5 Classic Food Pairings and their Origins

Inspired by National Best Friends Day earlier this week and the countless people who shared pictures and kind words about the peanut butter to their jelly, we wanted to dive into one of the great discussions of our time; classic food pairings.

After all, regardless of how long you’ve been attached at the hip with your bestie, these foods have been putting up with the other for longer (presumably) and to much success.

So, let’s get started with some of the top #friendgoals (as it relates to food) around.

1. Peanut Butter & Jelly

Peanut butter and Jelly is arguably the gold-standard in terms of food pairing, going back to early childhood for many. Some might say it’s the greatest invention since sliced bread, but that would be incorrect. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich’s origin dates back to 1901, when it was first published by Julia Davis Chandler. Even though peanut butter was considered a delicacy at the time, kids latched onto the sweet combination, thus beckoning the evolution of the PB&J into the sandwich titan it is today.

Sliced bread? The process of slicing and wrapping bread wasn’t invented, at least on a commercial level, until the late 1920s by Gustav Papendick, which allowed kids to make their own PB&J without needing a potentially dangerous kitchen knife. There was no stopping this food pairing after that.

Nowadays, students can stop by our dining locations like the markets, Bell Tower Place or King Cafe during our PB&J Specials to enjoy their own creative take on the classic pairing!

Source: SeriousEats

2. Bacon & Eggs

What’s “breakfast” to you? For many, it’s the power couple that is bacon and eggs. This pairing has its roots in the 1920s when the Austrian-born Edward Bernays was brought in by Beech-Nut Packing Company to help create demand for bacon, which they sold.

Bernays, also known as the “Father of Public Relations,” went to his own agency’s doctor, asking if heavier breakfasts were a healthier option compared to the light morning meals of the time. The doctor said yes and wrote to 5,000 other doctors, asking them to confirm his findings. Major newspapers and magazines published the study, urging the public to eat heavier breakfasts, featuring the bacon and eggs combo, for their own health, which is where this food pairing truly got its start.

Bacon and eggs are available throughout the campus. Both can be found at Pulley Diner and First Stop, but our buffet locations also serve bacon and eggs intermittently as well.

Source: The American Table

3. Macaroni & Cheese

The origin of macaroni & cheese dates back a little further to the late thirteenth century in southern Italy, with the first modern form of the recipe appearing in the 1769 book The Experienced English Housekeeper written by Elizabeth Raffled.

Mac & cheese in North America, however, can trace its origins back to the early European settlers and even Thomas Jefferson. As the story goes, Jefferson was rather infatuated with macaroni & cheese, even attempting to make his own macaroni noodles to pair with imported Parmesan cheese, making for some of the earliest forms of modern macaroni & cheese on North American soil. Some sources claim that Jefferson’s daughter, Mary Randolph, is the true inventor of the dish after taking up hostess duties of the house following her mother’s death.

Years later, in 1937, Kraft took this tasty food pairing and ran with it.

Macaroni & cheese is another item found at various spots across campus, especially during special events, but also intermittently at other locations!

Sources: Food52 and CliffordAWright.com

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4. Hamburger & French Fries

Hamburgers and french fries are certainly among the top food “besties” and are deserving of recognition on a list about food pairings. The origin of this combo is traced back to the early 1900s, specifically 1921, with the opening of the first White Castle in Wichita, Kansas.

Serving fast hamburgers, White Castle was in need of quick finger food to pair with their fast food offering. Around this same time, soldiers from WWII were back from Europe, craving the fried potatoes that were sold as street food in Europe. The quick and easy “meat and potatoes” combo was ultimately a match made in heaven, resulting in one of the more celebrated food pairings.

On campus, the hamburger and french fry combo is a popular meal and is one that is widely available at our dining locations. For those looking to enjoy this food pairing, check out Encounter for fresh, local beef patties, or keep your eyes peeled at most of our other locations!

Source: Huffington Post

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5. Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is another tremendously popular food pairing that is a fixture of many households. While spaghetti and meatballs is considered an Italian dish, this combo is really American. Certainly the concept of noodles, marinara sauce and meat has Italian roots, but “spaghetti and meatballs” really got its start in the late 1800s and early 1900s with Italian immigrants coming to America. U.S. meat quickly took hold of the dish, combined with noodles and canned tomato sauce, called “sailor sauce,” because it was one of the few items available at local grocers. Since then, this food pairing has become a fixture of American households.

On campus, Garden Commons serves made-to-order pasta, but other locations rotate through different types of pasta. La Mia Cucina is always a good bet for some tasty spaghetti and meatballs too!

Source: Escoffier

Other Great Food Pairings

– Hummus & Pita

– Milk & Cookies

– Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese

– Coffee & Donut

– Chips & Salsa

So, what do you think? What are your favorite food pairings?

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