I’m addicted to food. I eat every day and more than 3 times a day on most days. So, I think about food all the time and I get a hunger for it. Of course, like any other person, I like to eat things that taste good (to me). I’ve grown to like a variety of things and will eat almost anything that’s vegetarian with few restrictions. I also like to try new things in food whether it’s a new restaurant, new ethnicity of food, or just a new menu item. It’s a way of getting a minor sense of adventure out of daily life. It’s funny when people like to eat only what they know they already like. At some point, they had to try what they like for the first time. My mom always says, “how do you know you don’t like it until you try.” But then she attempts to get me to “try” the same dish multiple times over the years even if I didn’t like it the first few times. I stopped falling for that.
What I have noticed about food is that some of the true food pioneers and chefs have created great-tasting flavor combinations from seemingly incompatible flavors that make no sense. I wonder why somebody tried putting ingredients such as these together in the first place…
- lemon/poppy seed
- cranberries/gorgonzola cheese
- mango/tomatoes (in salsa)
- fruit/balsamic vinegar
- cookie dough/ice cream
- peanut butter/banana
The people ran the risk of wasting food if the new combo tasted horrible. And the really bold ones tried out these crazy food combinations on their friends and family. They must have really valued experimentation over their relationships. But if the experiments turned out well, they may have gained more friends or more business in the case of restaurants or food producers. Perhaps in times of scarcity, people combined random ingredients for variety. Who wants to eat the same three things every week? But if you combine two ingredients at a time in a unique way, you get many possibilities.
We take these combinations of food for granted, but we should thank the crazy food pioneers who tried them out in the first place. I regularly enjoy lemon/poppyseed muffins and cranberry/almond/gorgonzola on my salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing, (thanks to Zoup! where I got the idea). Once, I had an avocado/mint/rosewater dessert which was absolutely amazing. A traditional Gujarati Indian recipe that I like combines pomegranate seeds, fried lentil seeds, onions, cilantro, and cayenne pepper powder. Who would have thought to combine lentil seeds with pomegranate? They’re both seeds but they are strange bowlfellows indeed.
What are some of your favorite seemingly weird food flavor combinations? Are there any that you’ve created?