An idiom a day keeps your English okay! In this series we examine English idioms and teach you how to use them.
Don’t Overegg the Pudding
Overegg is a verb that comes from the word egg. It’s not a very common word. It just means ‘to put too many eggs in’. The prefix ‘over’ often means ‘do something too much’, like overeat (= eat too much), oversleep (= sleep too much) and so on.
Puddings are sweet desserts. They are normally soft and made with flour.
However, the most famous pudding isn’t a dessert. The Yorkshire Pudding is a delicious pastry with a hole – you put meat, vegetables, or gravy into the hole. Oh, man, it’s so good.
To overegg the pudding is to put too many eggs into the mixture. If you’ve ever watched The Great British Bake Off – and you should because it’s the best show on television – you’ll know that baking only goes well if you add the right amount of ingredients.
You might think that the eggs are the best part of a cake, so it makes sense to add more. But you’d be wrong to think that. Everything has to be in balance.
When Zinedine Zidane took over as coach of Real Madrid, he tried to play with 6 attacking players. But that wasn’t very successful. It’s almost the definition of overegging the pudding. Too many attackers, not enough balance.
When he added a more defensive player, Casemiro, the team suddenly had a good balance between defence and attack – Real Madrid won so many games in a row that they broke a record.
Or back to the food example. Recently I did a home-made pizza. I love cheese, so I covered the pizza with cheese. SO MUCH CHEESE. But there was too much cheese and it came out soggy and hard to eat. I learned a lesson – don’t overcheese the pizza.
Real Life Examples
– I had a terrible date last night.
– With that Serbian woman?
– Ugh, she’s so hot.
– So what went wrong?
– I took her to the most expensive restaurant, the one on the lake, and picked her up in a limousine.
– Yeah she freaked out a bit.
– Just go to that crappy-looking Indian restaurant. It looks bad but the food is amazing. And it’s cheap and relaxed and there’s lots to talk about there. It’s the perfect first date spot.
– Dates should be like in Hollywood movies. Every single detail perfect and romantic and incredible.
– Don’t overegg the pudding, dude. Keep it simple. You’ll do better.
– So, Simmons, I’ve been looking at these PowerPoint slides you sent me for the Parsons presentation.
– Yes, sir?
– Yes. Now on slide 3, the one about the tax advantages of moving the factory to China. Add an animated Chinese flag in the background. And make it so that a picture of Mao Zedong appears every 22 seconds or so.
– And here on slide 5. At the moment it’s just a very simple table with the key information presented clearly. It’s very good.
– Thank you, sir. If you ask me-
– But it could be improved quite simply. Make every cell in the table a different colour and change the font to Comic Sans. That will make the information much more fun. Oh, and make it zoom in from the left.
– Sir, don’t you think you’re overegging the pudding a bit with these changes?
– Nonsense! PowerPoint slides should be colourful, stimulating, and full of attractive animations. Now on slide 8, I thought we could have a talking paper clip.
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