Bubble and squeak


      • a type of dish
        Referring to a traditional English dish made from leftover vegetables, usually potatoes and cabbage, fried together in a pan.

      • something of little value
        Describing something or someone as insignificant or worthless.

      • to make a loud noise
        Describing a loud or shrill noise, often used in reference to a high-pitched squeal or screech.

    Examples of Bubble and squeak

    • After a wild night out, my friends and I ordered bubble and squeak for breakfast to help soak up the alcohol.

      In this example, the idiom is being used as a metaphor to describe how bubble and squeak can be a comforting and filling dish, perfect for dealing with the after-effects of drinking too much.

    • The chef encouraged us to try their creative take on bubble and squeak, which included added leeks and bacon.

      Here, the idiom is being used as a way to describe a dish that has been put together in an innovative or unexpected way. The use of leeks and bacon in this example adds a new twist to the traditional bubble and squeak recipe.

    • The restaurant's weekly special was a savory bubble and squeak pie, which left us all feeling satisfied.

      In this instance, the idiom is being used to describe the fullness and contentment that comes from consuming a hearty dish.

    • I once had leftover bubble and squeak that I decided to fry up in a pan, creating a lovely crispy texture.

      Here, the idiom is being employed to highlight the versatility of bubble and squeak as a dish that can be enjoyed in various ways, whether as a traditional breakfast or as a more innovative side dish or snack.

    • Her joy knew no bounds after she landed her dream job, but now she's exhausted and feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders - she's been working like a trojan and there seems to be no end in sight. Her boss expects the earth from her, and she's afraid that it might just swallow her whole. She needs a break, but she can't just pack her bags and leave. After all, she's "bubble and squeaked" herself into a corner and there seems to be no other way out.

      The expression "bubble and squeak" is used here to describe the situation of being in a position where there seems to be no way out. The phrase has its roots in the dish called Bubble & Squeak, made with cabbage and potatoes, which is squeezed in a pan until all the moisture evaporates. The expression "bubble & squeak" is thus so used to indicate a situation where everything that can go wrong has gone wrong, with no hope of an easy escape. The speaker's situation is such that when she expressed her need for a break, her boss - like a boiling pot - initially seemed to bubble up with anger, and then finally squeaked out permission to go on leave, but only after she completed her present assignments.

    • John had his eyes set on that promotion for years, and his hard work finally paid off when he was selected for the post. But, it came with its own set of challenges, for which he was woefully unprepared. He was reeling under the pressure of the added responsibilities, when he received a call from his wife who informed him that their kid was sick and needed immediate medical attention. John's mind was in a frenzy - he had a million things going on at work, and he didn't know how to fit his family's situation into the mix. He felt like he was "bubble and squeaking" between a rock and a hard place, with no clear solution to his dilemma.

      In this scenario, "bubble & squeak" is employed to describe a situation where one is trapped between two difficult choices, and neither option seems like an easy or painless escape. The speaker's predicament is complex, as he is torn between his professional and personal responsibilities, both of which demand his immediate attention. He feels like he's "bubble & squeaking" because he's in the middle of a tough situation and is struggling to find a way out that doesn't leave anyone - his work or his family - in a lurch.

    • The team had been working round the clock to meet the project deadline, with everyone chipping in their fair share of the workload. However, things took an unexpected turn when the project manager suddenly fell ill and had to be hospitalized. The team was left in a "bubble & squeak" situation, with no clear leader to take charge and steer the project to a successful conclusion. All the team members struggled to juggle the workload as well as the responsibility of managing the project in the absence of the project manager.

      Here, "bubble & squeak" is employed to describe a situation where everything seems to be going wrong, and there seems to be no easy way out. The unexpected turn of events has left the team in a difficult position, where everyone is struggling to handle the additional work and responsibilities. The absence of the project manager has created a vacuum that needs to be filled, and the team is trying their best to "bubble & squeak" their way through the situation until a new leader emerges.

    • The company was facing its worst crisis in years, with escalating losses and a dwindling workforce. The board members tried to find a solution, but all their efforts seemed to fall flat. It was then that they decided to seek the advice of a renowned turnaround specialist. The consultant arrived on the scene and immediately set to work, but things didn't seem to be going as planned. The consultant's strategies seemed too radical and were not being embraced by the employees. The CEO was caught in a "bubble & squeak" situation, where he had no choice but to go along with the consultant's plans, despite their radical nature, for fear of being blamed for the company's downfall.

      In this scenario, "bubble & squeak" is employed to describe a situation where one is forced to make a difficult decision that may have terrible consequences. The CEO is in a tough spot, as he needs to support the consultant's radical plans to turn the company's fortunes around, but he's apprehensive about the impact these strategies may have on the employees and the company's brand image. He's "bubble & squeaking" between the need to save the company and the potential backlash from the employees, which is a difficult choice to make. The situation is particularly complicated as the CEO is also conscious of the board's expectations and the impact that the company's poor performance is having on their share prices.


    The idiom "bubble and squeak" has multiple meanings, all related to different aspects of the dish or its ingredients. The first meaning, referring to the dish itself, is the most common and well-known usage. The second meaning, describing something of little value, may have originated from the fact that bubble and squeak was traditionally made from leftovers and therefore considered a low-cost meal. The third meaning, related to a loud noise, may have originated from the sound of the vegetables sizzling in the pan while cooking.

    Origin of "Bubble and squeak"

    The origin of the idiom "bubble and squeak" is uncertain, but it is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom, specifically in England. The dish itself has been around since the 18th century, and it was traditionally made from leftover roast beef and vegetables from a Sunday roast. The name "bubble and squeak" may have originated from the sound the vegetables make while frying in the pan.

    Another theory suggests that the name comes from the sound the ingredients make as they are mixed together, resembling the sound of bubbles popping and a piglet squealing. This could also explain the second meaning of the idiom, as the dish was made from leftovers and therefore considered of little value.

    Overall, the idiom "bubble and squeak" has its origin in traditional English cuisine and has evolved to have multiple meanings related to the dish itself. It is still commonly used in British English, and variations of the dish can also be found in other countries, such as Ireland and Australia.