Let’s talk about two things that have been on my mind lately: utterly sublime food combinations, and food combinations that seem like they ought to be awesome but just never work out.
Take the famous and inseparable pair, basil and tomato. No discussion needed with that one. It works, whole volumes have been written about why, just do it. To that pantheon of eternal pairings I would add bacon and orange juice. The two are like a study in perfect opposites, greasy-warm-salty-savory against cold-sweet-bitter-citrusy, and somehow it all comes together. I think maybe orange juice negates the main downside of bacon, namely its ‘heavy’ flavor profile. You know, how after a couple pieces the body gets increasingly skeptical about your grease intake. I once had a Chinese dish made up almost entirely of pork belly that I ordered off a section of the menu that apparently was meant for groups to share. It was torture. On the other hand when you alternate bacon and orange juice you can pretty much go on forever (I am not saying this is 100% a good thing).
Now when it comes to combinations that seem like they should work but don’t, I would lead off with bacon and pizza. I love both of those things. Together, something feels terribly wrong. Take what I said above about complementary flavor profiles and reverse it. Why does bacon not work when pepperoni-on-pizza is almost is almost sublime enough to crack the hall of fame list above? I don’t know. Maybe it has to do with pepperoni being spicier and drier. In my personal hall of shame I would also add graham crackers and peanut butter. The toddler loves graham crackers so I am eating graham crackers again. Every time my tongue says to me, Tim F, it says, you know what this needs? Peanut butter. It always feels like peanut butter would make the experience complete. Then I put some peanut butter on a graham cracker and it never, ever works out. The textures are all wrong, it gums up your mouth and the flavors don’t gel like it seems they should.
Do you have any favorite magical pairings? Any least favorite pairings that should work but never do? Talk about it in the comments.