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Friday, August 01, 2014

Odd Flavour Combos That Surprisingly Work

All right.  Who will admit to watching "Sharknado 2: The Second One" a couple of nights ago?

I'll admit it.  I'll raise my hand in shame.  I watched the film.  I really have no idea why, as I found the original "Sharknado" movie to be so bad it was quite amusing.  I suppose that you could say the same for the sequel.  The sequel - which starred Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Kari Wuhrer, and Mark "Sugar Ray" McGrath drew an impressive 3.9 million viewers on SyFy.  Not sure how well it was rated in Canada, as it aired on Space TV, but given the buzz that it received on Facebook and Twitter, I figured that it must have also done well here.

Sure, the film had a stupid concept.  Tornadoes that happen to be filled with sharks of all sizes come speeding towards the heart of New York City with the mission of destroying the entire city, and Fin (Ziering), the man who saved Los Angeles one year earlier from a deadly sharknado must do the same with New York.

And the movie is filled with a whole bunch of impossible situations.  For one, I have my doubts that any of us will see a sharknado any time soon (unless global warming really gets out of balance).  I'm also going to go on a whim and say that if a sharknado did materialize out of thin air that the majority of people would not be lollygagging on the city streets window shopping hoping that they won't get crushed by flaming sharks raining down on them.

But yet, the sequel to "Sharknado" is getting great reviews, despite the fact that many others thought that it would never work.  I mean, there is no way I can even picture sharks and tornadoes coming together to create a modern day pop culture phenomenon, but for some crazy reason, it worked out brilliantly.

Now, here's the question.  What exactly does Sharknado have to do with today's food topic?

Well, aside from the fact that I suppose that the people of New York City could have eaten barbecued shark at the end of the movie, there's not much that Sharknado would have in common with a

But what about taking two or more foods that you would never think would blend together to create a surprisingly delicious flavour combination?  That's the topic of the day.

Certainly since the history of culinary arts began, people have been experimenting with ingredients to come up with food magic.  Some of the experiments turn out to be flavour disasters, but some of them have become the next taste sensation.  I mean, there was once a time in which people never expected sour cream and onions to go together, and yet those two things have been instrumental in one of the more popular potato chip flavours out there.

In this entry, I'll be posting a couple of well known dishes that combine ingredients that many don't see as being that great together, but are surprisingly delicious.  As well, I'll be talking about some of the flavour combos that I discovered when I was a kid (and adult).  Some of them may appear to be disgusting, but I can attest - they taste better than you might think - well, given that you like the ingredients, that is.

Let's begin with a combination that is truly Canadian.

See this dish up above?  It's a combination of french fries, gravy, and cheese curd.  Some may call it a heart attack on a plate, and well...I would agree that it's not the healthiest food choice out there.

But for us Canadians, the poutine is one of those things that sounds awful, but tastes incredibly good.  I don't know what it is about the poutine that makes it so irresistible, but to me, it is real comfort food.  Some people look at comfort food as something like fried chicken, or macaroni and cheese, or marshmallow fluff even.  Not me. 

(Coincidentally, you can oven bake the fries and substitute shredded mozzarella cheese in place of curd.  It's the same effect and the taste is no different.)

Now, here's another flavour combination that might make a lot of you gag in disgust.  But keep in mind that I was a young child when I was coming up with this mixture and I had no concept of food plating whatsoever.

Oh, hell...I'm 33, and I still don't know how to plate food.  Masterchef I am not.

When I was younger, I hated mashed potatoes.  I don't know what it was about them, but I always found them to be the most bland of all the side dishes that my mom ever made.  I could handle almost any other vegetables.  Green beans were okay.  Peas were okay.  Corn on the cob was always welcome.  But mashed potatoes were such that no amount of butter could mask the blandness. 

Now, on the other hand, I was (and still am) a fan of the condiment known as mustard.  I'm not sure what it was about that yellow stuff, but the taste of mustard was delicious.  I put that stuff on everything...

...including mashed potatoes.

Yeah, I know it sounds nasty to the general public, but mustard and mashed potatoes was absolutely delicious to me.  When I was a kid, it was really the only way that I could eat mashed potatoes.  And, well...I'll confess.  When I know that nobody else is looking, I'll still dip my mashed potatoes in a glob of French's mustard.

(Don't worry though.  If I am out to dinner with all of you, I won't ever do that.  I just won't order mashed potatoes.)

Okay.  What other food combo do I like that could be considered weird?

Oh, I know.  I used to dip chocolate chip cookies in a tub of Cool Whip.  But, that's not really weird.  Cool Whip and Chips Ahoy is a delicious combo.  If anything, I used to get in trouble doing that because I would always leave crumbs behind.

Ah, but dipping chocolate chip cookies in Coca-Cola?  That's a wilder flavour combo.  Surprisingly, it tasted not too bad - even though I only did it once in a blue moon.  There's nothing worse than a soggy cookie, whether you dip it in tea, coffee, water, or even Coca-Cola.

How about some of you?  What are some of your favourite but strange food combos?

Do you dip your pretzels in ketchup?

Do you put Cheetos in your ice cream?
Do you eat soy sauce on your hot dog?
Do you spread peanut butter on pickles?

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