Take It With A Grain of Salt
This phrase was originally used to describe that food is more easily swallowed if taken with a pinch of salt. Pliny the Elder, the Roman philosopher, translated an antidote for poison. The translation, from 77 A.D., says the following:
Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.
The translation suggests that harmful or poisonous effects can be moderated by taking a grain of salt. The figurative meaning that evolved over time means that truth or the realities of life may require moderation by the proverbial application of ‘a grain of salt.’
The modern meaning of the phrase has been in use in English since the 17th century; for example, John Trapp’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments in 1647 said the following: “This is to be taken with a grain of salt.” A modern-day example of the phrase could be, “take the teenage boy’s advice with a grain of salt, he has little experience in the world.”
What’s Your Favorite Food Expression?
I’m interested in hearing some of your favorite food phrases so please let me know in the comments section below. If you know the etymology, go ahead and leave that too. If not, I’ll try to find out the history of the expression and post in.