We can often get caught up in the need for new, stylish, modern, and the big ‘twist’ in our food. Sometimes this is out of a want to impress. Sometimes we just want to create and invent, or bring something new to the table. In some cases, it is there just for shock value. None of these motivations are wrong, as they can lead to fantastic trends that deserve every credit they get. I mean, there must be some genius who put peanut butter and jam together before anyone else, right?

But I often find myself going overboard, and trying too hard. I tried making a pasta pie – the idea was good, the execution was inedible crap. I’ve added marmalade to fish, and cheese to just about everything. I love being creative, especially when the idea in my brain filters down to the plate better than I ever imagined. My sausage bunny chow is a mainstay for dinner – my better half gives me grief if we don’t have it for a while! I’ve even explored crazy food pairing trees for surprise funky matches (Google image search ‘foodpairing tree’ for an example).

Every now and then, however, I get reminded of the absolute classics of flavour pairings. Just a simple couple of flavours that are magical together, through almost no effort of the cook. Ingredients that were brought together for the mouth, as if by design. Tomato and basil. Lamb and rosemary. Salmon and cucumber. The list is endless (and thankfully!).

Having paid a visit to the famous Brick Lane Beigel Bake, I picked up the two bagels I simply cannot resist – salmon and cream cheese, and their divine salt beef and mustard. The simplicity in their execution, but excellent in flavour just shouted out to me. The complexity and excellence was within the ingredients themselves, rather than the fanciness of their presentation.

There are a million things that could have been changed, added to, mixed around, and shaken all about with these two bagels. And absolutely none of it would have made them the slightest bit better. They were perfect, just as they are. Just because their flavours are heavenly together.

Classic Food Pairings


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