Saturday, January 21, 2012

Expressionist Fruits and Vegetables

The food we eat is not only concrete, but also abstract, not referring to the state of its ripeness.  Since fruit and vegetables are such a part of our daily life, they have entered our language also.
In a loving family, a person can refer to his/her significant other as a sweet pumpkin and child as the apple of his eye.  By contrast, being a couch potato is bad while being a vegetable is tragic.  A Georgia Peach is one of the special pretty girls from the American South, with bright red cheeks (at least in my imagination).  It is obvious that one should not buy a lemon because it is a very bad car.  Someone who lets out a raspberry in public is embarrassed by the smell and can drive people bananas or crazy.  It will definitely get you into a pickle, a difficult situation.
French also has its green-based expressions.  Mon chou-chou is a wonderful endearment which literally means my little cabbage. I suppose that it is no more illogical than calling someone a pumpkin.  A woman referred to as a pruneau, a plum, is not flattered as it means that she has many wrinkles.  A bad movie is a navet, a turnip, while raconter les salades means telling lies, literally telling lettuces.  If you don’t have any radis, radishes, you are broke.  (My appreciation to for some of the French terms.)
I would be interested in hearing about other imaginative uses of fruits and vegetables.

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