As far as food blog meme’s go, Khymos’ “They Go Really Well Together (TGRWT)” contest. Martin Lersch (it’s his blog), is one of those smart, sciencey food guys. He way more scientist than chef, but if you read me, then you clearly don’t care about that. I like reading him because he doesn’t dumb anything down. And when people don’t dumb things down, it means you have to smarten up. You should be reading his blog in general, but what I really wanted to talk about was TGRWT.
Once a month, Martin announces two ingredients that well, go really well together. Some flavor-pairings are really counter-intuitive. Here is his description:
The name refers to flavour pairing of ingredients based on their content of volatile aroma compounds. The idea behind flavour pairing is that if two (or more) foods have one or more volatile compounds in common, chances are good that they might taste well together. Click for a list of other flavour pairings and to read previous blog posts on the topic. The molecule shown in the logo is of 2-methylfuran-3-thiol, a very potent aroma chemical found in coffee, chicken, meat, fish and popcorn – to mention a few.
Anyways, it is an excellent contest because it is collaborative and gets people’s juices flowing. Does it actually further any flavor pairing theories based on volatile aroma compounds? Probably not. Does it get people to flex their minds? Definitely.
Martin asks blogger-chef-types a question. Sometimes the best way to learn is to answer a question you didn’t know the answer to.
The latest question was:
And it was one of the questions that I had an answer to, but couldn’t remember the name. But I knew I had experienced those flavors together. Then, while standing in the elevator, I had a bout of food-related tourettes:
“PUMPERNICKEL!”, I blurted out.
Thankfully, there were no witnesses to this. As it happens, I-freakin-love pumpernickel bread, especially bagels. So, I break out the internets and I start looking to confirm, and holy caraway for chocolate, I get my confirmation.
Also, snopes tells me one thing about pumpernickel that I did not know. Apparently, there are at least two supposed origins of the word. The first is from the French “Pain Pour Nicol”, which means Bread For Nicol, where Nicol is some random Frenchman’s horse. Of course, this is widely disproven, and really just goes to show that the French have to somehow be involved in all culinary matters!
Even funnier is an alternate theory that states pumpernickel is derived from “Pumpern”, which was New High German for “fart”, and Nickel, which was a name often reserved for something evil, like the devil. See where they are going with this?
The Devil’s Fart, my friends. The Devil’s Fart.