When you hear: “cook up a storm,” what is the image in your mind? A mad environment scientist in a laboratory, with beakers, microspores and equipment only a scientist knows how to use? Maybe one day in the future we can use this term in such a context.
However, now it has a very different meaning, although a bit of chemistry might be involved. It seems this phrase originated in the 20th century with other similar phrases li: dancing up a storm, talking up a storm, a storm is brewing.
Basically, there are many phrases that you can create using: (verb) + up a storm. What every verb you use, when you use ___ up a storm, it means to do something with a lot energy, possibly in great quantity and usually with a skill and expertise.Interestingly, the phrase has become more well known today, and there is even a popular Hong Kong cooking show called “Cooking up a storm.”
The use of cook up a storm is used to describe someone who really knows how to cook and does it with a lot of skill and enthusiasm.
- My mom always cooks up a storm for Christmas dinner!
- He is such a messy cook! However, he can really cook up a storm and when he is done and we eat, it is worth the mess!
Jill: Hey Jack. Just the person I am looking for!
Jack: Hey Jill, great to see you. Why are you looking for me?
Jill: Well I am having some people over and I wanted to ask you to come as well as for a favor.
Jack: I would love to come…but what’s the favor?
Jill: Well….I am not a good cook and I Jane told me you cooked for them last month and you can really cook up a storm.
Jack: Ha Ha. OK, sure. But I have a favor to ask you in return.
Jill: Sure, you name it.
Jack: I have a dance party to go to and I can’t dance. I know you can really dance up a storm so can you teach me?
Jill: Absolutely! It’s a deal.
Other words you can create: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, etc. (ex: mug – mugger)
Generally, for collocations we can use “up a storm” with many verbs. Talk, Cook, Work, Dance, Think etc.
Related phrasal verbs:
Cooked something up
In the context of cooking up a storm we would use this to indicate cooking a meal quickly or in a short period of time.
- Hi Mom, I have basketball practice in 45 minutes, can you cook something up for me so I can eat before I leave.
Cook up something
When we arrange the words in this order, it has a different meaning and not really related to cooking. When we cook something up we are inventing something that is not real.
- I don’t believe him, I think he cooked up a story so that he would not get fired.
In the context of cook up a storm, we would use this to describe someone creating a meal very quickly and possibly with only a few ingredients.
- I am going to whip up a delicious meal for you, sit back and relax and enjoy your wine.
We use this phrase to describe the process of cutting with vigor an ingredient for a preparing a meal.
- She chopped up some veggies for dinner. She can really cook up a storm!
A storm is brewing: We use this idiom to describe certain potential events that might cause a big problem.
A perfect storm: A combination of critical events that can cause critical problem.
Dance up a storm: This is an idiom to describe someone who dances extremely well and with passion and energy.
Talk up a storm: This idiom describes someone who loves to talk.
To grill someone: We use this idiom to describe a situation where someone is questioned intensely.
Synonyms (other ways to say):
- With all your might
- In a big way
- With gusto
- Like mad