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Debate Simmers Over Science of Food Pairing

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the gnutella-and-bananas-for-science dept.

Biotech 111

carmendrahl writes "Why do foods taste good together? Scientists aren't anywhere near figuring it out, but that hasn't stopped one popular idea from spawning a company dedicated to discovering avant-garde new pairings. The idea, called flavor-pairing theory, says that if foods share a key odor molecule, they'll pair well. But some scientists say the idea can't explain all cuisines, and another contends his work with tomato flavor (abstract) shows that flavor pairing is 'a gimmick by a chef who is practicing biology without a license.'"

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oblig (5, Funny)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390723)

That would be cool if you could eat a good food with a bad food and the good food would cover for the bad food when it got to your stomach. Like you could eat a carrot with an onion ring and they would travel down to your stomach, then they would get there, and the carrot would say, "It's cool, he's with me."

-- Mitch Hedberg

Re:oblig (2, Funny)

bbecker23 (1917560) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391209)

My kingdom for a mod-point.

But now I'm sad, cause I miss him so much.

Re:oblig (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391589)

Same. I'm now eating an apple with potato chips as a tribute or something :) And it tastes much better than I expected, too.

Mitch Hedberg said some quite profound stuff IMHO. For example, "I once saw a human pyramid. It was totally unneccessary." to me is up there with, you know, philosophy and political commentary and shit. RIP and thanks for all the fish, obviously.

Re:oblig (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392135)

>> philosophy and political commentary and shit

Speaking of things that pair together...

Re:oblig (1)

bbecker23 (1917560) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392555)

Eh. I heard it was a gimmick by a sociologist who is practicing conjunction without a license.

Re:oblig (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392989)

That is why I always get a little bummed myself. While I miss someone like Carlin or Pryor, at least they gave us decades of laughs that we can look back on. with Hedberg or Hicks or Kinison...sigh. It seemed like they were just starting to really find their grooves, you just knew they were gonna have so much more to say..then gone. Damned shame, that's what it is, just a damned shame.

As for weird foods that go great together? i'll give ya one i bet most here haven't tried...mashed potatoes on pizza. hear me out though, especially on a great spicy pizza like a nice thick meat lovers some really good creamy mashed potatoes completely absorb the flavor of the pizza underneath while giving you this awesome creamy texture.

I swear just try it, its a totally awesome combo. my GF used to just look at me like a weirdo when i ate it, until i finally got her to try some. Now everytime i go pick up pizza I get home to find a fresh pot of mashed potatoes and her standing there with a cake spreader, too delicious.

Re:oblig (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | more than 2 years ago | (#40397335)

That actually sounds like an idea I'd try. Do you mix any butter in with the mashed potatoes, or just plain? How thin do you spread the potatoes over the pizza? Do you use any garlic or onion powder/salt in the potatoes. If it's a meat pizza, do you think a few drops of GravyMaster in the potatoes would enhance the flavor?
I can't believe I'm talking recipes on /. lol

Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390729)

...if you're a "Plate Turner"...and just eat one thing at a time.

They always wondered why spaghetti and french fries sounded good to me late night in college....

:)

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (5, Funny)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390771)

That still sounds great to me. Or putting salad not next to, but ON the spaghetti. YUM! The best meals I can only eat in solitude, society just doesn't understand.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (3, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390921)

Well, I didn't mean mixed together.

I'm a plate turner...not quite as bad as when I was young..but I just don't like my foods mixed.

When I'd eat..I'd have multiple things on my plate..but I'd eat all of one thing..finish is, then often, literally turn the plate to eat the next thing in succession (I don't recall if always clockwise or counter clockwise or if there was a pattern...likely just the next best thing)...eat that..then turn.....etc.

As a kid, my favorite thing, was those plates that had compartments..so that one food didn't touch the other food.

Hence, in my example above..of late nights on weekends in college...going to Denny's I'd order spaghetti and meatballs or something...and a side of fries, things that don't generally pair...but was ok for me, since I'd eat all the spaghetti...then, turn my attention to the fries.

I find I don't usually drink and eat at the same time, even to this day. I don't wash my food down.

For years, i've been trying to make a concerted effort to change this at least for wine...so I can do like most say, and enjoy a good wine paired with a meal. I used to get pissed when eating with others...I'd drink a bit of wine that came before the meal...but during the meal, I'd stop drinking...and when the meal was over, since the others hadn't stopped drinking and eating together...the wine often was gone....

While I'm not as bad as I used to be...if I don't think about it...I still do the one food at a time thing to a great extent.

I love to cook, but one of my downfalls is that I've not grown up learning what foods do go well together when planning menus for others. To me, I'm just usually concerned about each individual dish's flavor...but not how they integrate into a meal...when enjoyed by others that eat a bit of this and a bit of that all through the meal.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391033)

Oh. I'm the exact opposite.

Not drinking (anything, I don't mean alcohol) while eating is the smart thing to do though... be glad it's not a habit you have to drop :) Maybe just slip a bottle under the table while nobody is looking, then notice it after the meal is over? ^^

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391219)

Not drinking (anything, I don't mean alcohol) while eating is the smart thing to do though...

That sounds strange. Can you explain that?

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391757)

The way I see it, of you're hungry, you need something, nutrients, calories, whatever. So eat that, and slow enough because blood sugar takes a while to rise... but if you drink while doing that, you think you're done eating, when you're actually not, if you know what I mean?

Dunno, I should have worded it differently, it's not an authoritative medical thing. But when I was little, when I eat over at the neighbours, they didn't drank at all while eating, and the lady was actually offended by the idea (because for me it was normal to drink while eating). I always thought that silly, but later on I kinda started to enjoy, say, eating spicy food *without* washing it down all the time, it was like a whole new world for me ^^

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391279)

Oh. I'm the exact opposite.

Not drinking (anything, I don't mean alcohol) while eating is the smart thing to do though... be glad it's not a habit you have to drop :) Maybe just slip a bottle under the table while nobody is looking, then notice it after the meal is over? ^^

Drinking plenty of water while eating is the best thing to do. No calories, and fills your stomach so you get that full feeling without having to eat as much.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391681)

I know. But that's kinda the reason I don't like doing it... but then again overeating isn't my problem, I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm not, so if I drink while eating, I kinda eat too little. I also don't crave that "full" feeling at all.. "not empty" is fine IMHO... and being slightly full can make your tummy sing! But FULL to me sounds like like "bleugh, I need to lie down".

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392143)

Actually, it isn't the best idea. You're diluting the enzymes & acids in the digestive tract, making your food harder to digest. What is a good idea, is to drink more fluids throughout the day, up to about half an hour before each meal. People can have a weak thirst response and confuse it with hunger.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40394933)

I had a doctor explain to me long ago that drinking with a meal was not as healthy, though with medical knowledge changing so often I'm not sure his point would still be considered valid. The reason was that Saliva begins the digestive processes. Drinking reduces the body's need to create saliva, so your food is less digested as it moves to the stomach. This is of course assuming you chew the recommended 20-28 times per bite of food to ensure saliva permeates as much of the food as possible.

I'm with you on the fluids things though, many people don't realize how important drinking fluids (namely clear fluids, not soda) is for good health.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40395425)

"clear fluids"
like vodka amirite?

milk is probably fine too, and it's not clear

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391315)

Not drinking (anything, I don't mean alcohol) while eating is the smart thing to do though... be glad it's not a habit you have to drop :)

Interesting..I'd heard that before, but never have investigated it.

I suppose that not drinking while eating....is a large contributing factor, to me NOT eating baked/roasted turkey for Thanksgiving. No matter where I've had it...and how 'moist' everyone claimed it was..to me, it was like chewing cardboard.

That's why at Tday, for years...I always to Standing Rib Roast. I tell everyone, "The only turkey at my house on Thanksgiving, is 101 proof!!"

And...I never get tired of my leftovers either.

:)

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40393795)

Agreed. I have only ever rarely had turkey dinner that didn't need to be covered in gravy to simulate the moistness that it should have had to begin with, despite fellow diner's claims to the contrary.

Did you also get the thing where if you don't put much on your plate, or don't eat it all, they want to know why, see through your attempts to lie about not being that hungry or whatever else you can think of, and get upset when you tell the truth?

I have, however, occasionally had good turkey dinner, and I can't quite figure out the variables involved, I have some things I might suggest you experiment with.

1) The dark meat has more fat, I think, so it'll be a bit moister, in general, despite being in the bits that actually cook the fastest. It also has the most flavor, and turkey racists think they don't like it, so triple-win there.

2) Cooking time is pretty critical. Too short, and you could get sick, but most thanksgivings are organized in such a way that the turkeys are way over-cooked. The thermometer is hard to place, and the turkey is often pulled out after the cooking is done and carved *right away*, then left to finish cooking exposed. This is pretty much a disaster for keeping the juices in, made worse by the fact that consumer ovens aren't sold based on how closely they hold temperature. Cook time is *not* linear with temperature, and 25 degrees means a big difference in time. My oven can hold temperature to +/- 100 degrees pretty reliably...

3) Basting might help. It rarely happens for thanksgiving turkeys, which are more of the fire-and-forget school of cooking. There's socializing to do, you know.

4) There is a french technique for helping to keep the juices in that is basically creating a shell of some other, fattier meat over the turkey. Like Bacon, or Salt pork. I've tried this, and it seems to help a little, but it takes a *lot* of bacon to get good coverage, and the bacon is pretty tough afterwards, so you might not want to add it to post thanksgiving sandwiches.

Anyway good luck at the next one.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 2 years ago | (#40393951)

Obviously, the key element to a perfectly baked turkey is brining the bird for 12-16 hours, then placing it in the medium-hot oven...

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40394887)

Even without the brine I never make dry turkey, sounds like it may be cooked at too high of a temperature. 325 max for a Turkey, basting every 1/2 hour or so. The other part of a dry bird is normally letting it set to long uncovered after removing from the oven. Until you are ready to cut, keep a big sheet of foil over it. After cutting, replace the foil so the rest does not get dry while you eat.

Call me odd, but I prefer Turkey and Chicken over Beef and Pork. I eat beef maybe once a week, and pork maybe every other week.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395661)

2) Cooking time is pretty critical.

Here's s foolproof method for cooking birds so they're moist and tender, based on the Hainan chicken recipe. It works by bringing the proteins in the bird above their denaturing temperature in a non-drying, salt-balanced environment first, then using high heat to generate the Maillard reactions for the roasted flavour. By keeping the temp below 100c, you also avoid stretching the muscle fibres by passing boiling liquids passing between them.

Put the bird in a pot of salted water or stock, add herbs, spices etc so the flavour of the stock is balanced. Bring to the point of boiling, then turn off the heat. Rest for 20 minutes or until the water drops below 70c, then repeat until a meat thermometer shows 65c in the thickest part of the bird.

Take the bird carefully from the water/stock and place in a roasting pan in a hot oven and roast until the skin is caramelized and brown. You can make gravy from the stock while the bird is roasting (in fact, you'll end up with a pot of delicious stock for soup or consommé).

Carve and eat.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391153)

>>>As a kid, my favorite thing, was those plates that had compartments..so that one food didn't touch the other food.

I used to be like that, but once I get to college they just dumped the food on my plate haphazardly. I still don't want peas IN my mashed potatoes, but I no longer care if they touch one another...... or if a pea rolls into the turkey and gets gravy on it.

BTW spaghetti with a side of fries sounds okay to me. Both have the same thing in common: Seasoned with ketchup. ;-)

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Muros (1167213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392169)

I'm the exact opposite. I love peas & mash together. In fact, I'd say the best way to have mashed potatoes is with peas, stuffing & gravy mixed in.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40394905)

Isn't mashed potatoes a condiment similar to ketchup? Great on meat and veggies, and sometimes gravy solo but mostly good with other things. Mashed potato's on a fork is the easiest, and tastiest, way for me to pick up and eat corn off the cob.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391163)

I'm all mixed up when it comes to seperate or together on foods. For example, at breakfast I love to cut up a sausage patty, cut up a couple of eggs over medium and mix the sausage and eggs with my hash browns. But, I hate having anything mix with my pancakes and syrup. So if I order a meal that has both eggs and pancakes I always get scrambled eggs so that the yolk from over medium can't mix in with the pancakes. For example with a burger and fries I always eat and finish the fries first, then move on to the burger. My OCD is just a bit stranger than yours...

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391445)

The condition you have is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391751)

The condition you have is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

No...not really a compulsion. I mean, I don't get 'uptight' because food on my plate touches each other....It is just that I like to taste the individual flavors of everything. I don't think things taste as good when mixed...for most things.

Mexican food...for example, is an exception, since it all (at least Tex Mex in the US) is basically the same shit, just rolled up differently....basically corn tortillas, beans, meat, cheese....so, that doesn't bother me.

Hmm..I actually found that Plate Turner [urbandictionary.com] is sort of a real term. I thought I'd actually made it up when I was younger.

But I don't consciously do it...I just have always naturally eaten that way. I usually dig into my main entree...say, I'd eat the steak all the way first...then, turn my attention to the baked potato, etc...usually I eat the sides last...favorite one first.

I've met others that eat in the same manner, while not really common, it isn't completely unheard of or uncommon.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40392145)

I used to get pissed when eating with others...I'd drink a bit of wine that came before the meal...but during the meal, I'd stop drinking...and when the meal was over, since the others hadn't stopped drinking and eating together...the wine often was gone....

Impressive. Most people actually have to drink more wine in order to get pissed.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40393135)

Impressive. Most people actually have to drink more wine in order to get pissed.

I don't get what your meaning...?

Why would I drink more wine to get mad? I'm not a mean drunk....?

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40395445)

to be pissed can mean both to be angry, and to be drunk. the more you know.
what are you, some sort of foreigner? i dont mean not american they are foreigners too.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (2)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395679)

AC above is not American. Elsewhere in the world, getting pissed involves becoming drunk, not angry.

Re:Food Pairing not really a problem... (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40394519)

So you're a Romulan. Got it.

You can't call that biology (4, Insightful)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390731)

You can't call that biology. That and the premise itself is flawed. "Why do foods taste good together?". More like, "Why do we think foods taste good together?".

Re:You can't call that biology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391395)

"Why do foods taste good together?". More like, "Why do we think foods taste good together?".

Taste is subjective. Those questions are 100% identical.

Re:You can't call that biology (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392793)

It is flawed, because it does not make any sense.

If two foods share a certain molecule, then that is the same as one food having the molecule and one lacking it.
You have the molecule in your mouth from food 1 alone already. You will not be able to taste, which food the molecule you're tasting came from. So it does not matter at all, if food 2 also has this molecule. That would only increase the total amount of that molecule in your mouth, which you would also get by eating twice as much of food 1 at once.

And we all know, that two pieces of sugar don't really taste any different than one piece of sugar.

Re:You can't call that biology (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#40394833)

From TFA, it's not that they are trying to pair two pieces of sugar. It's more like they are taking the chemicals from oranges, more for the acid molecules, and mixing them with buttermilk which may have similar acid molecules. This differs in that it's not the major flavor they are trying to pair, but the other components we don't notice. Warning!: Trying that combination may lead to curdled milk in your stomach and cause vomiting.

I'm with most that say it's all bunk, and could not be made in to a science. First, taste is extremely subjective. What I like is probably very different than what you like, this becomes more different based on foods we grew up eating. Those "likes" and "dislikes" have little to do with whether what we are about to eat is extremely healthy or even toxic, but more that we are trained over time to enjoy certain flavors. Second, our bodies do not taste foods the same way over and over. Dairy products when someone is ill taste and react totally different than when they are healthy. This would be true with all foods of course, not just dairy. Last, environmental factors play a role in how things taste to us. When it's hot, ice cream may taste very good. When it's cool, Ice cream has a different less appealing flavor. That's not even mentioning that the temperature of the food changes flavor drastically.

Re:You can't call that biology (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395687)

Order a Cement Mixer shot next time you're in a bar.

Practice (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390747)

More like practicing comedy without a license.

Re:Practice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40390811)

More like practicing comedy without a license.

You must be new here!

biology license??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40390749)

chef who is practicing biology without a license

WTF does this mean?? I'm alive hence I'm "practicing biology". Now I need a license to stay alive or something?

Re:biology license??? (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390879)

Yeah, unfortunately you do. I can process and fast-track your license application for you for $100.

Re:biology license??? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390949)

It's a metaphor. You wouldn't understand.

Re:biology license??? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391277)

Good metaphors don't need an explanation.

Re:biology license??? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391367)

Although it's not exactly Shakespeare, it doesn't need explanation to people outside of the autism spectrum.

Re:biology license??? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392051)

(this would be the first time somebody diagnosed me as autistic. I usually do get Shakespeare's metaphors without problems, but this is beyond me, so it may be that I'm autistic and nobody knows).

So, old man, care to explain the metaphor or what?

Re:biology license??? (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395081)

Sure. A metaphor draws on the likeness of two things, actions, or ideas, to say something about one using expressions more conventionally suited for the other. The expression 'practising without a licence' is usually used in the medical profession, where in fact one does need a licence, which takes a bit of education and expertise to acquire. There, practising without a licence would mean you're passing yourself off as something you're not, most likely defrauding your customers in the process (and potentially harming them).

Re:biology license??? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395853)

Thanks. I got why I didn't get the metaphor - because it's a double-forced one:
a. likening Henson Blumenthal with a biologist and
b. likening practicing biology with practicing medicine

I might not be autistic after all.

What? Practicing biology? Unlicensed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40390869)

As opposed to the people "practicing biology" with a license? Who's he supposed to be licensed by? I'm gonna use some of this shit the next time I get some bad directions. "Well, it's no wonder your directions suck. You're practicing geography without a license."

Re:What? Practicing biology? Unlicensed? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391311)

Besides. It's not biology that you would be "practicing without a license". It's chemistry.

What rules you use to judge the result are another matter.

Re:What? Practicing biology? Unlicensed? (1)

thorgil (455385) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391453)

Its both actually...
olfactory receptor proteins in the nose... neurons firing... local inter-neurons combining the signals....
chemical neurobiology/chemical ecology
(ecology as it relates to other organisms... (plants etc.)... think kairomones! /T

Re:What? Practicing biology? Unlicensed? (3, Funny)

stainlesssteelpat (905359) | more than 2 years ago | (#40396393)

Former chef here. You have to be sonewhat licensed for food handling in several countries - certainly here in Oz. Also cookery is more chemustry than biology, unless you don't clean down after service.

Maybe it will finally explain my cousin (1)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390903)

The guy will dip french fries in ANYTHING.

Re:Maybe it will finally explain my cousin (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40390975)

Especially your mom's cooch.

Re:Maybe it will finally explain my cousin (1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390977)

I'm pretty sure that's just called fat.

Re:Maybe it will finally explain my cousin (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391449)

Wendy's french fries dipped in a chocolate frosty. Heads turn when I do this. But, it's pretty damn good.

Don't knock it till you try it.

Re:Maybe it will finally explain my cousin (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392103)

Many years ago, I was at The Tasty in Cambridge, MA. A guy sat at the counter and ordered french fries with some soft-serve vanilla to dip them into. The cook said "That's disgusting. You can't have it." I miss the Tasty.

Re:Maybe it will finally explain my cousin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40392233)

I thought I was the only one who did that!!! We must be of the same collective. Have you ever dipped the fries into the VANILLA frosty? It is not the same, but still pretty good.

Wrong target (5, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40390985)

Its not a food attribute to taste good or bad, is a cultural/personal thing, what you associated to that kind of tastes since early childhood (or even before). Mixing 2 could raise odds of reviving what you felt in the past while tasting one of the components.

Re:Wrong target (2)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391073)

Exactly. Food doesn't inherently taste good or bad. EXCEPT BACON.

Re:Wrong target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391259)

it's not about whether they taste good or bad, but whether they taste good for bad together

chocolate ice cream tastes good
a tuna salad sandwich tastes good

chocolate ice cream in a tuna salad sandwich probably does not taste good.

Re:Wrong target (1)

Zakabog (603757) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391275)

This post exactly. It's not that a hot dog with ketchup and fries is a perfect pairing of food, it's just what you might be used to growing up so eating one is often attributed to the other. I don't think tacos and Pepsi are a perfect pairing but whenever I go to Taco Bell I want Pepsi with my meal. I never noticed this till I stopped drinking soda, the meal tastes odd without the Pepsi because that's what I used to drink every time I went.

Sushi and soy sauce (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391399)

I have noticed the same thing with sushi rolls and soy sauce. I am so used to dipping the rolls in soy that I find they taste "funny" without soy.

Re:Wrong target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40392259)

Its not a food attribute to taste good or bad, is a cultural/personal thing...

Nope. Good taste is temporary, bad taste is persistant. That much is universal and taste is an ambiguous word that sums up too many qualities to attribute to cultural/personal preference alone.

Eating is not a choice, and eating behavior is mostly instinct driven with a bias in favor of familiarity and availability.

Re:Wrong target (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392421)

When you attribute good or bad to taste and other things, you are mostly observing not your food, but to yourself, how you felt before when you tasted something that had a similar taste, texture, smell or eaten in the same way. Probably you won't like food that were forced in a bad way to eat as child, or that your parents went mad when you ate that, our your friends laffed at you when you tell them that you liked it. And you probably would like new/different things that you took in a loving/friendly/fun/etc enough environment. Genes could have an influence, but culture can override it, how many things we like that could kill us? Think in smoking,, the usual first body warning, and still people keeps doing and liking it.

And that is not restricted to just taste.

Re:Wrong target (1)

mvdwege (243851) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395095)

Precisely.

What fits well together is largely a cultural thing. Consider this: in England eating vinegar sprinkled over deep fried potatoes is considered de rigueur. On the continent this draws looks of horror, here we eat our chips the Belgian way: with mayonnaise.

Now, there's some physical aspects of how tastes go together. Some tastes will overpower others, so combining them is not a good idea. But the individual reaction as to how well two things fit together? I think looking for a physical explanation for that is useless.

Beer (0)

ichthus (72442) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391037)

Beer + Mexican food = yum.

Re:Beer (5, Informative)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391107)

Weed + any food = yum.

Re:Beer (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391747)

Weed = yum.

Re:Beer (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395429)

Yum

Also depends on the person (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391055)

I tried Domino's today and their tomato sauce did NOT "pair" well with the cheese (too spicy/strong). Next time I'll try marinara sauce or goback to Pizza Hut.

I also don't like the so-called Sweet & Sour chicken my asian friends sometimes feed me. Just straight sweet is my preference.

Re:Also depends on the person (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391677)

you sound fat.

mod d0wn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391239)

much as WiNdo3s [goat.cx]

Engineer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391295)

Engineer: antithesis of a 'foodie'

PBJ for lunch every day!

Re:Engineer (2)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391555)

Until you have a reason to cook. Then cooking gets awesome [cookingforengineers.com] .

Re:Engineer (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392065)

Engineer: antithesis of a 'foodie'

PBJ for lunch every day!

Correlation does not equal causation; just because you are an engineer and a cretin does not mean that all engineers are cretins.

Re:Engineer (3, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | more than 2 years ago | (#40394769)

Engineer: antithesis of a 'foodie'

PBJ for lunch every day!

You know, there is a place in the world for "culinary engineering." I'm not talking about the manly art of flipping burgers on the grill. (Although there are actually better and worse techniques for that, too... empirically-derived....) If you don't make use of at least two kitchen scales (with different levels of precision), a superfast probe thermometer with thermocouple, an infrared thermometer, and a pH meter in your kitchen on a regular basis, you're not living up to the engineer's creed.

(I know what some of you are thinking -- what the heck is a pH meter doing in a kitchen? Very useful for testing the place of sourdough in its life cycle, whether your dill pickles and sauerkraut are properly fermented, even getting the perfect lemonade strength...)

My kitchen is also outfitted with a bunch of lab glassware -- Erlenmeyer flasks make great containers for oils and things you don't want to spill (laboratory glassware tends to have good lips to prevent a lot of dripping). A 2-liter or 5-liter beaker is great for measuring the rise of bread dough and its "doubling." All my spices are conveniently alphabetized in large test tubes in a test tube rack.

Engineering can be applied to most problems. Cooking is just applied chemistry, and therefore it amounts to chemical engineering on a very small scale. For example, using precision instruments can actually give your cooking an edge (particularly in baking), as long as you know what you're doing.

If you want to get even more fancy, keep a "lab notebook" of your "experiments." Note successful techniques to replicate your "experiments" for a dinner party. Record the weather and kitchen conditions when you're doing anything involving yeast or other microorganisms (like making your own cultured buttermilk). etc.

One can go overboard. I have yet to set up a distillation column to make my own extracts and essential oils, but that will probably happen at some point....

By the way, perhaps the problem is terminology. I spend a lot of time cooking, and I enjoy a fancy dinner at many "fancy" restaurants. But I'd never associate myself with the term "foodie," which I think of almost as an insult. Perhaps that's because most of the people whom I know and consider themselves "foodies" are pretentious idiots who care more about what the "hot" restaurants are, what the "hip" ways to make certain food are, etc., rather than whether it actually tastes good to anyone.

You're right -- "foodies" are not engineers, any more than an haute couture dress designer is an engineer. But that doesn't mean we can't use engineering to create newer better fabrics, better dyes, more efficient or durable designs for clothing, etc. Whether the fashion snobs will accept it (as the foodies judge the new restaurant or sniff their wine) is beside the point. Unlike in clothing fashion, most people are happy to eat good food cooked at home, without the approval of some elite.

Where are the real experts? (1)

bamboo7 (1411009) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391317)

Just tell me how the conservative and liberal politicians weigh-in on this debate so I can form my opinion without knowing any of the facts.

Re:Where are the real experts? (1)

Xiver (13712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391465)

Liberals: Taste's great!
Conservatives: Less filling!

Beer ( Score: +4, Informative ) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40391377)

and more beer.

Yours In Peace,
Kilgore Trout

Some things are best left as "art" (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391381)

There's a reason that a professional sommelier is something yet to be replaced by a computer. Gastronomy is a young science, but an ancient art. Modernist Cuisine is cool and all, but if I want something that tastes good, I'm more likely to trust someone using a recipe perfected over several generations or even several centuries.

Re:Some things are best left as "art" (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395457)

Oh come on, who the hell modded that down. He's got a point there. However, the scientific aspects are developing rapidly, and, when used in combination with the ancient art, can lead to fascinating results. One of the best winemakers I personally know is also a chemist. He worked in a wine research lab for several years before concentrating solely on winemaking - with great results based on a combination of age-old artisanal knowledge and modern scientific results.

Great, a food pairing company (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391547)

that hasn't stopped one popular idea from spawning a company dedicated to discovering avant-garde new pairings

Next up: patenting food combinations as "inventions".

Foods that absolutely don't mix (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391633)

For reasons I can't really explain, I got it into my head to try peanut butter and Marmite in a sandwhich. It's the only food combo I have ever eaten where the 2 flavours stay completely seperate, even as you chew. It's the oddest sensation eating it. Everything else becomes a blend when you mix it up but not these two. Very, very strange and well worth a try for the experience.

This tastes like proto-science... (1)

lvxferre (2470098) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391731)

...mixed with one or two spoons of trend. Often common, but a bit unavoidable when you're in the "gap" between the the "hard" and the "soft" sciences - following the scientific method of either often makes you to discard the other.

Yes, how food tastes is molecular. Is biological - that's why no culture will like foods that smell i.e. like shit. But if you try to analyze it as just Bio, and just throw out the social part, your research won't go well.
Using just as an example as how much culture affects your tastes, read De Re Coquinaria (Roman recipe book, from Apicius) and check how many of that food pairings you would do: honey in hard-boiled eggs? Fermented fish stock and wine in lamb? Vinegar and egg yolk in shrimps? Even for most Romance peoples now, this would be considered "yuck", yet it was high cuisine in another culture.

Re:This tastes like proto-science... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392041)

Wait a second. Are you claiming the 'soft sciences' use scientific method at all?

Re:This tastes like proto-science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40393893)

Yes, how food tastes is molecular. Is biological - that's why no culture will like foods that smell i.e. like shit.

Never had Sea Urchin, Civet Coffee, Corn Smut, Natto, Limburger, Truffles, or the King of Fruits?

Re:This tastes like proto-science... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40394921)

honey in hard-boiled eggs?

This doesn't sound like yuck, but more just boring as we have much more complex, sweet egg dishes today. Still not far off from egg yolks boiled in sugar syrup, which is found in quite a few cultures.

Fermented fish stock and wine in lamb?

A red meat with Worcestershire sauce?

Vinegar and egg yolk in shrimps?

Never had a mayonnaise based shrimp sauce before?

Re:This tastes like proto-science... (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395517)

The pairings you give as example don't look particularly off to me. Honey and egg? Well, perhaps not alone, but honey-glazed bacon with egg works. Red wine+fish sauce on lamb? I don't know how garum tasted exactly, but fermented fish sauces used in Asian cuisines work well with red meat. I'd worry a bit about losing the complexity of a wine reduction by adding fish sauce - but that's not a general incompatibility.

I don't think taste pairings are that much cultural. I haven't encountered many dishes from culturally totally different cuisines that I'd consider yucky because of the taste pairings. What is deeply culturally ingrained is the preference for certain food types. I am quite open and experimental, but I'd draw the line at fried tarantula. That, however, has nothing to do with the taste.

Odor is Everything (3, Insightful)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 2 years ago | (#40391907)

Pinch your nose closed and take a bite of your favorite succulent cuisine. You'll quickly realize that taste is not what you think it is, and that what your brain perceives as "taste" depends much more on olfactory stimulation than on your tastebuds.

I learned that first watching Mr. Wizard's World way back in the 80s. :)

Re:Odor is Everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40396919)

I learned this from having a stuffy nose...

__ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40392101)

It's very simple, different combinations of gustatory sensors are fired in combination activating the brain such a manner as to create reward circuitry flowing, towards whatever the optimal 'ideal' reward pattern is for each individual person. That and G-d makes certain things taste good:-)

Anti-bacterial (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40392769)

We find meat taste better with onion and garlic because onion and garlic helps prevent meat going bad. That was one conjecture I've read and sounds feasible on evolutionary ground.

Re:Anti-bacterial (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40393895)

Moreso because they cover up the flavors of rotten food. It's too late by the time you cook and eat the food, there's no evolutionary benefit.

Re:Anti-bacterial (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395451)

Also, because onion and garlic are really tasty.

Some things do pair well (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40394131)

Dark chocolate and coffee, dark chocolate and pretzels, dark chocolate and pinot noir, dark chocolate and mint... hmm, gotta find a non-chocolate example. Tequila and lime?

food paring in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40394923)

where to start, as a cook in a few different styles of restaurant with different chefs i can say food pairing is all about personal preference. i have tried peanut butter with ketchup on toast (not for me) as someone i knew liked it, i have tried grilled cheese with peanut butter in it (actually pretty good). you cant pair foods together strictly, you can only say that in general this food goes with this most of the time, but for sure not always. you can only do that per culture as well, i am sure Asians will find food parings in western cuisine odd and vice versa. some cuisines have similar parings which gives the illusion that there is an absolute paring when there isn't.food parings will always be changing to keep up with social changes, there will never be an absolute for food paring and those that say so are off there rocker.

The universal truth (2)

jandersen (462034) | more than 2 years ago | (#40395249)

What goes well together is very much a cultural thing, as I think anybody who travels will know. Personally, I've had boiled sweets with garlic or durian flavour in Thailand; my Chinese wife tends to combine foods in surprising ways too - like apple pie with baked beans or cakes with a fruit and chicken filling. Or take this new, stomach churning trend where you get chocolate sauce with meat (shudder).

I guess if you are open minded enough, most things can go well together. And if you are pregnant, well.... let's say no more, but I knew one lady who had a craving for fishcakes and blue cheese (with nothing else).

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