A pineapple topped pizza ready to eat.

10 Strange Food Pairings Some People Love

Food is a must. It gives us human beings energy and nutrients to live. The quality can dictate how we physically feel and influence our attitude. Being a must for survival, developed cultures have created an array of food options to be purchased, combined, and then consumed.

Some food pairings like chips and salsa, ketchup and mustard, or chocolate and caramel are accepted and beloved by many almost universally. Other food combos are popular with a few but downright hated by the majority (poor pineapple on pizza). This is just a short compilation of 10 weird but not completely unpopular choices.

1. Milkshake & Fries

A burger & fries on a plate sitting next to a milkshake.

Sure, burger fries and a shake are an American classic all together, but some people like to take this trend deeper and dip their fries in a milkshake or ice cream. I was first introduced to this wild adventure through the depths of sweet vs savory at a popular fast food place that serves square patties and has an ice cream dessert named after a snowman.

When my dining companion suggested I dip my salty fries into this creamy wonderland of sugar, I was slightly miffed. I figured whatever and gave it a try, I was shocked. Strange indeed, but not too bad.

2. Peanut Butter & Pickle

Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches sound like an April Fools joke if you ask me. At one point, I personally thought they were a thing of myth, but now I live with a significant other that loves to munch these down with pride.

This combo is a bit too weird for this guy (I love peanut butter but admittedly, pickles aren’t my favorite). I won’t take the dive, but if this strange sandwich mashup is your jam, well then keep that boat afloat, sista!

3. Ketchup on Mac & Cheese

I had a childhood friend that was into this monstrosity. If ruining a good thing is what makes you happy, then by all means go right ahead… you can have all the ketchup to yourself if mac n’ cheese is the meal.

I’m all for remixing a childhood classic but when you’ve got options like, I don’t know: bacon, pepper, garlic, bread crumbs, (the list goes on), why ketchup?

4. Pizza & Ranch

Pizza sitting next to a plastic cup of ranch.

Growing up in L.A. I never knew pizza and ranch was even a thing. When I was about 12 I moved to a small town and got my education on this seemingly odd combo.

One day at school, the legendary day known as pizza day came around and I was a bit mortified to look around me and see kids everywhere dunking their slices in cups of ranch. I wanted to get the prime minister of Italy on the phone immediately to get his take on this crime against humanity!

Pizza snobs might stick their nose up at this one but I don’t think it takes the cake (or pie) when it comes to the reigning champion of still-raging food disputes: pineapple on pizza. Personally, I say eat what you like, but ordering that one might put your life in danger around the wrong crowd.

5. Chicken & Waffles

Chicken & waffles sit on a plate.

I wasn’t sure about putting this mashup on the list as it’s moved beyond a fringe food pairing to become a ubiquitous cultural phenomenon. Hailing from soul food kitchens and making its way mainstream America, chicken and waffles is a staple meal in homes and eateries across the country.

Although some might scoff at the notion of calling chicken and waffles strange, the sweet and savory mix is probably what made me question if this hype train was worth riding. For me, it lived up to the glory. A genius brunch combo if ever there was one.

6. Bacon & Ice Cream

An ice cream come stuffed with raw bacon.

On average, when I mention this one to peeps they squelch and squirm their lips as if I just offended everything holy in the temple that is their body. I too once questioned this rendition of sweet and salty culinary co-op. During a late time run at a 24 hour diner chain that occasionally celebrates bacon on the menu, I said what the hockey sticks and tried it.

Although this might not sound like your cup of tea, the trick is if the bacon is hard and crunchy it actually makes sense. Not the fattier, greasier stuff us heathen types like next to our eggs. Sure, I would grab rocky road over bacon and ice cream any day, but to my surprise it’s not as crazy as you’d think.

7. French Fries & Mayo

Mayo squirted on some fries.

The strangeness of this combo will be disputed by our friends across the pond (and many in the U.S.), but I personally can’t wrap my head around it. Lovers of French fries with mayo have an artillery of excuses why it’s better and that’s fine. Personally, if I were to stray away from the commercial American classic ketchup – and I do, occasionally – I think honey mustard, BBQ, or even au jus would make me feel like I’ve accomplished more in life.

8. Watermelon & Salt

Watermelon with salt sprinkled on top.

Again, looks like there are just some people out there that love to tow that sweet and savory line. Watermelon is about as sweet and savory as you can get. Can’t say I’ve tried it, but it seems like one of the least offensive selections on this list.

9. Apple Pie & Cheese

Apple pie with cheddar cheese sits out ready to eat

To each their own is a mantra I hold dearly, but if you’re topping your apple pie with cheese, well, I don’t think I want you at my Thanksgiving. Not saying I won’t try it. I might love it and only eat it this way one day. As of this writing though, I’m not ruining this already delightful pie. I wonder if cheese pie people put ice cream on top…?

10. Milk & Vodka

Pouring milk from a carafe into a glass to make white russians.

Gotcha with that one, didn’t I? Truth be told, the White Russian is a fine drink. Who can hate something The Dude champions seemingly more than anything else in his life (except the rug)?

A White Russian is made with vodka, cream, and coffee liqueur that when combined give this cocktail a flavor similar to chocolate milk. On several occasions people have told me they can’t wrap their head around dairy and vodka; I say don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

All In All

Old cooking equipment from the medieval era.

This is just a short list of classic food pairings that are popular with some and deemed questionable by many. The possibilities are endless. If you think of the timeline in which people have existed and eaten, I’d wager much more strange concoctions have been enjoyed and spit out.

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