Just a Bowl of Cherries? You Are What You Eat by Serge Bloch
MY MOTHER ALWAYS SAYS "YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT."
DAD SAYS "MY GOOSE WOULD BE COOKED" IF I EAT MACARONI FOR EVERY MEAL.
What are these people talking about? This kid doesn't even own a pet goose, and if he did, Mom and Dad wouldn't cook it, would they?
Ever wonder what little kids (or for that matter, non-native English speakers) make of those colorful phrases called idioms?
Serge Bloch, also the author of Butterflies in My Stomach and Other School Hazards, has another book which deals with the linguistic minefield of the idiom, this time as it relates to all things gustatory.
Our boy is one picky eater, one of that common breed who prefers a diet of foods mostly white and always bland. His food choices drive his conscientious mother "bananas," but he doesn't like those either. "Use your noodle," Mom says. "Think outside the box," Dad counsels.
When the invitation comes to have lunch at his best friend Oliver's house, his sister shares an opinion which only makes this picky eater more anxious. It sounds like macaroni is not going to be on the menu.
"I WOULDN'T EAT AT OLIVER'S FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA. HIS MOTHER IS A REAL HEALTH NUT!" HIS SISTER SAYS"
The idioms drop like ripe apples from the tree, as Bloch uses the cartoon device of thought balloons to depict the boy's figurative imaginings as he hears each food-themed phrase--"take with a grain of salt," "cool as a cucumber,"the apple of her eye,"a good egg," and on and on--until our hero finally arrives at Oliver's kitchen table to share--tofu dogs! Bravely, he holds out his plate for the strange-looking food.
"YOU'RE A TOUGH COOKIE!" OLIVER'S MOM SAYS.
The two boys demolish their veggie dogs, and our hero is, we assume, a changed eater, finally emboldened to "think outside the (macaroni) box."
With the illustrative thought balloons and plenty of contextual cues, our hero becomes both a more venturous diner and more savvy in the use of those savory idioms that "pepper" our language, in Bloch's latest, You Are What You Eat: and Other Mealtime Hazards (Sterling, 2010). We hope our boy has more than macaroni "on his plate," and readers have more than macaroni phrases to "spice up" their language as well after enjoying this tasty book.