Incompatible Food Triad
January 26, 2012 10:47 AM   Subscribe

After twenty-five years of thinking about this problem I decided to write a web page about it. Here is the problem: Can you find three foods such that all three do not go together (by any reasonable definition of foods "going together") but every pair of them does go together?

George W. Hart, formerly faculty at Stony Brook University and now full time Chief of Content at the soon to open Museum of Mathematics (Previously), also has an amazing website where he lists his other projects.

Highlights include:

His sculpture
His puzzles

His Mathematically Correct Breakfast: How to Slice a Bagel into Two Linked Halves (Previously) and another yet more amazing bagel Ideas for future research include: how to make Mobius lox...

His Encyclopedia of Polyhedra
  • Polyhedra and Art through History
  • Classroom Project Ideas
  • Annotated Bibliography (Lists many things written about polyhedra.)

  • and
    His convincing plug for his multidimensional analysis book
    posted by Blasdelb (169 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

     
    Can you find three foods such that all three do not go together, but every pair of them does go together?

    A shot of tequila, a shot of tequila and a shot of tequila.

    stolen from the article
    posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:55 AM on January 26, 2012 [29 favorites]


    cap'n crunch + fruity pebbles: YES!
    cap'n crunch + cocoa puffs: YES!
    fruity pebbles + cocoa puffs: YES!

    cap'n crunch + fruity pebbles + cocoa puffs: world exploded, impossible to verify
    posted by rouftop at 10:55 AM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


    We used to play a variation on the incompatible food triad game during idle moments at summer camp. In our version we would try to name three foods, of which no pair would go together.
    posted by pemberkins at 10:55 AM on January 26, 2012


    The incompatible food thing is fine but the linked bagels just blew my mind. The possibilities ...
    posted by feckless at 10:57 AM on January 26, 2012


    Peanut butter, chocolate, lime
    posted by selfmedicating at 10:58 AM on January 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


    Beer, Lemonade, Pizza
    posted by The White Hat at 11:02 AM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Great; now I am going to thinking about the incompatible food triad for the rest of the day.
    posted by TedW at 11:03 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Chocolate
    Milk
    Parmesan.

    The first two make a nice treat, the last two make a nice sauce, the first and last are horrifically disgusting.

    What do I win?
    posted by Pastabagel at 11:07 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Peanut-butter & lime?
    posted by oddman at 11:09 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Pasta, you must reread the problem.
    posted by travis08 at 11:09 AM on January 26, 2012 [18 favorites]


    Next on the agenda: plate of beans.
    posted by tommasz at 11:09 AM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    It's got to be that all three together are terrible but any pair would be fine. Otherwise any triad involving:

    sweet food
    butter
    savory food

    would win.
    posted by gauche at 11:09 AM on January 26, 2012


    Cheese, bacon, chocolate is as close as I get. Mind you, they all frequently inhabit my tummy at co-occurring times with no problem, but they got there in singles or dyads.
    posted by iamkimiam at 11:10 AM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Also, I've had parmigiano dipped in dark, fairly bitter chocolate, and it is not without it's appeal.
    posted by gauche at 11:11 AM on January 26, 2012


    I think sweet, sour, spicy could work.
    posted by oddman at 11:11 AM on January 26, 2012


    Yes.

    Food 1: A McDonald's cheeseburger.
    Food 2: A McDonald's cheeseburger.
    Food 3: A McDonald's cheeseburger.

    As any person who's ever been stoned should be able to tell you, sometimes you're hungry as hell and McDonald's cheeseburgers sound really good. You can shift two of them and still feel kind of pleasantly full of junk food, provided you eat them slowly enough. But then you start on the third one and it is just disgusting. It is gross and you will not want to eat McDonald's again, ever, not even at your most baked. This feeling will last a few weeks at least, possibly longer.
    posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:13 AM on January 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


    Peanut-butter & lime?

    I don't know - you have to try Trader Joe's chili lime cashews ...
    posted by carter at 11:13 AM on January 26, 2012


    I tell my friends that I'm studying math for fun, and to get ready for Calculus in the winter.

    They look at me like I have 5 heads, and I am leaking toxic waste from all of them.

    I bet if I were to post this to my Facebook feed, those same math-scorning friends would be besides themselves in trying to brainstorm all these permutations, up to and including posting recipes and hosting cooking parties.
    posted by spinifex23 at 11:14 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    sour patch kids, frozen yogurt, balsamic vinegar.
    posted by troika at 11:14 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I think sweet, sour, spicy could work.

    You do have to think of "base" flavors like this to get to the fail state, but I put sriracha on sweet and sour pork all the time.
    posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:15 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    On a related note, I have a theory that foods can be sorted into two categories: those that are improved by the addition of chocolate, and those that are improved by the addition of garlic.
    posted by madcaptenor at 11:15 AM on January 26, 2012 [40 favorites]


    I think sweet, sour, spicy could work.

    It depends on how much sweet you put in. A small amount could enhance the sour-spicy combo. For instance, I sometimes put a dash of sugar in curries.
    posted by carter at 11:16 AM on January 26, 2012


    madcaptenor: I have to re-organize my fridge & pantry now.
    posted by MustardTent at 11:17 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    George hart is evidently the father of Vi Hart.
    posted by Obscure Reference at 11:18 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Plate of beans, taters, grilled cheese.
    posted by Kabanos at 11:23 AM on January 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


    Peanut-butter & lime?

    Thai food.

    I have a theory that foods can be sorted into two categories: those that are improved by the addition of chocolate, and those that are improved by the addition of garlic.

    Molé.
    posted by BrotherCaine at 11:25 AM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Wow, I can't believe nobody has mentioned this but the obvious answer is chocolate, peanut butter and bananas.
    posted by triggerfinger at 11:25 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    I don't have all this stuff on hand but I would try:

    sour pach kids, strawberry frozen yogurt, Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale

    I also think you can add something like 90% cocoa to almost any food and it would work ok.

    Don't forget that cocoa has traditionaly been mixed with spices and cocoa is added to stuff like chili and ribs as a complex smoke type flavor.
    posted by Ad hominem at 11:25 AM on January 26, 2012


    From the article, someone aims to debunk the core concept of the problem:

    "Indeed, there is a myth called "food pairing", but it is not scientific, as
    food appreciation is a question of art... and art always espapes (aesthetics)
    laws.
    Moreover, think of Munster Cheese, durian fruits, hot brain of apes in
    skulls... If someone had it when young, it's good!"

    Holy crap, Muenster ranks up there with DURIAN and HOT APE BRAINS as a horrifying food that one must be indoctrinated at birth to enjoy? I mean, it's just a semi-soft cheese... it's not even stinky! Asiago or something similarly semi-common but.. fragrant, I could understand. But poor li'l Muenster?
    posted by FatherDagon at 11:26 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Wow, I can't believe nobody has mentioned this but the obvious answer is chocolate, peanut butter and bananas.

    The triad here is infinitely more delicious than any of the pairs.
    posted by spitefulcrow at 11:27 AM on January 26, 2012 [23 favorites]


    Chocolate peanut butter and banana cupcakes.
    posted by Kabanos at 11:28 AM on January 26, 2012


    triggerfinger: "Wow, I can't believe nobody has mentioned this but the obvious answer is chocolate, peanut butter and bananas."

    What? A PB+Nutella+Banana sandwich is great! Also, just shoving all those in my mouth at once is great too.
    posted by wcfields at 11:28 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    :: I don't know - you have to try Trader Joe's chili lime cashews ...

    I'm not saying that peanut/lime or cashew/lime won't work, but peanuts are so not the same as cashews. Not even close, in my leather bound and incredibly informed and autographed book.
    posted by item at 11:29 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    FAMOUS MONSTER you are Alexander to George Hart's Gordian Knot.

    This is so true. The McDonald's 2 cheeseburger combo was a staple of mine when I was commuting. Some days I would be extraordinarily hungry; but I always regretted getting an additional burger.

    The same with Taco Bell; 2 seven layer burritos doesn't sound like much, but halfway through the second, I regret it.

    As I read somewhere recently, "the meal isn't over when I am done eating; it's over when I hate myself."
    posted by Xoebe at 11:29 AM on January 26, 2012


    Molé.

    Well-played. By "chocolate" I meant "chocolate plus sugar", but I didn't say that.
    posted by madcaptenor at 11:30 AM on January 26, 2012


    On a related note, I have a theory that foods can be sorted into two categories: those that are improved by the addition of chocolate, and those that are improved by the addition of garlic.

    This is not original to you; in any event, I reject your classifications. Chocolate chip bagels are good and bagels with garlic are good. I suspect bagels with both would be horrific.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:30 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Chocolate chip bagels are improved by the addition of more chocolate, and garlic bagels are improved by the addition of more garlic.
    posted by madcaptenor at 11:31 AM on January 26, 2012


    I was actually stoned last night and had 2 McD's cheeseburgers, but one was a McDouble, which pushed me solidly into 3-cheeseburger territory. Needless to say, this morning was an unpleasant experience.
    posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 11:32 AM on January 26, 2012


    "George hart is evidently the father of Vi Hart."

    Who is incidentally, still doing her thing.

    SpongeBob's supposed "Pineapple under the Sea," exposed as the mathematical impossibility it really is:

    posted by Blasdelb at 11:32 AM on January 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


    "Wow, I can't believe nobody has mentioned this but the obvious answer is chocolate, peanut butter and bananas."

    I believe this breaks down at peanut butter and bananas
    posted by Blasdelb at 11:34 AM on January 26, 2012


    Corollary: Does a food exist that doesn't go with bacon?
    posted by swift at 11:35 AM on January 26, 2012


    I'm thinking you could make some seriously horrible combos with creme fraiche. That tart buttermilk flavor is so odd.

    I don't think it would go with bacon at all.
    posted by Ad hominem at 11:36 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I was actually stoned last night and had 2 McD's cheeseburgers, but one was a McDouble, which pushed me solidly into 3-cheeseburger territory. Needless to say, this morning was an unpleasant experience.

    Ah, yes. The dreaded McBowel Movement. At least it's quick!
    posted by heyho at 11:38 AM on January 26, 2012


    Nasty, brutish and short.
    posted by ODiV at 11:41 AM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Papaya, tuna, cheddar
    posted by Jon_Evil at 11:42 AM on January 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


    I know bacon gets a lot of well-deserved love around the ol' intertubes, but I am throwing down for Team Butter (note: not an actual team).

    Seriously, I defy you to think of a non-raw food that is not improved by the judicious addition of butter.
    posted by gauche at 11:42 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    mentos, diet coke, pop-rocks?
    posted by Mad_Carew at 11:42 AM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Ooh, I have one! Red food coloring, yellow food coloring, blue food coloring. Mix any two and you get a nice color; mix all three and the result looks like shit.
    posted by madcaptenor at 11:43 AM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


    Peanut butter, chocolate, lime

    I'd eat that. In fact, I may just make peanut butter brownies with lime sauce to prove it.
    posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:44 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I feel this can be solved by knowing that if you take a drink of icehouse beer, then a drink of coca-cola, it will taste pleasantly lemon-y.

    It's really weird.
    posted by OnTheLastCastle at 11:44 AM on January 26, 2012


    Gatorade, onion, and iPod.
    posted by Obscure Reference at 11:45 AM on January 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


    Well, crap.

    I guess I never thought all three together sounded all that good. Apparently I'm missing out.
    posted by triggerfinger at 11:45 AM on January 26, 2012


    Molé is a really funny word to say out loud. What a fortunate misspelling, a combination of mole and olé.

    Here we have curry (boring) and here we have bbq sauce (boring) and here we have Molé (exciting!).

    Some of the best mole I've ever had had just enough sugar to leave a spicy, bittersweet aftertaste,
    posted by Ayn Rand and God at 11:45 AM on January 26, 2012


    Onion, chocolate and batter?
    posted by ODiV at 11:46 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    cobra poison
    cobra poison antidote
    cheese
    posted by drjimmy11 at 11:48 AM on January 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


    I don't know if Strawberry, Banana and Chocolate would taste good together as a trio or not. Has anyone tried this specific combo?
    posted by Navelgazer at 11:53 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I haven't landed on the exact combo yet, but it feels like celery might be a formula-winning food here. Goes with peanut butter, blue cheese, buffalo wings, all the crazy Bloody Mary ingredients (not to mention Clamato).........
    posted by argonauta at 11:54 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Onion, chocolate and batter?

    Onion and chocolate?
    posted by Bookhouse at 11:54 AM on January 26, 2012


    Navelgazer: I've had a banana split with strawberry syrup and it was very good.
    posted by Ayn Rand and God at 11:55 AM on January 26, 2012


    I don't know why I thought they went together when I first typed it. The inclusion of batter wouldn't really change anything. I'm losing it, apparently.
    posted by ODiV at 11:55 AM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Now I'm getting hungry.
    posted by oddman at 11:57 AM on January 26, 2012


    "cobra poison
    cobra poison antidote
    cheese
    "

    but cobra poison and cheese? Not worth it
    posted by Blasdelb at 11:58 AM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    As any person who's ever been stoned should be able to tell you, sometimes you're hungry as hell and McDonald's cheeseburgers sound really good...

    Huh. Three is my standard portion, four can be done when I am feeling gluttonous. Five would push me over the limit.
    posted by Meatbomb at 12:03 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    bacon, cream cheese, and pineapple. Those were the worst Jalapeno poppers ever.
    posted by cmoj at 12:09 PM on January 26, 2012


    Or maybe more probably jalapenos cream cheese and pineapple. I'm not sure what the fatal flaw was there.
    posted by cmoj at 12:09 PM on January 26, 2012


    Yes, but "meat" is in your name. That's basically cheating.
    posted by oddman at 12:10 PM on January 26, 2012


    jalapenos cream cheese and pineapple

    That sounds like a fantastic spread.
    posted by oddman at 12:11 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Holy shit cmoj, I've got it, you were so close

    BACON, CREAM CHEESE, ONION
    posted by Blasdelb at 12:12 PM on January 26, 2012


    Is this "incompatible triad" dish something I'd need an exciting, well-paying, and legal job to understand?
    posted by Westringia F. at 12:13 PM on January 26, 2012


    Whisk(e)y, Beer, Lemon-Lime Soda.

    Jack & Sprite. Kind of boring, but palatable
    Boilermaker
    Shandy

    Anyone want to try all three?

    (Stolen from a wikipedia page, I think)
    posted by Hactar at 12:14 PM on January 26, 2012


    Bourbon
    Sex
    Regret
    posted by R. Schlock at 12:16 PM on January 26, 2012 [31 favorites]


    Seriously, I defy you to think of a non-raw food that is not improved by the judicious addition of butter.

    Pizza.

    And yes, I realize that Pizza Hut exists and that its recipe is apparently "buy pizza elsewhere, spread butter liberally, place in oven for a few more minutes," but it's not good.
    posted by The World Famous at 12:16 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    This guy has been thinking about it for 25 years, and you guys think you can come up with the answer, just like that. THE HUBRIS.
    posted by crunchland at 12:23 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    egg nog, rum, cake

    oh wait, Id eat it. Mmmm soggy eggnog rumcake.
    posted by ian1977 at 12:32 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Strawberry, Banana and Chocolate

    This is delicious.
    posted by valkyryn at 12:33 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    Metafilter: [Y]ou guys think you can come up with the answer, just like that. THE HUBRIS.
    posted by Mad_Carew at 12:34 PM on January 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


    At least as an approach to the problem, you could set up a site that let users decide if any two foods go together (sort of a Hot or Not thing), and then given enough data, find candidates for a triad. If you were clever enough it could also learn over time to help generate likely pairings. I don't think I'm clever enough, but I'll bet someone is.
    posted by OverlappingElvis at 12:34 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Bagels
    Capers
    Encylopedia Brown
    posted by ian1977 at 12:35 PM on January 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


    First rank good guys
    Second rank good guys
    The Ring of Sauron
    posted by R. Schlock at 12:36 PM on January 26, 2012


    (It's funny because Sam Gamgee)
    posted by R. Schlock at 12:37 PM on January 26, 2012


    Ham. Cheese. Bread.
    posted by Thorzdad at 12:38 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Molé is a really funny word to say out loud. What a fortunate misspelling, a combination of mole and olé.

    Here we have curry (boring) and here we have bbq sauce (boring) and here we have Molé (exciting!).

    Some of the best mole I've ever had had just enough sugar to leave a spicy, bittersweet aftertaste,


    That's seriously how everyone I've ever heard pronounce it has pronounced it, as [Moe-lay] also the mole on the end of guacomole tends to get pronounced the same way by people I know. I know now that it's from the Nahuatl molli, but I don't have the faintest idea how that is pronounced. I think I just assumed a Spanish derivation from the pronunciation I've heard, and back figured the spelling/accent. So it's actually pronounced something like an Anglo like me would pronounce the name Molly? Or what?
    posted by BrotherCaine at 12:42 PM on January 26, 2012


    Mole (no accent) is properly pronounced MOE-leh. "Molé" would be "moe-LAY!"

    And ian1977, you're right! The Case of the Time Capsule had a horrible solution!
    posted by darksasami at 12:51 PM on January 26, 2012


    Yeah, mole is a Mexican word with native background. Olé is a Spanish word. The two must not be combined or confused.

    Mo has an o sound like not, and le has an e sound like ledge.
    posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:53 PM on January 26, 2012


    Mole (no accent) is properly pronounced MOE-leh. "Molé" would be "moe-LAY!"

    No, not moe, just mo, it's a short o, like I said, sounds like the o in not.
    posted by CrazyLemonade at 12:54 PM on January 26, 2012


    Eggs
    Chocolate
    Bacon

    Eggs+Chocolate = chocolate souffle
    Eggs+Bacon = Breakfast
    Chocolate+Bacon = Delicious

    Eggs + Chocolate + Bacon = ?

    Oh yeah, chocolate chip and bacon cookies. CURSES!
    posted by hillabeans at 12:56 PM on January 26, 2012


    No one is going to believe me, but this was scientifically tested at open bar at the late, lamented DC Tracks:

    gin, Miller Lite, lime

    Gin and Miller is not great, but definitely drinkable...until you add that lime...
    posted by JoanArkham at 12:59 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    All of the native Mexican Spanish speakers in my family say "moe" for the first syllable. But then they're probably not the type who would go out of their way to pronounce "crêpe" as "chhep" instead of "crape", for example.
    posted by darksasami at 1:09 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Orange juice, tomatoes, and poo
    posted by gonna get a dog at 1:20 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I defy you to think of a non-raw food that is not improved by the judicious addition of butter.

    The canonical example is tea (does not apply in Tibet).
    posted by bonehead at 1:21 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Are you in the US, darksasami? Cause that might explain that pronunciation. Here in Mexico there are no "moe" pronunciations for any word that I know of.

    Also, while we're at it, there is no ñ in habanero. There is one in jalapeño, but just because they're both chiles doesn't mean they're pronounced the same.

    sorry, pet peeve
    posted by CrazyLemonade at 1:22 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Holy crap, Muenster ranks up there with DURIAN and HOT APE BRAINS as a horrifying food that one must be indoctrinated at birth to enjoy? I mean, it's just a semi-soft cheese... it's not even stinky! Asiago or something similarly semi-common but.. fragrant, I could understand. But poor li'l Muenster?

    Oh dude. Count yourself lucky that you don't know about the other kind. I worked at the deli counter in a grocery store that sold the stuff and my compatriot and I dared each other to try a piece after smelling it, long story short I ralphed in the trash can.
    posted by invitapriore at 1:27 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Neapolitan ice-cream?
    posted by cropshy at 1:38 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Prince Fielder
    Victor Martinez
    Miguel Cabrera

    Topical!
    posted by no regrets, coyote at 1:38 PM on January 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


    Just droppin' in because someone needs to show some love for the (most likely) originator of the puzzle, Wilfrid Sellars.
    posted by el_lupino at 1:41 PM on January 26, 2012


    I think we're talking past each other, CrazyLemonade. I think you're saying that "mole" should rhyme with "vale" in "no vale la pena" whereas I'm saying it rhymes with...well, I can't think of a rhyme, but the vowel sounds are the same as the "bolé" in "boléro" but with the accent on the o. Is that right?
    posted by darksasami at 1:45 PM on January 26, 2012


    For myself--tuna, mayo, and cheese. Any two of them, yes, but I dislike all 3 together.
    posted by Ardiril at 1:48 PM on January 26, 2012



    I came up with one:

    Cream
    Peaches
    Chicken


    Now hear me out.

    Peaches and Cream: Yum, in an old school way.
    Chicken and Cream: Rich entree. You can spice it up with garlic and it's super yummy.
    Chicken and Peaches: Think about it grilled, or with the Peaches as a chutney or salsa. Good right?

    Peaches, cream and chicken. Yuk

    Can I be on Chopped now?
    posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:55 PM on January 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


    AHHH! I GOT IT!

    Vanilla Ice Cream
    Ice Cold Coca Cola
    Salted Popcorn

    Vanilla Ice Cream + Coke = A delicious float.

    Vanilla Ice Cream + Salted Popcorn = An unusually good salty+sweet combo

    Coke + Popcorn = A good combo at the movies, even assuming a bit of a Janelli.

    ---and finally----

    Vanilla Ice Cream + Ice Cold Coca Cola + Salted Popcorn = A hellish murky straw-clogging snowglobe of soggy molasses sludge.


    QED.
    posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 1:58 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    gin, Miller Lite, lime

    Does it count when you use a non-food substance such as Miller Lite?
    posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:10 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Vanilla Ice Cream + Ice Cold Coca Cola + Salted Popcorn = A hellish murky straw-clogging snowglobe of soggy molasses sludge.


    Why are you allowing Janelli for Coke plus popcorn but not for popcorn plus an ice cream float?
    posted by Bookhouse at 2:16 PM on January 26, 2012


    Bookhouse -- because I have sensitive teeth, alright!
    posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 2:17 PM on January 26, 2012


    Accents in Spanish do not change the pronunciation of the vowel the way they do in French. They just indicate where the stress goes.

    Mole the food is pronounced MOle. Molé would be pronounce moLE.

    I just forwarded this problem to the chefs and cooks at the cafeteria. I expect some interesting food next week. Just today we had pistachio and peppercorn frozen yogurt.
    posted by Ayn Rand and God at 2:20 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I actually think I have a good solution to this:

    white chocolate
    caviar
    banana
    posted by yellowcandy at 2:27 PM on January 26, 2012


    I think Ruthless Bunny may actually be on to something there.
    posted by ook at 2:28 PM on January 26, 2012


    Orange juice, tomatoes, and poo
    posted by gonna get a dog at 1:20 PM on January 26


    No, please, leave the dog out of it.
    posted by chavenet at 2:30 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Peaches & Cream Chicken
    posted by chavenet at 2:31 PM on January 26, 2012


    Note that that recipe contains no cream or cream analogue.
    posted by ook at 2:36 PM on January 26, 2012


    I've been trying to come up with three things to contribute here, but so far I can't think of any and I've only managed to think of things to go throw into the vanilla ice cream that's in my freezer but I'm trying to avoid (supposedly on a diet). Effing diets.
    posted by CrazyLemonade at 2:45 PM on January 26, 2012


    Hervé This is awesome, definitely an appropriate name for Hart to have at the end of the page.
    posted by ethand at 2:57 PM on January 26, 2012


    Someone gave him a good answer on the site: salted cucumber, yogurt, sugar. Hart would not accept salt cucumber + yogurt as a good combination but it is. The person who sent in the combo mentioned tsatziki but just thinly sliced salted cucumber with yogurt is a great low-fat salad (also add some pepper, if you wish, celery seed, optional garlic). Add sugar= disgusting, but sugar+ salted cucumber = sweet pickles.
    posted by CCBC at 3:02 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    I actually add a pinch of sugar when I make tzatziki. The sourness of the yogurt and lemon juice tastes one-dimensional and overwhelming. Just a tiny bit of sugar really livens up the flavor.
    posted by TungstenChef at 3:07 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I think ricochet biscuit has landed on a winner, myself.

    Chocolate
    Garlic
    Bagel

    Chocolate-covered roasted garlic totally works; I've made it.
    Chocolate-chip bagels and garlic bagels, as mentioned, work, but like ricochet biscuit said, chocolate-and-garlic bagels would most likely fail.
    posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:12 PM on January 26, 2012


    Strawberries, lamb and balsamic vinegar? Nope, apparently that's a thing. This is hard.
    Cinnamon, pork and pickle?
    posted by lucidium at 3:15 PM on January 26, 2012


    Herve This is basically telling a mathematician he's a food noob. I love it.

    He is even wrong at the third paragraph. Yes, cooking is akin to chemistry, but taste is a sense. The impossibility proof becomes intuitive if you think about the problem in terms of colors.

    If you are a musician this is fairly obvious too.
    posted by polymodus at 3:22 PM on January 26, 2012


    Chocolate
    Garlic
    Bagel


    My SO's mom shipped us some chocolate chip cookies when we were in college, and they had the most peculiar taste that we could not place. It took some investigating to figure out what it was, but she finally remembered that she had made some garlic toast while she was making the cookies. Garlic, likely powdered. So yeah, this wins for me.
    posted by Big_B at 3:29 PM on January 26, 2012


    Chocolate-covered roasted garlic totally works; I've made it.

    Alright, I think we need to invoke the mefi recipe clause.
    posted by madcaptenor at 3:34 PM on January 26, 2012


    Cinnamon, pork and pickle?

    No. Cinnamon and pickle fails.
    posted by madcaptenor at 3:37 PM on January 26, 2012


    Not necessarily.
    posted by crunchland at 3:47 PM on January 26, 2012


    Cinnamon and pickle fails.

    I'm thinking like a chutney.
    posted by lucidium at 3:48 PM on January 26, 2012


    Whatever the solution to the problem is, it apparently does not involve mango. For the first few months of his solid-food-eating career, my son would only eat a new food if it was accompanied by mango. Spinach and mango. Mango and chicken. Spinach and mango and chicken. I drew the line at mango lasagna.
    posted by sonika at 4:26 PM on January 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


    What about unripe mango, eg as eaten in various asian cuisines?

    I'm picturing something as simple as blachan - green mango (or papaya) - plain rice.

    Blachan + rice could provide an OK economical meal, or using the shrimp paste as part of a sauce for the rice.

    Blachan & green fruit can be the basis of a salad, like a green papaya salad, spicy & sour with lime.

    Green fruit can also be curried & eaten with rice, but I'm not sure if blachan would be a tasty addition to that style of preparing the fruit.
    posted by UbuRoivas at 4:35 PM on January 26, 2012


    Mango would totally work in lasagna. Tomatoes are fruity, mangoes are fruity, and I think the mango would actually pair better with ricotta than tomato does, but that's just me. I think your kid is onto something; thanks for the idea.
    posted by heyho at 4:37 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    So given three foods, A, B, and C, find a combination such that A/B works, B/C works, and A/C, works, but the addition of C to A/B — which works by itself and is comprised of ingredients that both work with C — produces a non-working result.

    Doesn't this turn out to be a terrible, backwards version of rock-paper-scissors? "Rock ties with paper, paper ties with rock, scissors ties with paper. When you play all three at once, who loses?"

    Wait, what?
    posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 4:44 PM on January 26, 2012


    Fish with fennel, lentils, and mustard sauce, extreme together.
    posted by nims at 5:06 PM on January 26, 2012


    Here's another problem: are there three foods such that any two don't go together, but all three do?
    posted by madcaptenor at 5:14 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Peanut butter, chocolate, lime

    The existence of mole sauce handily rebuts h this one in a single stroke. Delicious, delicious mole.
    posted by Miko at 5:26 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Rice
    Beans
    Sugar

    Rice + Beans = Good
    Rice + Sugar = Rice Pudding
    Beans + Sugar = Baked Beans

    Rice + Beans + Sugar = WTF, WERE YOU HIGH!?
    posted by Malice at 5:27 PM on January 26, 2012


    Aren't baked beans good with rice?
    posted by The World Famous at 5:29 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I think the Japanese make sweet desserts that include beans and rice. I think there may be some possibilities with the strong aromas of fermented fish products (fish sauce, shrimp paste, and anchovies in particular) but I'm stumped trying to find a dessert ingredient that would taste good with them to begin with.
    posted by TungstenChef at 5:35 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]



    Aren't baked beans good with rice?


    No. But YMMV.
    posted by Malice at 5:39 PM on January 26, 2012


    Rice
    Beans
    Sugar


    = delicious ohagi
    posted by (alice) at 5:46 PM on January 26, 2012


    (Some more appetizing ohagi photos here.)
    posted by (alice) at 5:47 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Orange, chocolate, cloves.
    posted by oulipian at 5:51 PM on January 26, 2012


    Wow, I can't believe nobody has mentioned this but the obvious answer is chocolate, peanut butter and bananas.

    Fried Elvis with chocolate sauce.
    posted by LiteOpera at 6:09 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Also, banana sundaes or splits with peanut butter. Not uncommon in the least.
    posted by Miko at 6:26 PM on January 26, 2012


    Wasabi Peas, Vegemite and Nutella
    posted by Confess, Fletch at 6:32 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Solitaire
    Cigarettes
    Capt Kangaroo
    posted by ian1977 at 8:33 PM on January 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


    Orange, chocolate, cloves.
    Spiced shortbread-style cookies dipped in dark chocolate.
    posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 8:52 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Crab, tiger and almonds.
    posted by w0mbat at 9:12 PM on January 26, 2012


    Wasabi Peas, Vegemite and Nutella

    Ugh. Is any pair good?
    posted by leahwrenn at 9:12 PM on January 26, 2012


    "I don't know if Strawberry, Banana and Chocolate would taste good together as a trio or not. Has anyone tried this specific combo?"

    All are necessary for a banana split. Banana splits were the best thing soda fountains had on the menu. A peeled banana split in half lengthwise and placed in a long oval dish, three scoops of ice cream, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, add pineapple sauce, chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, a sprinkle of nuts, whipped cream and two cherries. You got two spoons and shared the dish with your friend. This was serious business.
    posted by Anitanola at 11:05 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Ad hominem: "I'm thinking you could make some seriously horrible combos with creme fraiche. That tart buttermilk flavor is so odd. I don't think it would go with bacon at all."
    Alsatian torte flambée / flammkuchen: thinly rolled "pizza" dough spread with creme fraiche, diced onion and diced bacon (or smoked ham). Tastes great.
    posted by brokkr at 11:42 PM on January 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


    I can't believe nobody has mentioned fox, chicken and wheat.
    (the animals should be served dead for better pairing)
    posted by iamkimiam at 12:08 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Fish fingers, custard, and I'll tell you the third one in 1944.
    posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:14 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


    Woah, WOAH. We used to play this game in the pub very often for a number of years, naturally, we thought we had invented it late some night after many drinks. Am tickled to see that it has quite some history.

    Our go-to first food was always Ice Magic (a hard chocolate topping you put on ice cream). And vinegar.
    posted by wingless_angel at 12:52 AM on January 27, 2012


    On a related note, I have a theory that foods can be sorted into two categories: those that are improved by the addition of chocolate, and those that are improved by the addition of garlic.

    I've always operated based on a similar theory, except my two categories are foods that taste good with chocolate and foods that taste good with ranch dressing.
    posted by Weeping_angel at 1:25 AM on January 27, 2012


    BACON, CREAM CHEESE, ONION

    That's almost carbonara sauce, French-style (cream cheese). True carbonara sauce, from the Rome area, uses pecorino cheese, which has a creamy taste. Break a fresh egg (one per person) in a bowl, add pecorino to about the same volume as the egg(s), season with ground black pepper to taste (the "carbon" part of carbonara). Cook up bacon bits and pasta. Dump hot bacon bits & drained pasta into bowl with the egg & pecorino sauce, mix slowly as the hot pasta and bacon cook the egg juuuust enough to create a creamy sauce. Eat, happily.

    I've known people who cook their bacon bits for carbonara with onion. Very good too. I'm glad I'll be having lunch in just over an hour.

    Here I can get organic chocolate bars with almonds, or cranberries, or lemon bits, orange bits... they're all good. I get a different one each week. Yum.

    I'm pretty sure there's a triad including "Roquefort" that would be eewwww, but I'm having a hard time getting past thoughts of delicious foods with Roquefort to imagine one...
    posted by fraula at 1:26 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


    This is the culinary equivalent of the Penrose triangle.
    posted by twoleftfeet at 1:33 AM on January 27, 2012


    Cream
    Lemon
    Avocado
    posted by talitha_kumi at 2:56 AM on January 27, 2012


    Here you go, madcaptenor:

    Mister Moofoo's Highly Experimental Chocolate-Covered Garlic:

    First, I should probably admit that it was sautéed garlic, not roasted.
    Second, it was made as an experiment while making chocolate-covered bacon.

    You'll need:
    Bacon (or bacon grease, but come on)
    Whole garlic (as much as you want, but at least one bulb)
    Darkium Chocolatium (I used Hershey's Special Dark Chips, because they're cheap, and chips melt really easily in the microwave. Use whatever dark chocolate you like, but remember: Dark.)
    Ancho chile powder
    Cinnamon
    Allspice

    Step 1: Peel your garlic. Use the smash-and-bowls method if you like, or take twenty minutes if you like.

    Step 2: Cook bacon in a frying pan, or whatever your preferred method is of acquiring bacon grease.

    Step 3: Sauté your whole garlic cloves in the bacon grease. The bacon grease might burn if your pan is super-hot (I wonder if it's possible to lower its smoke point by clarifying, like butter?).

    Step 4: When the garlic is that delicious golden-brown color, take it out of the pan, and let it dry on some paper towels.

    Step 5: Melt half a bag (or however much you want to make) of the chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave. Microwave for about a minute, stir, microwave for another minute, stir again. That should sufficiently melt your chocolate chips. If not, nuke 'em for another thirty seconds and stir again, repeating as necessary.

    Step 6: To the chocolate, add a half-teaspoon or less of ground cinnamon, twice as much ground allspice, and maybe half a tablespoon of ancho chile powder. You can mess around with the exact amounts. Stir.

    Step 7: Toss the garlic into the chocolate, and stir it up until all the garlic is coated.

    Step 8: Spread the chocolate-covered garlic out individually on some like parchment or wax paper or whatever. Maybe on one of those awesome candy-cooling tables, if you have one.

    I'm really not sure of the best proportions for how much chocolate to melt vs. how much garlic to cook, but a half a bag of chips will coat a LOT of garlic. You can refrigerate the excess chocolate to re-melt at a later time for whatever spicy-chocolate-covered stuff you can think of.

    (If you melted way too much chocolate, you can mix it up with a box of Golden Grahams and a can of chow mein noodles, and maybe some nuts, throw all that into a garbage bag with a shitload of powdered sugar, mash it around in the bag until all the big lumps are broken up and coated with powdered sugar, and voila! You've made garbage-bag candy!)

    posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:12 AM on January 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


    This thread is a pizza recipe goldmine!
    posted by srboisvert at 3:15 AM on January 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


    Also, if you're making garbage-bag candy, you can add a hefty dollop of your favorite peanut butter to the chocolate before you coat the cereal/noodles/nuts.
    posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:19 AM on January 27, 2012


    ice cream + banana + curry
    posted by Sutekh at 4:23 AM on January 27, 2012


    BACON, CREAM CHEESE, ONION

    This is a legitimate order at my favorite bagel place in NJ. You could do it with a slice of onion or an onion bagel.

    ce cream + banana + curry

    This just sounds good. Maybe ginger, cardamom, or vanilla ice cream with curry-dusted bits of fried banana.

    Cream
    Lemon
    Avocado


    Baked Halibut with Avocado Lemon Cream Sauce, among many others.

    This is a wicked hard game, y'all.

    We used to play this at a restaurant I worked in during dead hours.
    posted by Miko at 5:50 AM on January 27, 2012


    Sutekh: "154ice cream + banana + curry"

    Curry ice cream? No thanks.
    posted by brokkr at 6:03 AM on January 27, 2012


    I am here to say I would eat the hell out of some curry ice cream. Ooh, or curry fro-yo?
    posted by JoanArkham at 6:15 AM on January 27, 2012


    BACON, CREAM CHEESE, ONION

    I have always thought in the back of my mind 'bacon, cream cheese and onion'.
    posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:27 AM on January 27, 2012


    Mister Moofoo, that sounds amazing. How did you eat it? Did you sort of toss a handful into your mouth like chocolate-covered raisins? Or as a side? Sprinkled on a salad? The mind boggles!
    posted by fight or flight at 7:37 AM on January 27, 2012


    Don't start the whole carbonara thing again fraula!
    posted by asok at 8:36 AM on January 27, 2012


    Without mandating the proportion of ingredients be even this is a very, very tricky problem that may generate some interesting recipes in the mean time.
    posted by BrotherCaine at 2:39 PM on January 27, 2012


    Fight or flight, since it was an experiment, I only did about six or seven cloves of garlic. Pretty much treated them like pieces of candy, and since I made the choco bacon (and the choco garlic) for a party, I only ate like one of them.
    I really need to make it again.
    posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:56 PM on January 27, 2012


    avocado + blue cheese = Cobb salad
    shrimp + blue cheese = Buffalo Shrimp
    shrimp + avocado = "Boston" sushi roll

    shrimp + blue cheese + avocado = NONONONONO
    posted by argonauta at 4:14 PM on January 27, 2012


    shrimp + blue cheese + avocado = NONONONONO

    the stacked salad:
    constructed cobb salad with grilled chicken, red onion, bacon, blue cheese, baby spinach, avocado & sprouts, topped with a grilled shrimp

    I'm down.
    posted by Miko at 7:35 PM on January 27, 2012


    Smitten in San Francisco is selling 5 spice and banana ice cream this week. Soooo good.
    posted by Ayn Rand and God at 11:46 PM on January 27, 2012


    Someone gave him a good answer on the site: salted cucumber, yogurt, sugar. Hart would not accept salt cucumber + yogurt as a good combination but it is.

    Agreed, I think this is the best answer I've seen so far.
    posted by klausness at 3:53 PM on January 28, 2012


    I would like to amend my theory to state that foods can be sorted into those which are improved by the addition of sweet chocolate, and those which are improved by the addition of raw garlic.

    I would also like to share with you a recipe for chocolate-covered roasted garlic, which is not really adapted from Mister Moofoo's recipe. (But the existence of that recipe convinced me that this would be worth trying.)

    Without further ado, I give you

    MADCAPTENOR'S TWO-INGREDIENT CHOCOLATE COVERED ROASTED GARLIC

    Ingredients
    - 1 pound pre-peeled garlic cloves (which, incidentally, seem to be cheaper than the non-pre-peeled kind?)
    - 20 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (two bags; I used Ghirardelli, but this was mostly chosen based on amount of sugar.)
    - 1 banana

    Preparation
    Eat a couple cloves of garlic, raw. Realize this this feels like someone is kicking you in the stomach.

    Roast the garlic: take a big sheet of aluminum foil, put it on top of a baking sheet. Put the garlic on the foil. Toss with some olive oil and salt. (Olive oil and salt are not "ingredients" because you should have them anyway.) Wrap the foil around the garlic. Cook at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove, and let cool on wax paper.

    Put the chocolate in a saucepan on low until it melts. (If you're me, you turn it up a bit too high and it burns a bit, so be careful not to use the burnt bits.) Dip the garlic in the chocolate. Put on wax paper (different wax paper from the one you already used! the one you already used will be too oily!) and let cool. You might want to put them in the fridge, although probably not right away. Note that the author of this "recipe" doesn't really know what he's doing when it comes to covering things with chocolate, so you probably shouldn't take his advice.

    You have actually used too much chocolate. It would be a shame to waste chocolate. Stand over the stove with a banana in your hand and stick the end of the banana in the chocolate. Take a bite of the banana. Repeat until the banana is eaten.

    Serving suggestion

    Bring to a meetup. May or may not go well with gin.
    posted by madcaptenor at 4:01 PM on January 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


    And the burning is why I microwave the chocolate instead.
    posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:24 PM on January 28, 2012


    I thought about microwaving, but then I thought that it would be annoying if the chocolate un-melted if I didn't actually have it on a heat source, since covering eighty or so garlic cloves (the approximate number that's in a pound) takes a while. Of course, chocolate can be re-melted, so I shouldn't have worried about that.
    posted by madcaptenor at 5:25 PM on January 28, 2012


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