Today's "Tid-Bit" – "Meat 'n' Potatoes"

Meat ‘n’ Potatoes:

(photo courtesy of Live4Soccer on flickr)

Meat ‘n’ Potatoes – (photo courtesy of Live4Soccer on flickr)


Not only is it a delicious dish served hundreds of different ways, it’s also a common English phrase.



What does it all mean?

Well, it could mean a nice juicy steak and a baked potato, or a fat Polska Kielbasa and some scalloped potatoes.  It can also mean a delicious slice of pork in gravy with a side of creamy mashed potatoes.  But the way I’m referring to this phrase is in the expression “That’s my ‘Meat ‘n’ Potatoes!”

So what do you think this could mean?

Possibly… “Hey buddy!  that’s my steak and if you don’t get yer dirty paws off it I’m gonna sock you right in the mug!”

But what it probably means is, “that’s the stuff I survive off of” – “That’s the stuff that get’s me through” – or – “That’s what makes up my basic regular sustenance”.

You see, for generations, Western Europeans and Americans had survived off of a rather limited supply of food.  It’s not so much that there wasn’t food around (although that’s what some history books would have you believe) but that human beings had grown away from picking berries and herbs, and REALLY got to liking the taste of animals, slowly roasted over an open flame.  Yummm!!!

I’m not exactly sure how the potato became the king of the meat-side preparations, (maybe ask an Irishman) but for what seems like an eternity, we humans have eaten our slabs of meat with some sort of preparation of potatoes…  This is what we survived off of.  For so long in fact, that there is a very large percentage of humans walking around today (rather slowly I might add) that still believe that you NEED to have some sort of “Meat ‘n’ Potatoes” to survive.  Otherwise it’s not a full meal…  and essentially you might starve and die…  (This of course remains to be a matter of personal opinion and a topic of great debate and discussion.)

Usage of “Meat ‘n’ Potatoes”

So when you’re talking to someone and they refer to something (not food-like) as their “Meat ‘n’ Potatoes”, it probably means that it is some thing or activity that they partake in so much or so often that they feel like they would just wither away and die if they didn’t have it.  On the other hand, if they only had that one thing (whatever it may be) for the rest of their lives and nothing else… they would probably be “as happy as a hog in mud”.


I hope today’s Tid-Bit” nourished you and made your intellectual belly full and satisfied (and hopefully with no grammatical indigestion.)


Until next Time!


-C. James Cote’
Teacher at Large


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