Strawberries Balsamic & Basil - ©

Weird Food Combos: Some Familiar, Others Not So Much

One of the topics food bloggers glom onto when they have nothing else to write about is… Weird food combos. Several of such posts surface every year. Alas, many are largely repeats of former compendia. But we’ve done up a ‘Best Of’ version for you…

Elvi's Fool's Gold - © messynessychic.comElvis Presley’s fave sandwich: PB & J with Bacon on a whole crusty loaf!

Some all too familiar

When you hear the phrase ‘weird food combos’, what’s the first one that comes to mind? For me (and probably most Boomers, at least) it’s Pickles and Ice Cream, the legendary (and probably apocryphal) crave of pregnant women.

Then, there’s the classic Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich. That one was a fave (and wasn’t really that weird) when I was a kid.

When I was a tyro broadcast news reporter, my boss used to eat a Granny Smith Apple for break every morning. With the apple in one hand a salt shaker in the other. He died of a stroke when he was 20 years younger than I am now.

Elvis is said to have loved Peanut Butter, Jelly & Bacon Sandwiches so much he once flew, in his personal jet, from Memphis to Denver late one night to get one from his go-to source.

The list goes on and on…

Familiar actors, different roles…

Peanut Butter a pivot

Some foods show up over and over again in the ‘weirdest’ combos. Take Peanut Butter, for instance… There’s the classic PB & Banana sammy we mentioned above. And Elvis’ PBJ & Bacon.

There’s a (some claim) simpler variation of the Elvis sammy: Peanut Butter & Bacon, on Toast. And the mythical Peanut Butter, Bacon and Pickles on Toast.

When I was a hard-partying college kid, I and my roomies swore by a PB & Iceberg Lettuce Sammy on Toast (with lots of regular Butter on the Lettuce side of the bread) as a hangover cure. In fact there are zillions of ways to upgrade your PB & J’s!

But there’s also the more recent phenomenon of PB on Hot Dogsor Burgers, as you prefer. And PB & Pickles. And PB and Ice Cream.

Not to mention PB & Sriracha Sauce – better known to Southeast Asian food aficionados as basic Satay. Not weird at all to about one third the world!

A very new weird combo I’ve just learned about is PB & Mayo. In a world where Ketchup & Ranch sauce is a New Big Thing, I guess it shouldn’t surprise me.

Unexpected Ice Cream toppings

How about Olive Oil? Make sure it’s fresh, sweet Extra-virgin OO. There are folks who won’t order a bowl of Ice Cream or a Shake without a side of Fries for dipping. Have you tried Honey on your Ice Cream? I recommend a fruity Honey like Orange Blossom, or a savoury one like Buckwheat for the best match – on plain, rich, premium Vanilla, of course..

Speaking of Honey…

I know a guy who loves Fries so much, he’ll gladly pay the ultimate premium at New York Fries. Failing that, he opts for Wendy’s skin-on Fries. Either way, he has to have a side of Honey for dipping. And there’s the New York thing for dipping your classic Thin-crust NY-style pie in honey.

For a decadent snack, try dipping strips or ultra-crispy Bacon in the honey of your choice. This one strikes me as a natural extension of the long, flavourful relationship between smoke and sweet. After all, we’ve been eating Honey cured Hams for hundreds of years!

Some combos entirely new to me

Have you ever considered trying Mango dusted with Chili Powder?

How about Chocolate with Avocado? (Or Avocado with Chocolate?)

Fried Chicken marinated in Cola? Or in Pickle Juice?

Balsamic Vinegar on Ice Cream?

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar and and Fresh Basil? (See photo, top of page.)

Blueberries with Fresh Rosemary?

Chocolate Sauce on Potato Chips?

Pizza dipped in Ranch Dressing?

Watermelon with Salt? (Just remember the object lesson of my former boss and the apple…)

Your fave dessert topped with Chocolate… and Sesame Seeds?

Green Apple slices/wedges dipped in Salsa Cruda or Guacamole?

Chili Pepper Ice Cream?

My take

Some of the above I’ve tried, and most of those I’ve enjoyed. But not enough to go out of my way for them. Or make them a regular part of my home-side dining.

Others, I may never try. But some, hovering in the middle of my evaluation chart, I will give a go. EVOO on Ice Cream tempts me. PB & Pickles sounds interesting – or maybe big, fresh Jumbo Olive slices!

Strawberries with Balsamic and Basil, I will definitely try. Along with Mango and Chili!

Put away your fears and doubts – and have fun with weird food combos. What a way to get a foodie-oriented party going!

~ Maggie J.