Hell in a bowl

I love Skittles and I love M&M’s, so it’s sad that I’ve had neither in 4 years, but whatever – I still remember the taste and texture. A Buzzfeed list of things I read today mentioned a party trick involving putting out a bowl of those two delicious treats together and waiting for someone to take a handful, haha. OH MY GOD NO. The thought of it makes me nauseated, I mean I felt an actual wave of sickness when I first contemplated the gustatory horrors of that mouthful of candy gone all wrong.

Even if you only eat one piece at a time, still, a Skittle followed by an M&M, when you’re expecting another Skittle: AWFUL. Sweet soft fruitiness interrupted by the arrival of crunchy chocolate: GROSS.

It’s like when you pick up a glass of clear beverage that you think is your Sprite and it’s really your friend’s water, or vice versa. Maybe you love Sprite and you love water, but having expectations crushed right there in your mouth is never cool.

But mostly what freaks me out is not the sequential sampling but the concurrent combination of flavors and textures, of which the Skittle/M&M pairing would be an abomination. I’ve never been a believer in the idea that if you like this food and you like that food, then you should like them together. A few years ago when my parents were visiting, Mom and I began raving about chocolate-covered raisins. Dad asked if I’d ever had chocolate-covered grapes, and I said no because I wouldn’t like that, and he wondered if I realized raisins are in fact dried grapes, and I said yes but they’re different, and he said “sure, they’re different, but they’re also the same, even while they’re different, because they’re fundamentally the same, and if you like raisins in chocolate then you should like grapes in chocolate because there’s no difference and besides, you like grapes, so what’s the problem?” and soon he and Mom and I were all laughing so hard that we almost had to lay on the floor and call for an ambulance but we didn’t because the paramedics would have thought we were high.

Anyway, Dad argued that any two foods you like separately, you could enjoy together, with which I vehemently disagreed and provided several examples, but he won rhetorical advantage when he pointed out that I’d never actually tried any of those combinations so how did I know? Fair play, but nonetheless I’ve spent the last few years thinking up combos of my favorite foods and drinks that would not be enjoyable no matter how hungry or drunk (or both) I was, such as:

- tomatoes and grape jelly
- shrimp dipped in melted queso
- steak and peanuts
- corn with orange juice
- smoked chicken and bananas
- scrambled eggs and ice cream
- chicken pot pie with a side of guacamole
- roasted bell peppers and lemon cheesecake
- strawberries dipped in sour cream
- grilled salmon and coffee
- grilled onions and Honey-Nut Cheerios

How dare you, sir.

But I should admit that living in Italy has brought certain new taste combinations into my life that I never would’ve expected to tolerate, let alone love so much that I have dreams about them, like cantaloupe wrapped in prosciutto. The first time I saw that on a plate I giggled nervously and mumbled “ewww why?” Someone said, shut up and try it dumbass. I’ve never been the same since.

Also, hard cheeses dipped in fruit-flavored honey. Freakishly delicious. I know these concepts exist in America too; I just never encountered them enough there to try them.

But still. Certain individually-wondrous ingredients do not go together, ever, for any reason other than starvation or threats against your loved ones if you won’t comply.

The only exception is bacon. Bacon goes with everything. I’d even eat Skittles and M&M’s together if they were swaddled in a bacon wrap.

79 comments on “Hell in a bowl

  1. cliffelam

    Seriously you never had shrimp and cheese before? Lordy, cover a shrimp in cool queso, roll it in some crumbs, fry it up.

    We were making up “Elvis foods” one night and came up with that one.

    I wish I could remember the others, but there were adult beverages being consumed.

    -XC

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  2. Stephen Macklin

    I once brought a mixed bag of Skittles and M&Ms to a movie and ate them one at a time knowing that I had no idea what I was goiong to be getting next. It was a bit jarring at first but after a while, I was disappointed if I got too many of one in row!

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  3. katrina

    you really should rethink the strawberries and sour cream thing — dip the strawberry in the sour cream and then into just a little brown sugar. it was actually an old italian man who made me try it

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  4. Brocksdaddy

    Hello, again. I haven’t commented since before the haitus, but this reminded me of a story I just have to tell, confirming the fact that two things you like may not go well together.
    Several years ago, I was home alone one morning and decided to make omellettes. We had no ham, sausage, or bacon, however. What we did have was some leftover salmon from the night before.
    “Well,” says I, “I like salmon and I like omellettes, so this might be good.”
    Trust me when I say, good it was not.
    Sitting patiently next to me was my big fat Chocolate Lab, Brownie (PBUH).
    “Brownie will eat it. Brownie eats anything. Including snacks from the cat’s litter box if we don’t watch him. Probably good for him, t00–eggs, cheese, and salmon.”
    Brownie did indeed eat it.
    Then promptly threw up 2 large, steaming piles.
    As he gave me a withering look, I thought, “Congratulations, you made a dog throw up that like to eat cat turds.”

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  5. Overload in CO

    Isn’t the whole idea of a Fondue Party putting weird flavors together and see how they taste?

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  6. JPatterson

    Take grapes (red or white seedless); dust with instant strawberry Jello mix

    …Damn…

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  7. Tully

    I cling to the adage that there are two things that can improve almost any food, either one or the other or both.

    Chocolate, and BACON. If one doesn’t do it, the other probably will. Very few exceptions.

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  8. Laural H

    I agree with Katrina, strawberries dipped in sour cream and then in brown sugar are delicious. It’s one of our family’s favorite desserts.

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  9. Greg

    My personal food pyramid consists of two levels. The lowest, foundational level is, of course, bacon. The top level is non-bacons wrapped in bacon.

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  10. tiarosa

    The first time my husband ate Fritos with ice cream I thought he was crazy but it’s actually good.

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  11. jon spencer

    A odd combination that actually compliment each other.
    Braunschweiger and grape jelly on crackers.

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  12. JimW

    MMM, some of your recipe suggestions have got me salivating. Steak and peanuts – worth a try.
    I don’t know if there is any good way to tell what’s going to be good. I’ve been suprised enough times so I think you just have to get some sucker to try it for you.
    I always thought that the “don’t drink red wine with fish” thing was just snobbery until I took a mouthful of red after some mackerel pate. It tasted like sucking on battery terminals. A bit like drinking orange juice just after brushing your teeth with extra minty stuff.

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  13. Dougman

    “… but having expectations crushed right there in your mouth is never cool.”

    I’m not gonna touch that one.

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  14. Jared

    I like mustard. I like peanut butter. I’ve had a mustard and peanut butter sandwich (shut up, I was five) and they did NOT play well together.

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  15. TANSTAAFL

    Then there’s the things that go together. Orange juice w/ bacon and eggs. Beer w/ pizza. …….

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  16. rickl

    My dad used to say, “It all goes down to the same place.”

    One combination I like: Fritos dipped in peanut butter. It’s one of my favorite internet-surfin’ snacks. I use the Fritos Scoops, though, because regular Fritos aren’t strong enough. In addition, once the peanut butter jar is 1/3 empty, I need to take a knife and move the remaining peanut butter up to the top of the jar. This has the fortunate effect of making my dipping sessions self-limiting, since by the time I’ve used up the peanut butter near the top of the jar, I’ve had enough.

    That bacon gif is going to give me a seizure.

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  17. Ryan

    That M&M and Skittles thing is like drinking a beer while also chewing tobacco (it’s an art), and when you go to take a swig of beer you accidentally grab the spit bottle.

    That’s a mistake you only make once.

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  18. Jeffro

    One of my buddies introduced me to the peanut butter, Miracle Whip and sliced dill pickle sammich. I figured he was some sort of deranged heretic, but it really is pretty good! Surprised the h. e. double toothpicks outta me!

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  19. Libby

    That bacon looks good, but…might you have a recipe for making it :-)
    Mixing M&M’s w/skittles is a crime against nature. And just plain mean.

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  20. Rich Jordan

    Beer and Twinkies (PBUThem).

    And since we were far from wealthy, we’re talking Coors and Hamms here.

    As far as a non-bacon combination that truly excels…. sweet orange jelly or preserves wrapped in chocolate; Sweet’s orange sticks or even the ‘orange slice’ candy sandwiched between Hershey bar pieces… mmmmmm

    And for dinner tomorrow we’re having bacon wrapped chicken thigh meat on skewers cooked in a cast iron dutch oven ;)

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  21. David

    Cinnamon Chicken.
    Pepsi and Capt Crunch.

    Don’t ask…

    I don’t really care for peanut M&Ms but really like dry roasted peanuts and regular M&Ms mixed together.

    And now I have to run for my life because my teen daughter is having a bunch of friends over tonight and I added a bag of skittles to the bowl of M&Ms that is sitting on the kitchen counter…

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  22. Tazio

    Dammit. Now all I can think about is scrambled eggs and ice cream. brb.

    And I can pretty much guarantee you’d like smoked chicken and bananas. One of my favorites is smoked chicken with strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

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  23. ech

    I really, really like peanut butter and mayo sandwiches. Sometimes with thinly sliced apple on it. My grandmother introduced me to it when I was young.

    As for shrimp in queso, that’s not far off of some classic shrimp dishes. Shrimp are one of the few seafoods that Italians will put cheese on. (It’s a big no-no in classic Italian food to put cheese on seafood.)

    Most of your list are things that don’t go well due to contrasts in flavor profile, textural clashes, etc.

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  24. Jennifer

    Whoever said no cinnamon & chicken together has never eaten moroccan food. B’stillas – chicken pies wrapped in puff pastry – have both cinnamon and sugar mixed in with the chicken. The one I had was sprinkled with powdered sugar on top. It was weird at first to taste a sweet meat pie, but once you get over the jarring experience you realize how tasty it is!

    I think the “weird” combinations are like eating tripe. It’s a cultural thing that makes your brain say “yea” or “nay” at first; but if you can hush your lifetime of cultural expectations and really just _taste_ things, you’ll be very surprised about what you do and do not want to eat.

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  25. Simon Jester

    This thread reminded me of this.

    And:

    scrambled eggs and ice cream

    - combine with bacon to get this. (Best served with orange marmalade, according to the link.)

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  26. Simon Jester

    I love Skittles and I love M&M’s, so it’s sad that I’ve had neither in 4 years

    Why not?

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  27. Pete

    In 1960, the best restaurant in Charleston, WV served filet mignon covered in peanut butter. It was very popular. I never tried it.

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  28. og

    I absolutely love skittles and m&m’s. When I was a kid, “Tootsie pop drops” were all the rage, and the mixture of skittles and m&m’s reminds me of that. I don’t eat either that often, but when I eat either, I eat both.

    I am the opposite; I try things together to see how they are. Marmite on twinkies? Not great, but not horrible. Marmite as a rub for porkchops? Awesome. Also, porkchops marinated in orange juice? incredible. Bacon? Get a cake/cookie drying rack and put strips of crisp cooked bacon on it, sprinkle brown sugar and bake until the brown sugar melts, then pull out of the oven to cool. If you like, dip the resultant candied bacon in chocolate. Then crumble over ice cream. Or put in cookies.

    I love to try new and unusual food combinations. If you can get past your “Knowledge” of what “Must” taste awful together, and let your taste buds educate you, you can have a good deal of fun. Someone had to put corn chips and cheese together once, and that person was surrounded by people who, no doubt, said “EEEEEWWWWWW!” And chocolate on grapes is teh awesum. Try getting your hands on some huge blackberries and dipping them in chocolate and filling them with cream. Then try the same with a hollowed out cherry tomato. Surprising.

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  29. Karen Blake

    @Tazio: Sounds good to me; I love strawberries with balsamic vinegar! Anything smoked (like, say, bacon) would be amazing with that. Mmm, breakfast of champions. Damn, if I weren’t snowed in I’d go buy strawberries.

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  30. Tully

    Since peanut butter and BACON keep popping up, a nod for the BLT with chunky peanut butter. Surprisingly edible. Personally I prefer my BLT with avocado slices instead of mayo.

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  31. Tully

    Oh, and my dad used to insist that scrambled eggs and omelots needed catsup. Which I never understood until he cooked breakfast for us once, and catsup on eggs suddenly made sense.

    He was a really lousy cook.

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  32. Amelia in Texas

    Ok, Rachel. WAY TO RUIN MY MORNING ROUTINE!

    I eat my breakfast and check your blog. It’s what I do in the morning. So I’m sitting eating my cereal and oh boy! a new post! Whee! Topic’s kinda eww, but I keep reading. Before I’m halfway through the comments I’m feeling sick. I put my cereal down. Don’t want it anymore. Trying to eat while reading about these revolting combinations is an exercise in inducing nausea.

    This post should have come with a warning. Do not read this while eating!

    I’ll come back later.

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  33. Razi

    Rachel: “having expectations crushed right there in your mouth is never cool.”

    “And she’s never coming back!”

    Brocksdaddy: “I like salmon and I like omellettes, so this might be good. Trust me when I say, good it was not.”

    Smoked salmon or lox, on the other hand…

    Tully: “my dad used to insist that scrambled eggs and omelots needed catsup”

    Huevos rancheros, shakshouka…

    Simon: “Not enough bacon.”

    “I’m having bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon bacon eggs bacon bacon bacon and bacon!”
    ‘Too much eggs.’

    I was skeptical when I was advised to season chestnuts with both salt and cinnamon. Worked out quite well.

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  34. Amelia in Texas

    I came back, but I regret it.

    @Tully:

    Since peanut butter and BACON keep popping up, a nod for the BLT with chunky peanut butter. Surprisingly edible. Personally I prefer my BLT with avocado slices instead of mayo.

    Reading that made me literally shudder. Full on, whole-body shudder.

    Why yes, yes I am a wuss.

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  35. Ernie G

    That brings back old memories. Back when I was an undergraduate, we would take the subway to Harvard Square, and eat at Elsie’s Sandwich Shop. She made sandwiches to order, and one classmate always got a peanut, bacon, and sardine. I forget what kind of bread.

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  36. Tully

    @Razi: I like heuvos rancheros. I just finished a ham/baconbit/cheese omelot with my homemade red salsa on top, shoveled in on fresh warm flour tortillas. But when my dad cooked eggs, catsup was there because he thought scrambled eggs of any variety were supposed to be (to be kind) overdone.

    @Amelia in Texas: Well, I should have specified the crunchy peanut butter is replacing the mayo. Because putting both on a BLT is just WRONG.

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  37. Razi

    Tully: “he thought scrambled eggs of any variety were supposed to be (to be kind) overdone.”

    Razi for the defence, M’lud. Could it be that the defendant saved money by buying non-fresh eggs, and then made sure they were at least well done in order to avoid negative health consequences?

    Humor aside, I have known people to be somewhat phobic about salmonella in eggs and thus overcook them.

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  38. Mark E

    You can get M&Ms in several stores in Frankfurt on a regular basis. I’ve also seen them in Brussels.

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  39. Rachel Lucas Post author

    Some of the things you guys are describing are making me a little dizzy. Especially @Brocksdaddy‘s salmon omelettes. MY GOD, MAN. I’m not surprised your dog barfed it. Ewwwwww.

    As for @Tully: Ha! We actually put ketchup/catsup (which is an interesting thing to discuss, how should it be spelled?!) on our scrambled eggs when I was a kid. Yum! I don’t do it now because I discovered salsa (or just straight-up chopped tomatoes and onions) as a topping years ago.

    Hey whoever’s still reading this, what are your thoughts on Tabasco? Do you believe I have never tasted a drop of it in my life? Well I kept reading about the wonders of this sauce (also of Sriracha, which I have also never had) so I decided to get some when I was at the store yesterday. Woulda gotten Sriracha too but they didn’t have it. And the Tabasco, along with my beloved Worcestershire, was in the “exotic/international foods” section, hahaha. Anyway – any suggestions on what to put Tabasco on? I’m feeling adventurous.

    @Simon Jester: The lack of these delicious treats for the last 1.5 years is because I’ve never seen Skittles in Italy, and M&M’s only some places. As for 2.5 years before that in your lovely U.K., even though I did see both candies around, I stopped buying stuff like that immediately because I was so traumatized by the increased grocery costs. The first time we went grocery shopping in England was like a kick in the pants, especially when it came to convenience foods and treats, and that’s why I learned how to cook everything from scratch, to save money. And I just sorta naturally stopped ever buying any kind of candy because of the general lifestyle change. But, generally, the main reason I haven’t had candy in the last 4 years is because frankly, the main reason I ever had it in America was because it was everywhere in my face all of the time relentlessly. Everybody’s house has a bowl of candy, every office a bowl of candy, every checkout line at every store lined with canyons of candy. As you know, it’s just not like that over here. You have to actually make a point to seek out candy here. The only places I see candy in bowls in Italy is at the hotel reception counter, and at the grocery checkout there’s maybe two tiny shelves of treats (including M&M’s but damn they’re like one euro for a tiny bag, screw that).

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  40. Brocksdaddy

    I could long expound on my opinion of Tabasco, and how my dad and I have had disagreements on its value; however, I think I’ve brought my culinary judgement into question with my previous post to such an extent that anyone would be hesitant to agree with me, so I’ll defer.

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  41. rickl

    I’m not a military veteran, but I’ve read that MREs contain miniature bottles of Tabasco, and the soldiers put it on pretty much everything. Because flavor.

    I’ve used it in scrambled eggs and rice, but not since I learned to make rice pilaf.

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  42. Tully

    @Razi: Nope, he was just raised that way AND was a lousy cook who thought scrambled eggs were supposed to be dry with bits of leathery brown.

    @Rachel Lucas: any suggestions on what to put Tabasco on?

    Damn near everything, depending on your mood. On scrambled eggs is good … :) As for dad, maybe it was a hickbilly thing. Because even if he did end up with a couple of doctorates and a professorship, he was certainly raised as a farm-country redneck. But he was still a lousy cook. Burnt scrambled eggs were his BEST dish. OK, and burnt bacon. Didn’t mind that so much because, well, BACON.

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  43. Will

    I love Tabasco sauce on over-easy eggs. Mix a drop or two into the yolk and start dipping. It’s also delicious on pizza. Everything cajun works with Tabasco, of course: jambalaya, gumbo, etouffee, red beans and rice, etc. I like mixing a bit into my ketchup with a burger or meatloaf.

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  44. Razi

    “any suggestions on what to put Tabasco on”

    ??? I wasn’t aware Tabasco was used for anything other than Bloody Marys.

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  45. Physics Geek

    @Rachel Lucas:

    Anyway – any suggestions on what to put Tabasco on?

    I see that Tully beat me to it. I’ve put Tabasco on just about everything.

    Speaking of barf-worthy, at our Governor’s School reunion, some of my former orchestra mates had I and two others try one of their staples from our summer of love excessive geekdom: Ritz crackers with peanut butter and ketchup. It didn’t taste awful. Rather, it was bizarre. You didn’t some weird flavor combination. Instead, you tasted each thing individually at the same time.

    And why yes, the former orchestra mates were of the female persuasion. Why do you ask?

    Larry Miller had it right years ago. He said that men will accept anything, do anything if the last words they hear are “… and the you meet women. ‘So I’ve on the lion’s back, right, and I’m slapping on the face. I can see how that would make it make. And I keep pulling on it’s mane like this. And then I meet women? Where’s the lion? Is he here?’”

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  46. Razi

    pg: “it was bizarre. You didn’t some weird flavor combination. Instead, you tasted each thing individually at the same time.”

    Reminds me of Vanilla Coke. Intriguing premise, but the flavors just didn’t blend for me.

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  47. ech

    @rickl I’m not a military veteran, but I’ve read that MREs contain miniature bottles of Tabasco, and the soldiers put it on pretty much everything. Because flavor.

    It was also popular on the space shuttle and on the International Space Station. One of the side effects of being in microgravity is that fluid that is normally pulled down to the legs by gravity gets redistributed all over, including the head. This leads to clogged sinuses and interferes with the the sense of taste, which depends on smell, both through the nose and sinus passages from the back of the mouth. Tabasco acts as flavor booster and sinus clearing tonic.

    I’ve started using Cholula sauce in place of Tabasco. Better flavor.

    @razi I use Tabasco, horseradish, Worchestershire sauce, catsup, garlic powder, and a couple of other secret ingredients to make red sauce for shrimp cocktails. I scramble it into eggs. I put it on french fries. It goes in soup and stews. It makes many savory items better if they need a jolt.

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  48. Lilya

    My parents are extremely puzzled by the fact I don’t like rice salad: as they often point out, it does have all sort of ingredients I love – tuna, hard boiled egg, mushrooms, cheese… The problem here is the cold rice: I just can’t stand the texture. Same story with pasta salads.

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  49. Lilya

    I forgot to add, the only recipe we have for chili calls for tabasco. I can’t remember seeing it anywhere else, but I’ll tell Luca to try it with his eggs.

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  50. VictoriaK

    Lilya, I hear you. No rice salad or pasta salad for me, either.

    Husband eats boxed macaroni and cheese with canned tuna and catsup when I’m not around to cook. Yet he thinks my putting a Hershey’s chocolate bar square on a saltine is gross.

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  51. Amelia in Texas

    @Lilya: Huh. Learn something new every day. I’ve never heard of rice salad. It sounds revolting for the very reason you give: cold rice.

    I was the kid who would get all bent out of shape if my foods touched (mashed potatoes touching corn touching meat?? NO NO NO). In my view, one food could contaminate another by mingling with it.

    I still don’t like it, but I cope in socially acceptable ways now.

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  52. Vivian Louise

    Banana Ketchup. Srsly. On Pried Chicken
    I found some banana ketchup on Amazon. It is actually really tasty. On grilled chicken it’s amazing.

    Mushrooms are my downfall – the their texture is pretty much the worst thing on the planet. I can barely gag it back. However, when I was in Lithuania, the ladies there made this mushroom dish with gobs of butter, bacon and sour cream that is then poured over boiled potatoes. I ate the hell out of that. I think it was the porcini that made the difference. Plus the butter, bacon and sour cream. The best part of the whole experience was going out into the woods and hunting the mushrooms ourselves. Honestly, that day is in my top 5 days EVER. Fantastic experience.

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  53. JimW

    There is one flavour that I have not seen come up yet but would go so well with so many things,so I’ll just seed your imaginations with this thought.
    Licorice and …

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  54. JimW

    @Morris

    Licorice is fine on it’s own, Jim..

    Yep, so imagine how awsome it would be with bacon. Could really top off a salmon omlette as well!
    Had licorice ice cream once. I think that was in Italy.

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  55. pinball

    @ Jim W: Probably anise or fennel in Italy. But Ive seen Licorice ice cream ere too. Black. Turns kids’ mouths and faces black.

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