February 16, 2017

How do you use the Internet to combine food ingredients in surprising / unexpected ways?

Did you know that chocolate and blue cheese share at least 73 flavour compounds? I learned that as I read this article article in nature.com which Barnaby Skinner shared on Slack during the Open Food Hackdays challenge. Reading this article, I also learned that the average number of ingredients in a recipe is around 8, and that we - using apps such as foodpairing and/or food2vec - can learn to combine food ingredients / flavours in surprising / unexpected ways.

I need to admit, straight away, that I do not do much experimenting when I am in the kitchen cooking food. Usually, I stick to recipes I know, for example good old Danish meatballs. I have been making those for years in more or less the same way. I learned how to make meatballs by 1) watching my mother cook them, and 2) searching on Google to find out how others make meatballs. However, I would think that with useful apps that help us quickly combine food / food ingredients in well tasting ways, I would sometimes try out some new things / new combinations. And my readiness to try out new combinations of food ingredients would, I think, be determined by how inexpensive, simple, and well tasting it would be to acquire and combine food ingredients. 

Reading this article, which Barnaby Skinner also shared on Slack, and reflecting on what food go well together, I learned that ingredients in European and North American cooking cluster together, and that ingredients from Asia cluster together. That was not such a big surprise to. However, as I looked a little closer at the similarity map in the article, I noticed - to my surprise - that for example on the left hand side, there are some unique combinations that span across continents. As you can see yourself, when you let your mouse roll across the map, scallion (East Asia), carrot and olive oil (Middle Eastern), mushroom (Eastern European), and Thai pepper (South East Asia) cluster together. Being interested in what is unique / what is innovative / what we can learn from different countries around the world, I found that quite fascinating reading.

Do you know some interesting, well tasting combinations of food / food ingredients that you would like to share?







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