.
When one goes to a restaurant or bar, the amount one has to pay for the food and drink at the end of the evening is called the tab. In popular terms, picking up the tab means to pay the entire bill for a group of people. In politics, people and groups can pick up the tab to pay for government programs or events.
Example: During an election campaign, the political party may pick up the tab for a candidate’s travel expenses.
It is always amazing to me that we create political metaphors simply based on everyday activities. It is perhaps no surprise that we have metaphors based on eating – one of the favorite activities of Americans. I hope you have enjoyed these posts this past year and have learned something along the way. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you in 2016!