Classic Food Combinations & Their Origins
Some foods are just meant to go together.
• Bacon and Eggs: At one time, Americans just ate toast for breakfast. Then along came Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays in the 1920s and 1930s. In order to promote sales of bacon, he conducted a survey of physicians and reported their recommendation that people eat hearty breakfasts. He sent the results of the survey to 5,000 physicians, along with publicity touting bacon and eggs as a hearty breakfast.
• Butter and Popcorn: Popcorn was originally discovered by the Native Americans. Popcorn became increasingly popular during the Great Depression because it was relatively cheap, and its use eventually became popular in movie theaters. (Ironically, cheap is the last word you associate with movie popcorn).
• Salt and Pepper: The combination of salt and pepper dates back to seventeenth century French cuisine, as it was thought that pepper was the only spice which did not overpower the natural taste of the food. All foods can be better with a little bit of salt and pepper. On their own both pepper and salt can be used in savory and sweet cooking – and in combination they can convert something bland into something wonderful.
• Burger and Fries: Although French fries may date back to the 1600s-1700s, their popularity sky-rocketed when they began to be sold worldwide through fast food chains, especially McDonald’s. Most fast food chains quickly paired the fries with burgers, creating one delicious meal. Did you know that it was American Soldiers who coined the term “French Fries,” when they tasted them for the first time in Belgium during World War I? In most other English speaking parts of the world they are referred to simply as “chips” and French Fries is considered an Americanism.
• Spaghetti and Meatballs: Some claim the combination began in the early 20th century, where Italian immigrants were making them in New York City. However, others claim that the pairing dates back to Old World Italy. Regardless of the origin, the two compliment each other and make for a great, filling meal – and an especially good one for the poor college student.
• Cheese and Crackers: The classic combination of cheese and crackers became increasingly popular with the development of the Ritz cracker in 1934, by Nabisco. Unlike most of the other entries on this list, this is a food combination loved by both rich and poor – whether you put cheap old cheese on store-bought crackers or the finest truffle laced mature brie on handmade crackers.
• Tortilla Chips and Salsa: Although the combination of chips and salsa is typically considered to be Mexican food, the combo really boomed when tortilla chips began being mass produced in Los Angeles. Now the combination serves as one of the most popular appetizers and snacks.
• Oreos and Milk: The Oreo was created in February 1912 by Nabisco in New York City. Oreos immediate popularity resulted in it being the best selling cookie of the 20th century. It has since been dubbed “Milk’s Favorite Cookie.”