In Italian we use the idiom “mettere troppa carne sul fuoco” a lot!

Mettere troppa carne sul fuoco” is one of the several idioms with food: since the language reflects the culture of the country where it is spoken, in Italian you can find many expressions with food because it is an essential component of the Italian culture.

Idioms with food are really lovely but not always straightforward so they can be hard to understand. However, they are so common that it’s worth learning them as much as possible: using these idioms is a good way to show how much you are into the Italian culture! 

Going back to “mettere troppa carne sul fuoco“, literally it means “to put too much meat on the fire”: it’s a way to say that someone is engaged in too many activities at once, similar to the English “to have too many irons in the fire”. Doing too many things at the same time implies that none of them are done properly.

And now some examples!

Italian English
Maurizio ha messo troppa carne sul fuoco e non ha rispettato delle scadenza importanti.  Maurizio had too many irons in the fire and missed some important deadlines.
Corinna ha messo troppa carne sul fuoco e ora non riesce a concludere la sua tesi di laurea. Corinna has too many irons in the fire and now she can’t conclude her dissertation.
Non darle altri compiti in questo momento, ha già messo troppa carne sul fuoco. Don’t give her any more assignments right now, she already has too many irons in the fire.


When was the last time that you attempted to do too many activities at the same time? Tell us more! It’s a good chance to start practising!

And if you are passionate about Italian idioms have a look at our dedicated Pinterest board. You can also discover some more idiomatic expressions with food watching this nice video!

Willing to learn Italian with us? Have a look at what we offer here!

Subcribe to Happy Languages mailing list