Monday, September 4, 2017

Around the Kitchen Table - Unusual Food Pairings

Welcome to Around the Kitchen Table, our monthly chinwag!  We look forward to the conversation with you today (and always).  Be sure to leave a comment today and you may win this terrific Mystery Lovers Kitchen tote bag.  Be lucky and have fun!

Recently I was doing some research into unusual food pairings. Amazingly, many of the articles on the subject list foods that make perfect sense to me. Who hasn't had peanut butter and jam on a bagel? After all, bagels are bread. A lot of the pairings seemed to be the silly things we eat when someone forgot to go to the store, like cream cheese on Oreos, and marshmallows in popcorn.

But I found some oddball combinations, too. Apparently, there really is such a thing as dill pickle ice cream. Has anyone tried it? Or how about Elvis's favorite peanut butter sandwich with banana and bacon? So many of the unusual combinations matched a sweet with something salty. Peanut butter and tomato sandwiches? French fries dipped in milkshakes? Potato chips in your sandwich? Pancakes instead of bread to make a sandwich?

My mom used to make German pancakes for dinner. She served a big salad first, and then I was allowed to eat my pancake (slightly thicker than a crepe) with sugar sprinkled on it and rolled up like a crepe. I still remember that lovely crunch of the sugar. My parents ate a fruit compote with theirs but sugar was all I wanted. The combination wasn't nearly as weird as my parents allowing me to do it!

What strange food combinations have you tried?


LUCY BURDETTE: You've reminded me that my best friend and I used to eat sandwiches with gherkins and potato chips layered right in. They were delicious! Right now I'm on a serious kick with candied pickled jalapenos. I originally bought them to dress up July 4 hot dogs (no sodium in them at all!) After seeing my son-in-law chop them up and toast on cream cheese and bagels, I've been obsessed. Today I had them sprinkled over avocado toast with sliced radishes. Makes my mouth water...These are made by the Backyard Food Company in Rhode Island...


Sheila: While I was a very cautious eater as a child (heck, the categories of food on my plate couldn't even touch each other, and I had to eat the protein first, then the starch, and finally the veggies), I've lost all my food inhibitions now. Sometimes it's easier when you travel in foreign countries, because you don't know what it is you're about to chew on, only that it smells good. In the Yucatan I sampled turtle, conch, and corn ice cream. In Australia I discovered that they put sliced beets in all take-out sandwiches, which gets kind of messy and turns the bread pink. In Washington DC I discovered sliced octopus with smoked paprika--first time I'd eaten either, but I've kept a large container of smoked paprika in my pantry ever since.


Victoria Abbott aka Mary Jane Maffini The top of my head is blowing off with this topic!  I do have to say though, according to some, Canada's alleged national dish is POUTINE.  And what you ask is poutine?  It's a French Canadian creation that pair fresh French fries with cheese curds (lots available locally) and gravy.  It looks like road kill (I'll spare you a photo) but the taste it's unbelievably yummy.  Running a close second is a new to me product: chocolate coated potato chips.  Should this be legal?  I don't know, but I think it would give heroin a run for its money.  Just sayin'.  Think before you take that first bite! 


Linda Wiken I used to love, as my Sunday morning breakfast treat, waffles with butter, real maple syrup, and a fried egg on top. Of course, there had to be a runny yolk involved! What a tasty mouthful that was. I'm glad you've asked this, Krista because I had forgotten all about my concoction. I'll have to give it a try this Sunday and see if it's still as yummy as I remember. And you know, because it's real maple syrup, thanks to my friend who does the entire tapping and distilling process at his lot, there are no calories!


chocolate cheddar ice cream
Daryl Wood Gerber:  Krista, I adore french fries dipped into my milkshake. I have also eaten a chocolate omelet with sour cream on top. That was a specialty at the Egg and Eye restaurant (since closed). I never thought I'd like cheese with jam, but after writing the Cheese Shop Mysteries, that has become a go-to match for me and for my family. It makes for such a pretty cheese platter, as well. I've always liked cheese with apples and grapes, but jam? It hadn't occurred to me. I have tried bacon fudge, and bacon ice cream. I haven't tried (nor will I) pickle ice cream. I've heard of garlic ice cream but haven't tried that yet. I love salted caramel ice cream, so the sweet and savory do work for me. Oooh, maybe salted caramel ice cream with bacon?? Oh, yeah, I've got to try this! I made chocolate cheddar ice cream and shared that recipe here on MLK. It was delicious!


Cleo Coyle: Great topic, Krista. Marc and I are always intrigued by oddball pairings—our own included!
Fudge and Fried Chicken for Christmas?
See our oddball holiday blog post here.
On the foodie front, the subject reminds us of one of the strangest food pairing posts we ever did. Fudge and Fried Chicken, as it turns out, is a tasty combination! You can see the post here, which came about after we learned that KFC fried chicken has become a wildly popular Christmas dinner in Japan. (No kidding, it’s so popular they place orders far in advance. The post explains how this foodie phenomenon came about.) The chocolate fudge, on the other hand, was a yuletide tradition in Marc’s family, so we combined the two for our holiday post. Of course, Fried Chicken and Waffles has been a beloved combo for years. As a soul food dish, it’s served at two famous Harlem restaurants: Sylvia’s and Amy Ruth's. We even paid tribute to the Amy Ruth's in one of our Coffeehouse Mysteries (Once Upon a Grind). The head chef there once said her secret to a great batter is praying before she cooks. The Amish would agree with that! They also have a version of Fried Chicken and Waffles, which they serve covered in gravy. The soul food leans toward maple syrup. That sweet and salty combo with the drizzle of syrup all over the crunchy waffles and fried chicken batter makes for truly amazing eating!


PEG COCHRAN: My mother and grandmother also made us German pancakes, Krista! Only we had ours filled with cottage cheese that they added sugar, cinnamon and a raw egg yolk (can you imagine??) to. Then of course, sugar on top. I've eaten a lot of strange foods--like durian in Asia--but not so many odd combinations. I guess chili chocolate might be one of them. The combo of spicy/hot with the sweet and creamy really floats my boat! One time I also made chocolate chip cookies with bacon--they were good but then bacon anything... I also put 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder in my chili. And this weekend my granddaughter Camille created her own interesting combination--two waffles with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff between them. We've christened it "The Cami."

Leslie Budewitz: Ha! Looks like I'm the first of the Kitchen Crew to flunk our Table Talk! I honestly can't think of any odd food pairings I enjoy -- and Mr. Right tells me putting salt on chocolate no longer qualifies, and dipping my fries in mustard never did qualify. In fact, he compliments my ability to pair salads, main courses, and wine in good flavor combinations. (He, on the other hand, will happily combine leftovers I think have no business getting any closer to each other than sharing a shelf in the fridge -- chili and turkey, topped with salsa, or gravy, in a tortilla? Mmm, no thanks!) Like several of my blog sisters, I love discovering new foods when I travel -- we'll talk about that next month -- but combos? Oh, yay -- I finally came up with one. At Bistro Paul Bert in Paris, we ate a chocolate torte with creme anglaise and a basil sauce. A bit odd, yes? And simply divine! Hmm, we have basil. How will it go with Tillamook's Oregon Hazelnut and Salted Caramel Ice Cream, served with my very own Chocolate-Cabernet Sauce? Come on over and we'll try it!

What strange food combinations have you tried?

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