Strange Food Combinations and Why They Work
Sweet and Salty Are Always Complimentary Flavors For Cooking
Do you ever wonder how chefs and cooks all around the world do it? I mean, they study for years, honing their skills, learning to manipulate ingredients. They blur the lines between what one food is and what one isn’t, and occasionally marry flavors together in ways that either compliment or heighten the tasting experience of the other. Cooking is an adventure in more ways than one. It is about experimenting, and walking paths that few have stumbled through. In this day, the 21st century is leaving less and less undiscovered territory to explore. It almost seems that everything has been invented. No new ideas left in the world. I submit to you my theory: the world is not quite dead yet. There are still new flavor combinations to discover. You only have to open your mind to the possibilities. Some of the things I have discovered, I have done so by accident. In retrospect, I believe that it is quite possible that some of the great cuisines that are available today were also discovered by accident or out of necessity, but seldom by design.
Great Combinations: Some Familiar, Some Not
Let us take a walk down memory lane and remember some of the great food combinations and then we will discuss the secret to why they work well together.
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Bacon and Eggs
Mayo and Mustard
Burgers and Fries
Ketchup and Fries
Fries and a Soda
Salt and Pepper
Buttermilk and Blueberry
Sour Cream and Salsa
Syrup and Pancakes
Chocolate covered Pretzels
Sweet Versus Salty
That should be enough to get the basic idea. All of these items, and most of the other awesome flavor combinations, share something wonderful in common. To some degree or another each combination has a measure of Sweet vs. Salt. My wife was the one who truly brought this to light for me. Often she would send me up the street to our neighborhood convenience store and have be bring her back her usual: Something to drink, (Usually a Mountain Dew), something salty (Usually a small bag of Funyuns, or Cheetos), and something sweet (Usually a King Sized Kit Kat bar).
Something salty and something sweet. That should have been our tagline, our wedding theme. I can see it now all over napkins and banners, T-Shirts and bumper stickers.
Anyways, this combination is nothing less than a mouthgasm. It hits right where you need it, every time. It is the most satisfying thing you can do for your palette giving it a one-two combo of salty and sweet. Every now and again, I will go and stumble upon a flavor combination that just knocks my socks off. Here are a few of my most recent discoveries.
20 oz. Sprite and a Kit Kat Bar: The salty lemon-lime action against the sweet chocolate and wafery texture together combined almost made me pull the car over on the way home. Try it and you will understand.
Danish Ham and Kraft cheese Sandwich, with Miracle Whip Salad Dressing and Cool Ranch Doritos smashed between two slices o’ white. There is just something about Danish Ham that just puts all other Deli meats to shame. Some people prefer roast beef. You guys can keep it. Given the choice, Danish Ham and cheese sandwich WILL be my last meal on this Earth if I can help it.
A bag of Cheetos and a Mountain Dew. The scraping salty texture of the Cheeto washed down with the coldest, sweetest Mountain Dew in the back of the fridge. If Danish Ham and Cheese is the last meal, then this pair will be my last dessert. You can even swap out the Cool Ranch Doritos with the Cheetos to get a similar effect. In fact, I think with the Cheetos it is even better.
An A&W Root Beer paired with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. This one is my personal favorite. There is both salt and sweet in both of these wonderful concoctions, but together they just do something explosive to my tastebuds that sends me reeling. It is one of the most powerful combinations I have discovered to date.
If I discover any more accidental flavor combos, I will share them here in the comments. Let us keep this convo going. I love food, but I love satisfying my palate even more. Happy Eatings!
Please feel free to share your odd or favorite flavor combinations in the comments. I am always looking out for my next big taste adventure.
© 2020 Matthew Leo
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