What's Your Favorite Crazy Flavor Combination?
We asked for it, and you delivered, with gusto, the wackiest flavor combos you crave. Some pairings were surprising, to say the least (shaved ice with sliced avocado and chocolate sauce on top? Really, Shannon Wahyudi?), but some sounded pretty good to us, like Tracy Schadler's salami and honey-walnut cream cheese on rye sandwich, Sara Beth Hanson's gouda, pear and anchovy on a Triscuit idea, or Mary Jefferson Rabon's pancakes and syrup served with a side of cheddar. A few were quite simple, Larry Marshall's favorite, for example: Hershey bars and beer. More still were elaborate -- Donna Malarsie offered up her (healthy) crave-worthy recipe: Quinoa with feta, toasted almonds, orange pieces and dried cranberries tossed with a shallot, dijon, olive oil, lemon dressing, and Bill Hughes made us drool a bit thinking of his Smoked Coffee and Mignonette Pepper-Crusted Leg of Lamb.
The most important thing we learned from our little query, however, is that you guys will mix peanut butter, bacon or mayo with anything. (Some even suggested a combo of those 3.) Peanut butter with pickles, PB with cheese, PB and mayo or Miracle Whip sandwiches, peanut butter on cold chicken (this one I can stand behind). And mayo -- why is mayo so popular? Can someone explain? Mayonnaise and baked bean sandwiches, PB&J with mayo and pickles, mayonnaise on crackers, mayo on canned pears, a dill pickle, peanut butter, banana and mayo sandwich . . . I could go on but I'm feeling a little ill . . . so on to bacon. As Joyce George points out, chocolate and bacon was once considered an unusual pairing, but now it's a red-hot food trend, so how can you tell what's crazy and what's trendy? We're not sure what the next big thing is, but we do know that you love bacon cupcakes, bacon brownies, bacon ice cream, zucchini with bacon, crab and bacon sandwiches, bacon and peanut butter sandwiches, bacon and pickles, bacon and raspberry jam, bacon with pickled watermelon . . . it seems you all agree: Everything's better with bacon.
I didn't stop at Facebook though, I also did some old-fashioned investigating to find out what kind of motley mixtures my co-workers were into. When I asked around Food Network's headquarters, I discovered that Bob Madden, General Manager of our digital department, loves french fries dipped in a Wendy's frosty, Julia Simon, Interactive Planning Manager here in NY blames her love of popcorn topped with nutritional yeast on her hippie parents, Online Editor Don Berry likes his french toast smeared with peanut butter and maple syrup, and when Grant Dudley, Interactive Planning Manager based in Knoxville, TN, is at home, he often whips up a childhood favorite: ketchup and cheese on toast (microwaved to melt the cheese). And my favorite? Fakin' Bacon and almond butter on whole wheat toast. Don't knock it till you've tried it. The most interesting though, was Katherine Alford's list of combos. She's the Food Network Test Kitchen VP, so it was cool to see how her tastes inspire the recipes she creates. For example, she was behind the Siberian Husky dogs in the July/August issue of Food Network magazine. She's also crazy for blue cheese and pumpkin, watermelon and feta, curry shortbread, peaches and tomato, pasta with apples and tomatoes, endive and bananas and fried grasshoppers and guacamole ( what?). I can't wait to see the recipes these cravings inspire. Except the grasshopper and guacamole, of course.