I’m not sure why, but the other day I found myself thinking about the different food combinations people enjoy eating, and just how weird some of them are.
For example, one of my friends in college used to mix Pepsi with black coffee. She said it tasted great, but I always suspected it was the extra jolt of caffeine she really liked. A few cups of that concoction and her eyes were the size of DVDs. The girl rarely slept.
But her cup of coffee wasn’t nearly as bad as my dad’s navy buddy’s. I’m not kidding, the guy used to pour ketchup into his.
Back when I was a kid, my friend Janet’s father used to make his favorite sandwich for lunch nearly every day. He would toss a lump of raw ground beef into a bowl and mix it with chopped onions, celery and mayonnaise, and then spread it on bread and eat it just like that…uncooked.
Everyone in Janet’s family was painfully thin, so I always suspected it was because they all had tapeworms from eating the father’s raw sandwich concoction.
I actually had an aunt who would have been a perfect match for him. Her favorite snack was raw bacon dipped in spicy mustard.
My late husband’s favorite sandwich honestly used to make me gag whenever I even got so much as a whiff of it – fried pork-liver slathered in mayonnaise. Part of the problem was I’ve always hated liver, no matter which critter donated it – a cow, chicken, pig, fish. Just say the word “liver” and my stomach starts feeling as if an Olympic gymnast is practicing her floor routine in it.
I didn’t take after my parents, that’s for sure. They loved calves’ liver, smothered in onions. I figured it was because onions were the only thing strong enough to kill the taste of the liver.
When I was growing up, my mother used to serve liver for dinner at least once a week, because she said it was a good source of iron. And every week, a battle would ensue because I’d refuse to eat it. She’d always try use the old guilt trip on me about starving children in Africa who would love to eat my plate of liver, to which I always replied, “Good! Then wrap it up and send it over to them!”
I also tried to convince her that instead of trying to force me to eat liver, she should just buy a cast-iron skillet and cook a bunch of pancakes in it for me. That way, I’d get my dose of iron when the pancake batter soaked up the iron from the skillet. For some reason, she never took my advice
Unfortunately, people’s strange tastes can ruin a good meal for others. I still can remember the summer my husband, my mother and I were invited to a Fourth of July barbecue. The burgers, which were at least two inches thick, looked juicy and delicious as they sizzled on the grill. My husband, whose favorite food in the world was cheeseburgers, practically needed a bib, he was drooling so much in anticipation of those burgers.
Just as they finally were about to be served, the hostess proudly announced, “These are my secret-recipe burgers. I won’t tell you what’s in them, but everyone back in my hometown in Canada raves about them, so I know you’ll love them, too!”
After the first bite, my mom and I were pretty sure the secret ingredient was birdseed. No kidding, we were picking seeds out of our teeth for the rest of the day. I think I recognized fennel and sesame seeds, but as far as trying to identify the other seeds, I had no clue. Whatever they were, they made the burgers taste just like licorice.
I spotted my husband, the self-proclaimed burger connoisseur, trying to look nonchalant, his hands holding his barely touched burger behind his back as he inched his way closer to the nearest trashcan. Then all the way home, he whined about how the hostess had ruined perfectly good meat.
When my cousin in Connecticut was a kid, he loved to munch on raw celery stuffed with chunky peanut butter. I never developed a taste for that combination. To me, peanut butter belonged with something sweet, like jelly or marshmallow fluff. And celery belonged with something unsweet like, well… cream cheese.
When I was in junior high, my friend Nancy used to snack on raw lemons sprinkled with salt, and my friend Sue’s favorite after-school snack was a big raw onion, which she would eat just like an apple, washed down with a glass of milk. Needless to say, she never had to worry about the boys at school trying to steal kisses from her.
My mom always preferred to put salt, not sugar, on her breakfast cereal. And a friend in Vermont used to put maple syrup on his pizza. He said the pepperoni acted like little cups and held the syrup nicely.
My grandmother had a strange food combination she convinced me to try when I was about five, and I actually liked it – Polish rye-bread spread with yellow mustard and then sprinkled with sugar. Surprisingly, it really was good.
My friend Gregg used to sprinkle packets of powdered chicken-broth over his popcorn, and my friend Chris loved Macadamia nuts in her mashed potatoes.
I’ve been sitting here trying to think of any weird food combinations I personally enjoy, but I honestly can’t think of anything out of the ordinary.
That is, unless you count putting nothing but V-8 juice on my baked potatoes.
How about you? I’d love to hear what your unusual food combinations are – strictly for research purposes, of course!
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