Each month, starting March 2017, a food-related proverb will be added to this page.
- Walnuts and pears you plant for your heirs. Meaning: think long-term and look after future generations. From the 17th Century and obviously based on the supposedly long time before pear or walnut trees bear fruit. The contemporaneous he that plants trees loves others beside himself arguably has a similar meaning. Incidently, “apples and pears” is cockney rhyming slang for “stairs“. So, they (the apocryphal, archetypal cockneys) then drop the “and pears” and say “I’m going up the apples” to mean “I’m going up the stairs“.
- Fine words butter no parsnips. Meaning: nothing is achieved by empty words or flattery (cf. buttering someone up). For a discussion, see The Phrase Finder.