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Food/Flavor pairing: Science? Luck? Geography?


umami5
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I filled out the survey - note that it forces you to choose one of the named options even when you want to fill out Other, so twice I had to pick one of the checkboxes and then point out that I wasn't actually selecting it under Other.

What struck me was the lack of Mediterranean flavor combinations... lemon, thyme, olive oil, rosemary...

Hi Patrickamory,

I hadn't realized that but 1 or 2 people did use the same method to highltight that error to me.

I wanted to avoid highlighting any one particular regions food pairings through the survey so I did keep it to basic flavour pairings, although thyme and olive oil were a selection in different questions and the option of other was intended for respondents to express a persons personal tastes and cultural preferences.

Thanks for the help

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At one extreme, food pairings come from an unfortunate collision between France's culinary genius and their penchant for bureaucracy. They laid down rules so that even miserable cooks could produce appropriately conventional results. One cannot think clearly about food pairings until one is free from these yokes. The idea that there is a "food pairing" body of knowledge is the unfortunate spawn of this collision.

At the other extreme, the new world Three Sisters of corn, beans, and squash were not only a beautiful example of companion planting, but of nutritional complementarity: The corn lacked lysine and tryptophan, which the beans provided. When corn made it's way to Italy, without this pairing, people died from niacin deficiency.

Speaking of life and death, the Catholic pairing of wine with wafers made from wheat is an odd one, particularly considering the modern Catholic grip on Latin America. Corn tortillas should be seen as the most religious form of "bread", with corn and lye another survival pairing. Until the invention of masa, new world inhabitants died when their teeth wore out. So what that undercooked masa tastes a bit like wet cement. That flavor pairing used to scream "Dang! It's good to be alive!"

Per la strada incontro un passero che disse "Fratello cane, perche sei cosi triste?"

Ripose il cane: "Ho fame e non ho nulla da mangiare."

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At one extreme, food pairings come from an unfortunate collision between France's culinary genius and their penchant for bureaucracy. They laid down rules so that even miserable cooks could produce appropriately conventional results. One cannot think clearly about food pairings until one is free from these yokes. The idea that there is a "food pairing" body of knowledge is the unfortunate spawn of this collision.

Hi Syzygies,

You have made some very interesting points. I wouldn't see the collision of "France's culinary genius and their penchant for bureaucracy" as unfortunate but rather the opposite. I am looking at the idea that the foods were paired together for a reason, back then they just "went" together or "worked well" together, but is there an actual scientific reason behind these pairings? Can we show that the "rules" laid down were actually right because of any scientific justification?

I want to know the scientific reasoning for food pairings, not set down by any institution, foods you would never consider pairing, "I would never have thought of that" kind of combinations.

Like the idea of nutritional complementarity is something that science proved, after the body had discovered it.

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Thanks for the info rgruby (Geoff)

I have looked into most of those publications but I haven't seen the Lucky Peach article or the piece on synthetic flavours that you mention. I will certainly look into these.

Thanks again

Cheers

Hmmm. Upon reflection, might not be Lucky Peach. Just know it is something I read in the not too distant past. Fast Food Nation maybe?

Cheers,

Geoff

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