To Make a Whole Cheese or a Month of French Idioms From A to Z

One said that French President Charles de Gaulle once proclaimed that France was a difficult country to govern and that it was in fact not surprising coming from a place that had more cheese than days in a year. So this is also not surprising that there is a French expression based on the French cheese reputation.

Oh and French people say Cheese when they snap a photo.








Embed from Getty Images



My research about the origins of this typical French expression led me to too many possible options, none based on reliable sources. So I prefer not adding to the confusion.

Another popular French expression with the exact same meaning is: En Faire Tout Un Plat, which literally means To make a whole dish.

Despite making my mouth water at the thought of cheese, I tend to find the English expression more visual and better suited to the meaning than the French one.

What do you say?

See you tomorrow.



A to Z Challenge


  1. I still say Cheese as in the mouth watering yummy one! 😄😄

    • Of all French things, I admit missing cheese a lot. It’s getting better here in the US, but the French shops are really something. Good bread, good wine and cheese et voila! You’ve got a great meal. Thanks, Andy.

  2. Looking forward to a month of French idioms.

  3. I just love these. Around here, if someone is making a big deal out of nothing, we say they’re “making a mountain out of a molehill.”

    • Yes, I heard of that one but very rarely and I wasn’t not sure if it was more British than American. A few of my readers are from Great Britain. We’ll see what they come up with. I agree that it’s a pretty visual expression too. See you, Joey.

  4. I can imagine a storm in a teacup and the difference between mountains and molehills but I have no idea how hard it it to make cheese. I am somewhat familiar with how much work is involved with producing milk (we buy ours from a local dairy) so I guess cheese is harder.

    In any case, I am enjoying learning about the expressions.

    • Actually I read it the other way, Dan. En faire tout un fromage means making a big deal out of nothing, so it would imply that making cheese is easy, no? I’d love for anyone French to comment so I would see if I’ve been wrong the whole time. I visited once Cabot in Vermont and although they only make cheddar, the selection was pretty impressive and I got to taste a few unusual ones. You are lucky to get to buy your milk from a local dairy, something that gets harder for most Americans. I grew up this way too. In any case, I’m glad you like this series.

  5. Storm in a teacup is definitely more powerful, but I could be biased because I don’ like cheese!

    • I agree that the storm and the teacup trigger a better visual for the meaning of this expression. You are like my mother. She hates cheese but still bought some for my father, my sister and me, pinching her nose in the shop! See you, Andrea.

  6. Fromage Lover says:

    I love cheese but if I had to control the curd cheese all day long as this poor fellow in your picture, I would feel “entre la poire et le fromage”! Un vrai trou normand, quoi!

  7. Je dis “en faire tout un plat”, ok je ne l’utilise pas vraiment.
    When we first arrived in France we were all crazy about cheese. Now I mostly eat Comté, ordered from the Jura, and well up till recently a lot of Mont d’Or but now the season has come to its end.

  8. I like this theme! And I also enjoyed reading the comments. It’s interesting how many expressions have similar meanings.
    ~Visiting from AtoZ

    • Thanks,Wendy. Each culture has its own way to say the same thing, sometimes the translation can be quite similar but in most cases there is a unique approach that reflects the origin of the language. See you!

  9. I suddenly feel a need for cheese, too. Anyplace with that much cheese and wine has got to be great 🙂

  10. Cheese? Tea? I love how these two combine here in the interpretation. France & England 🙂

    • I’m sure you like the ties, Sherri! I never tried them together, though, preferring maybe a nice British jam that often goes so well with cheese. See you.

  11. I hope you’ll collect all of these French idioms into a book!

    • A few French books exist on the topic of idioms. Of course they are written for a French audience. I don’t know yet about a book, but definitely a new category on my blog with a recording of the expressions. Thank you, Claire. See you on your blog soon.

  12. This is such fun, Evelyne. Sorry I am a bit late coming too it … just catching up! Your plan to put a new category on your blog with a recording of the expression is a brilliant idea!

    • Coming from a terrific networking author, I appreciate your support, Patricia. Do not apologize for being late. Writhing fiction is a time consuming activity. See you later.

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