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December 20, 2011 9:27 PM   Subscribe


 
I've always wondered why it is that peppermint and chocolate go together really well, but chocolate and spearmint is really gross. Likewise chocolate and wintergreen.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:39 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use a microplane grater to z-test a lemon...
posted by Jon_Evil at 9:44 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


This paper is just an excuse to use every single type of diagram known to man.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:45 PM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


All I know is keep your goddamned syrup off my eggs and sausage/bacon. That's why god invented two plates. Sweet and savory.
posted by symbioid at 9:47 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


But symbioid, pig candy. So, like, QED.
posted by pajamazon at 9:52 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Amen, symbioid, amen.
posted by shoesietart at 9:54 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder how much the North American and Western European mix-and-match flavours are influenced by our just-shovel-it-down-the-food-hole eating styles.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:55 PM on December 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Doesn't Thai cuisine always strive for sweet, sour, hot, salty and bitter notes in a meal, although not necessarily all 5 in the same dish?

I've always wondered why it is that peppermint and chocolate go together really well, but chocolate and spearmint is really gross. Likewise chocolate and wintergreen.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:39 AM on December 21


Mote. Beam. Eye.
posted by maudlin at 10:09 PM on December 20, 2011 [8 favorites]


Hey! Chocolate and pickles go together really well!!!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:24 PM on December 20, 2011


All I know is keep your goddamned syrup off my eggs and sausage/bacon.

What are you, kidding me? That's a beautiful symphony of flavor!

(Disclaimer: I may be of Asian descent.)
posted by CommonSense at 10:24 PM on December 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


All I know is keep your goddamned syrup off my eggs and sausage/bacon.

Well yeah, the ketchup makes it sweet enough.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:34 PM on December 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stay out of Canada, symbioid. Talk like that can get you a swift apology for all the face-punching.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:36 PM on December 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


I live in the southern United States, why have I never heard of this pig candy? Maybe it's because I live in Alabama. We're always last, next to Mississippi of course.
posted by robtf3 at 11:17 PM on December 20, 2011


If you look closely at the flavor network, you'll notice toward the bottom-right that the mushrooms are a group unto themselves, disconnected from other flavors, forming a Mystic Pentagram.
posted by twoleftfeet at 12:09 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


That's a beautiful symphony of flavor!

For sure, anyone who's ever had a McDonald's McGriddle™ knows that those tastes are bleeeeghurgaaagggh *asphyxiates on vomit*
posted by XMLicious at 12:16 AM on December 21, 2011


Are you mad? Any logical thinker knows that pancakes (or waffles, or french toast, or any food stuff designed for ettin with syrup) knows that the breadstuff is just an excuse for us to have maple syrup, and for us to dredge our delicious bits of pork through it. Sausage and syrup? Bliss. Bacon and syrup? Heaven. Heaven on a fork, I say.
posted by Ghidorah at 1:17 AM on December 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


What? The McGriddle is great. Sausage and syrup is a perfect combination.

I also order the Big Breakfast and make a sandwich of biscuit, egg, sausage, hash brown and grape jelly. Absolutely delicious.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:10 AM on December 21, 2011


An' don't skimp on the pâté!
posted by XMLicious at 2:17 AM on December 21, 2011


Having sausage and pancakes on separate plates is like having your spouse live in a separate house state. Anyone saying otherwise must permanently give up ever eating glazed, hickory-smoked ham.
posted by Goofyy at 2:36 AM on December 21, 2011


Having sausage and pancakes on separate plates is like having your spouse live in a separate house state. Anyone saying otherwise must permanently give up ever eating glazed, hickory-smoked ham.

Province dude. Canada has provinces. And syrup. Great Lakes of Syrup. Particularly a semi-secret giant stockpile of just under 8 Million Kilograms of syrup in Quebec.

If Quebec is ever invaded, this will be why. Sure they will say Democracy, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Frenchness or some other seemingly justified reason but now you know the true reason- it will be Blood for Maple Syrup.
posted by srboisvert at 4:34 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Actual sausage and actual maple syrup are a beautiful combination. The McGriddle is gross because the syrup is not maple and the sausage... well, I've had better vegan sausage substitute.
posted by Jeanne at 4:35 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have to be missing something, because they are comparing North American/European ingredients like milk, butter, vanilla and flour (vanilla?) to combinations like garlic/tomato/onion.
posted by jeather at 5:16 AM on December 21, 2011


In the diagram in the second link, I was struck by A, noting the flavor similarities between beef and coffee, because in the last few weeks I have been served both coffee-rubbed steak, and coffee-coated cheese. In both cases, it sounded horrible and tasted amazing.

I also order the Big Breakfast and make a sandwich of biscuit, egg, sausage, hash brown and grape jelly.

I saw someone do this the other week. Awful to watch, but unbeatable as a method for maximum rapid caloric intake.
posted by Forktine at 6:02 AM on December 21, 2011


My Serbian father-in-law hated syrup on his pancakes and would replace it with feta cheese. Also he couldn't understand the meat + sweet thing, like applesauce with pork chops. He got a kick out of asking for bread at Chinese restaurants, but wasn't entirely kidding in his request. He had definite ideas about what a proper meal looks and tastes like, and it usually included bread and meat.
posted by swift at 6:04 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I must be a secret Serbian, because I also hate sweet + meat dishes. The worst is when people sneak it in, like adding raisins to so-called curries.
posted by Forktine at 6:15 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Pancakes with sausage are not a "sweet + meat dish". It's breakfast.
posted by Goofyy at 7:01 AM on December 21, 2011


Huh, this explains why I like Asian food and find most western food boring. Also why I put vinegar and mustard on everything.
posted by yarly at 7:04 AM on December 21, 2011


All I know is keep your goddamned syrup off my eggs and sausage/bacon

There's a brunch place near where I live that will sell you a pancake with the bacon cooked right inside and scrambled eggs dropped on top. You then cover the whole thing in syrup and eat it.

It is awesome.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:04 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


An' don't skimp on the pâté!

Makes me wonder what seared foigras and maple syrup would taste like.

The McGriddle is gross because the syrup is not maple and the sausage... well, I've had better vegan sausage substitute.

I am pretty accepting of food on an "it is what it is" kind of way, McDonalds sausage is not comparable to any other types of sausage, it simply is what it is.but then again I think I mentioned before I taste tested cat food to try to discern why my girlfriends cat would only eat certain kinds. I am partial to ocean whitefish in aspic fancy feast.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:06 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Does anyone actually eat an "All North American" diet anymore?

Note that common foods like pizza, sushi, and spaghetti blow away the entire thesis of this study.
posted by sleslie at 7:21 AM on December 21, 2011


Yeah, there are a zillion North American cuisines - even Rhode Island has its own. If they mean fast food, well, fail. If they mean Pennsylvania Dutch and Southern comfort food, they should make that clear.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:31 AM on December 21, 2011


My one exception to the sweet and savory is cranberry sauce with turkey and dressing.
No apples and pork.
No raisins with anything. Or currants.
No grapes in chicken salad.
Monte cristo sandwiches are an abomination.

Don't get me started on nuts. No kung pao, no cashew chicken, no peanut satays and no peanuts on my pad thai.

Ad hominem, you are officially barred from making any more food comments with all the power invested in me on Meta...wait I have no power...well, I'm still barring you.
posted by shoesietart at 7:31 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No sweet flavours with meat? No tourtière for you!
posted by maudlin at 7:58 AM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq: "Stay out of Canada, symbioid. Talk like that can get you a swift apology for all the face-punching."

What do you know, you have ham for bacon.
posted by symbioid at 8:04 AM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Goofyy: "Having sausage and pancakes on separate plates is like having your spouse live in a separate house state. Anyone saying otherwise must permanently give up ever eating glazed, hickory-smoked ham."

Ah! I hate glazed ham, and never realized why (aside from the fact I never really am a fan of ham in general)... This makes perfect sense.
posted by symbioid at 8:06 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


shoesietart,

*takes deep breath*

YOU....

ARE....

FIRED.
posted by fleetmouse at 8:08 AM on December 21, 2011


What do you know, you have ham for bacon.

YOU. TAKE. THAT. BACK.

Back bacon / peameal bacon is a closely guarded national treasure, and is not to be confused with the sad, sad artifact known as "Canadian bacon".
posted by maudlin at 8:13 AM on December 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ad hominem: Makes me wonder what seared foigras and maple syrup would taste like.

For the record, Au Pied de Cochon's Plogue de Champlain has exactly that. They also have a cabane a sucre, but it's sold out for 2012.
posted by mhum at 8:46 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the meat is cured it's already salty + sweet. Maple syrup just makes it a little sweeter. Personally I have a threshold where any pork product sweeter than black forest ham is too sweet (most poultry sausages for instance), but if there are complex carbs in with the meat I can handle more sweetness (Chinese noodle dishes, Moroccan dishes with couscous, etc...) I think also that a sour element or some heat to offset the sweetness can rescue unbearably sweet meat dishes (southern BBQ + Serrano level heat = tasty, anything less = sickening)

Personally, I'm curious about whether there is a database of varying levels of flavor intensity among the five taste groups across cuisines. I've noticed that if there isn't a some bitterness in fattening foods (lemon zest in Italy, rue in Ethiopian, etc...) I find it too rich to the point of being sickening. It'd be cool to have a calculator to nudge untested recipes more towards my palate (or away for guests). Plug in an existing recipe and see how it maps compared to your preferences for instance.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:48 AM on December 21, 2011


Also, Monte Cristo sandwiches shouldn't be sweet. The abomination is places where the french toast is too sweet as well, and then they go and add powdered sugar, ugg.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:50 AM on December 21, 2011


I wonder if the North American/Western European results are skewed by the obvious dessert ingredients (vanilla, cream, butter). It seemed strange that these show up as some of the most frequent ingredients for NA/WE, while other areas favored more "main dish" ingredients. Cream and butter can be used in other things, but vanilla is pretty much dessert-only, which seems to say that NA/WE people have a serious sweet tooth and/or really enjoy baking as a hobby.

Sweets are enjoyed just about everywhere but in many countries people purchase them from specialty shops instead of making them at home. Indian milk-fudge confections, Mexican candied fruits, Chinese deep-fried filled pastries - they're all too difficult for most home cooks to bother with. Thus, such recipes on popular websites are scarce.

I'd like to see them repeat the analysis after removing recipes for desserts. It would be interesting to see if there's any difference in main-dish flavor combinations.
posted by Quietgal at 8:51 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ironically, this flies in the face of my basic suspicion that almost every Chinese recipe has soy sauce and (garlic and/or ginger) in it somewhere. Can't fit it in? Make a dipping sauce from them! I'm basing this on both the foods I eat at restaurants (which vary from clearly AmeriChinese to authentic ethnic cuisine), and the recipes I follow (generally from native authors). There's clearly a personal taste bias, but I'm not convinced that I'm ignoring a majority of recipes.

Hmm, looking closer, albeit not deeply, it seems like a very few highly common ingredients might not skew the results much. Overall pair combos - soy always with beef, pineapple with pork, are more the sorts of things they're looking at, rather than "% of recipes containing soy."
posted by IAmBroom at 9:54 AM on December 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you're exactly right, Quietgal. I think they've managed to discover the existence of baking, which a good literature review consisting of watching any two random episodes of Top Chef would have revealed. I suppose Padma isn't on the peer review committee at Nature.

I mean, their most "authentic" (I think that distinctive may be a better term) ingredients for East Asian cooking are soy sauce, soybeans (tofu?), rice, sesame oil, scallion, garlic, ginger and cayenne. That's the go-to list for Asian entrees. Their distinctive North American ingredients? Flour, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and molasses. That's a cake.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:55 AM on December 21, 2011


So Elvis (The King) was definitely ahead of his time experimenting with culinary fusion with his Coke glazed Ham?

Sauage/bacon with syrup ftw.

Forktine - I've been adding a cup of coffee (and a can of Guinness or Newcastle) to my very simple beef stew for years now. The darker flavour complements stewed beef well, and is a nice pick-me-up when having it for lunch.
posted by porpoise at 10:16 AM on December 21, 2011


I've been adding a cup of coffee (and a can of Guinness or Newcastle) to my very simple beef stew for years now.

Recipe? A month ago I'd have laughed at the idea, but the steak I had was great, so consider my mind opened on this particular flavor combination.
posted by Forktine at 10:22 AM on December 21, 2011


Figures K and L are juxtaposed badly--if both used the same y-axis, the East Asian graph would be a flat line.
posted by yellowcandy at 11:13 AM on December 21, 2011


Forktine, i tend to add stout to things like chili or stew (with beef). Other stew meats get other beer, but I usually use beer as the first liquid in a stew, or as a braising liquid. It's all kinds of added flavor.
posted by Ghidorah at 4:35 PM on December 21, 2011


This is for about a pound, maybe a little more, of stewing beef.

Pre-season stewing beef (your normal array of seasoning, but soy sauce instead of salt), toss lightly in flour, brown on all (most sides) on high heat in oil. I do this directly in the stewing vessel. Add coarsely chopped onion during the final part of the browning, should let it go slightly translucent. Pour in a dark beer and a cup of black dark-roast coffee. Add in a tin of beef stock. Should be enough to cover, if not, adding a little water or more beer/coffee. Add some chopped celery, crushed garlic, coarse black pepper. I use an 60's vintage pressure cooker, let it go for about an hour. Add in chunks of potatoes and carrots. Scrape the stuck on bottom bits (mostly fried flour) with a flat-headed wooden spatula. Pressure cook another half hour or so, check the doneness of the carrots. When about halfway done, open it up at a higher temp and cook uncovered stirring and scraping, until desired broth consistency. Add salt to taste. Super simple.

Sometimes I'll throw in a few crushed fresh Thai chili peppers in there during the final part of the boiling down (I find that over-cooking capsaicin kills a lot of the heat).
posted by porpoise at 4:56 PM on December 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


My ex's grandmother always made brisket with coke. It went something like this, brown brisket on all sides, set aside, caramelize onions in same pan, transfer the onions and brisket to a baking dish, pour in can of coke, cover with tinfoil and bake.

I always add cocoa powder to chili.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:04 AM on December 22, 2011


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