Sowing Wild Oats

by Joanne Mason on July 1, 2017

Not long ago, a friend and I were walking through a local park and discovered some wild oats. “Who sowed these?” my companion asked. The literal answer was probably park employees or volunteers. But the idiom goes far beyond that. To sow one’s wild oats is to behave recklessly, adventurously, or promiscuously.  It’s often used to […]


Sell Like Hotcakes

by Joanne Mason on May 10, 2013

After all these years, I still remember this McDonald’s breakfast jingle by heart: I was 10 when this commercial was popular and what struck me then was the word hotcakes.  We called them pancakes where I lived. But whatever they were called, I remember McDonald’s hotcakes being a huge favorite and I wouldn’t doubt that […]


Talk Turkey

by Joanne Mason on November 19, 2012

With Thanksgiving approaching in the U.S. this week, a lot of Americans are talking about turkey. But are they talking turkey? They might be. To talk turkey is to talk seriously, frankly, and directly. Example 1 When the job interview started, we talked about the weather and last night’s baseball game. But soon, we were […]


Greasy Spoon

by Joanne Mason on October 5, 2012

photo by hellostanley via Flickr Attending college on Long Island, my friends and I had no shortage of greasy spoons to choose from when we wanted good, cheap food.  My favorite meal was the American cheese omelet with white toast smothered in butter. If I was feeling rich, I’d add some fatty bacon to the mix. […]


Spill the Beans

by Joanne Mason on May 5, 2011

When I was little, I was really bad at keeping secrets, especially when it came to birthday and Christmas gifts.  I used to tell my Dad, “I got you pistachios, but erase that from your mind, okay?” Another time, my brother mentioned a game he was hoping for.  “That’s what it is!” I exclaimed “What?” […]


The Cookie Idioms: Smart Cookie, Tough Cookie

by Joanne Mason on April 28, 2011

I want to say a big thank you to food blogger Jennifer Walker, who wrote today’s post on cookie idioms.  Jennifer shares her musings on food, recipes, and good eating at her blog My Morning Chocolate.  And as a huge peanut butter fan, I can’t wait to try her Flourless Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich […]


Comfort Food

by Joanne Mason on January 15, 2011

When I turned 30, my oldest friend Laurie – we had literally known each other since we were infants – threw me a “this is your life” themed birthday party.  After friends were introduced one-by-one and I guessed their identities, we had a wonderful meal of comfort food.  Or, as Laurie put it, “everything you […]


Worth One’s Salt

by Joanne Mason on January 12, 2011

“Options for melting winter ice worth their salt” read a recent headline in the Chicago Tribune.  We’re having another heavy snowstorm in my neck of the woods and I wanted to know the best way to make my icy driveway safer for everyone. When something is worth its salt, it’s worth the money we paid […]


Small Potatoes

by Joanne Mason on November 23, 2010

We’re getting ready for Thanksgiving here in the United States and I’m already getting hungry for the huge traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and – of course – potatoes. So let’s look at the phrase small potatoes. If something is small potatoes, it’s not very important or significant. Example 1 Doug says his […]

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