As the Brexit goes to virtually non deal Brexit recently, I am currently reading this article from BBC.

First question: The headline has this

Post-Brexit trade: Pricey wurst and cheesy leftovers

I understand that pricey wurst means more pricey sausages. (maybe referring to Germany).

But I don't understand what "cheesy" means here. Even though I checked multiple dictionaries.

Second question:

The article has this line under the headline

The British food industry could switch to substitute for EU imports, or we could retrain our taste buds to native flavours, including a lot more herring

What do the words "taste buds" mean here? Is there any implication?

(I skipped where I didn't understand and continued reading the rest, but I still can not figure out.)

Thank you in advance.


3 Answers 3


The "cheesy leftovers" probably refer to the picture over the article, whose caption is

Talks nearly stalled on the question of exporting Stilton cheese

That is an English cheese, and if it can't be exported, there may be a lot of it in excess (left over). The word "cheesy" is an adjective referring to cheese. It has a negative connotation when applied to something that is not cheese, such as a manufactured product. Here, it seems to just refer to cheese itself.

Taste buds are what people taste with.

American Heritage Dictionary "taste bud"

Any of numerous spherical or ovoid clusters of receptor cells found mainly in the epithelium of the tongue and constituting the end organs of the sense of taste.

  • Thanks. By the way, are you sure as @MichaelHarvey say, "cheesy" means "informal:bad quality or in bad taste"? I thought before making question it might be so, but I wanted to confirm that.
    – user17814
    Oct 26, 2020 at 8:00
  • 10
    Here, "cheesy" is used in its literal sense of "of cheese"; but I'm sure that the headline writer chose it because of the much more common informal meaning. British headline writers love jokes and puns.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 26, 2020 at 13:51
  • @Kentaro: When applied to things that are not cheese, "cheesy" often means "cheaply or poorly made" or "unpleasant". The article's author is using the term both literally (referring to the excess cheese that cannot be exported) and figuratively (referring to the process of Brexit being unpleasant and poorly done).
    – John Bode
    Oct 26, 2020 at 19:13

It's a pun, the type that make readers and listeners groan. In the article, excess unsold cheese is classified as a "leftover", thus "cheesy leftovers" refers to "leftover cheese" and at the same time "smelly (= cheesy) leftovers".

Further in the article, we read

The LSE study went on to look at prices. Inbound, EU cheeses such as feta from Greece, are forecast to go up in price 55% under "no deal": prosciutto ham and bratwurst up 32% with "no deal". They'd still rise in price 6% or 7% with a free trade agreement.

One thing you might expect is substitution. British producers switching production, given time and investment, to make more European styles of cheese or meat. Or we change our tastes to British produce, and eat even more cheddar.

Here the journalist is saying that the British consumer will have to adapt to eating less foreign (European) cheeses in favour of more locally produced cheese such as Stilton and cheddar, both mature pungent cheeses. The "change our tastes" refers back to the previously mentioned "taste buds", which is repeated later in:

That change of buying habits might have to apply to fish as well. Without a deal, if Europeans can no longer catch fish in British waters, then British crews can catch lots of fish for which there's not so much demand in Britain shops - not until we retrain our taste buds to eat more herring.


but the quota for cheese turns out to be the bit that EU exporters leave behind

These are the cheesy leftovers.

In culinary terms, any food that remains from a previous meal and is served up again, is referred to as "leftovers".

The headline is a pun (and not a particularly good one).


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