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Boil it down to the essential points.

Posted by Ward on May 06, 2004

In Reply to: To boil down posted by Lewis on May 06, 2004

: : : Thank you for your posts, it's the best forum I ever been too:)).
: : : Now I have another question. What is to "boil down"?
: : : For expl - We had been looking at everything that had been done and all the background, the research we had all boiled down.

: : It relates to cooking. Some dishes have to be cooked for a long while to remove excess water. The meal is left only after the ingredients have been 'boiled down' to something more solid than the original liquid form.

: 'boiling down' is usually called 'reducing' but there are other equally useful expressions that refer to the process of evapourating water from liquids until they are more concentrated.

: I think 'boiling down' most often refers to making 'stock' which is a conentrated liquid used in sauces and gravies.

The cooking metaphor is used to describe any situation where you wish to eliminate non essential elements of a complex concept, an understanding, an agreement or an argument. To 'boil it down to the essential points' is to reduce all the side issues and go right to the heart of whatever topic you're discussing.
It suggests simplifying the issue to the most relevant content before proceeding further in a discussion or an analysis.