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Apr 25, 2013 03:35 PM

Foods Together: My Way or the Highway

Some people evidently feel that certain foods MUST be eaten together ALL OF THE TIME. My parents are a great example of this. Chili HAS to be eaten with saltines (called soda crackers by them), ham and beans MUST be consumed with cornbread, and eggs CANNOT be consumed unless toast is present. "Mom, are you going to have eggs for breakfast tomorrow?" "I CAN'T!" "Why not?" "I'm out of bread!"

For just a few examples.

I once served chili with cornbread to my parents. I think they came close to having me arrested! It was so funny; they were incredulous that I would do such a thing.

I happen to like variety; I don't think I've served two exactly the same meals in my entire life!

Anyone else out there have this type of quirk?

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  1. Since I use crackers as my spoon to eat chili, I would have had you run out and get me crackers. I do love me some cornbread on the side though.

    1. Growing up, my mother always, and I mean always, served applesauce with pork chops. I thought there was a law mandating this combination. This is the only obligatory pairing that I remember.

      When I was beginning to have some kitchen curiosity, I asked about putting bacon strips over the breast of a roasting chicken, explaining that it would 'self-baste' and add flavor. Her answer was that "they don't go together".

      5 Replies
      1. re: Sherri

        Did we have the same mother, Sherri? Did yours spice the applesauce? Mine put ground cinnamon and clove, and heated it up.

        Baked chicken,( glass baking dish filled halfway up the chicken with a combo of cheap dry sherry, a chicken cube and a cup of water). Always served with frozen broccoli and brown rice, boiled in lots of water, then drained. The clear chicken juice was really good on the rice.

        The first time I made chili for my parents (my mother never made it), my dad asked where the saltines were!

        Clam chowder had to have buttered Pilot crackers, heated in the oven.

        B&M canned baked beans and B&M canned brown bread always with coleslaw.

        Ham always had cornbread (Jiffy).

        1. re: Sherri

          Oh, always cooked apples or applesauce with pork chops.

          And, oh yeah, the phrase "they don't go together"......

          My mom says that all the time about perfectly normal dishes that she has never tried.

          1. re: Sherri

            My mom too re the applesauce/pork chops.

          2. I love this topic! I think I do this sometimes but nothing as extreme. For example, whenever I have chili I seek out cornbread. I don't have to have it and can eat them separately and would if I were served them separately. I have definitely had cornbread with BBQ which didn't include chili but I always seem to only think about it at home when I have chili. Other than that, nothing in particular but am interested in other responses to this question.

            My mother is not as extreme but we will discuss cooking and I'll mention something like oh I like asparagus with parmesan and she'll respond "oh no I don't have parmesan" and think it's ludicrous when I mention that she can toss any cheese she likes on there with the assurance "if you like it, it's fine." She will stand with mouth wide open in aghast that you could do that...

            1. Canned oysters must be eaten as part of an omelet.

              1. Despite the fact that I care about foods quiet a bit (I like to think so), I am very relax in term of food pairing compared to others too. Kind of odd if you think about it.

                Anyway, I do know certain ingredients are viewed to be important or essential, so I think these will fit your bill. For example, many people believe butter and lobster must go together, while many Chinese believe garlic and lobster go together. For me, I really like oyster sauce with Chinese broccoli. Not always, but more than 90% of the time.


                I also think barbecue pork should be consumed with sweet tea (although sweet tea does not have to be consumed with barbecue).

                I think I can go on and on, but I am not sure if I am actually answering your question.