Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Random Groupings of Food

Peanut butter and jelly. Bacon and eggs. Ham and cheese.

There are classic food pairings that everybody knows. Then there are some that just strike people as odd. (My personal pairing preferences back this up. I wanted p.b. to be a little more savory, so I insisted on peanut butter and butter sandwiches as a kid. I've always preferred rice with eggs, even though I know bacon is the craze. Ham and cheese are a great pair, though, especially if it's a nice smoky cheddar.)

The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1965) vegetable chapter includes some pairings of both varieties:

The upper left has a classic pairing: corned beef and cabbage. We've all heard of that, and it's not St. Patrick's Day, so there is no need to linger on this one.

The center is what interests me, mainly because it seems like such a random collection of ingredients: candied squash and sausage with buttered peas.

Candied squash is not my thing: too sweet for a main dish and not tasty enough to constitute a dessert, so I wouldn't bother. I know it has a constituency, but I am no part of it.

Sausage: tasty, but I'd like to see it on the savory side. I'm sure the people who like it with maple syrup would probably like it with brown sugar glaze, but again, I'm not in that camp.

I guess the pairing is workable enough if you're one of the sweet entree people, but what really makes it seem random is throwing the sausage balls and candied squash on a bed of buttered peas. (I know the recipe itself doesn't mention the last part, but the picture's caption specifies "buttered peas.") Did the recipe writers think that squash itself was not sufficient to keep this in the "Vegetables" chapter, so they needed to add peas to keep it out of "Casseroles and One-Dish Meals" or "Jiffy Cooking"? Was there not enough of a sauce to bother making this with a noodle or rice ring? Were they taking bribes from the National Pea Council for more product placement?

I just know that the only way a recipe for sticky-sweet squash and sausage more gag-inducing to my childhood self would have been to serve it over a mound of mushy peas.

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