One of my most valuable English lessons came out of a book.
“You alarm me!’ said the King. ‘I feel faint—Give me a ham sandwich!’
On which the Messenger, to Alice’s great amusement, opened a bag that hung round his neck, and handed a sandwich to the King, who devoured it greedily.
‘Another sandwich!’ said the King.
‘There’s nothing but hay left now,’ the Messenger said, peeping into the bag.
‘Hay, then,’ the King murmured in a faint whisper.
Alice was glad to see that it revived him a good deal. ‘There’s nothing like eating hay when you’re faint,’ he remarked to her, as he munched away.
‘I should think throwing cold water over you would be better,’ Alice suggested: ‘or some sal-volatile.’
‘I didn’t say there was nothing better,’ the King replied. ‘I said there was nothing like it.’ Which Alice did not venture to deny.”
I read it years ago when I still learned English and fell in love with the phrase. Still to this day, you will hear me say “There is nothing like it,” when I am not sure about something, or when I eat a dish that I just don’t care for.
It works like a charm, and I never have to lie. Just because something isn’t my taste, doesn’t mean it is not good. Why offend a host or a chef? “There is nothing like it” accompanied by a smile, leaves the door wide open for all kind of interpretations. It seems to make people happy and I don’t have to be rude.
English is a tricky language!