11 Weird Regional Food Combos In The U.S. That Make No Sense If You Don't Live There
We all have at least one food combination that we find irresistible while others are trying not to gag. I once knew a woman whose boyfriend ate hot dogs with peanut butter on them — an unholy act, if I ever saw one. I'm in no position to judge, though. You're looking at the person who once thought she could pull off bangs. While we all know cuisines change when you leave the country, even each region within the United States has its own unique menu — evidenced by these 11 weird regional food combos in the U.S. that make no sense if you don't live there.
I live in Las Vegas, and I thought I had seen the weirdest of the weird, but I've officially been proven wrong. Elvis dancing on the street for cash and drive-thru wedding chapels pale in comparison to the food combinations I dug up in other parts of the country. Consider me put in my place.
These combos aren't for the delicate palate. You're going to see things you can't unsee. But if you're feeling adventurous and want a taste of another region, I dare you to chow down on one of these bizarre-but-supposedly-delicious food combinations.
1. Peanut Butter in Chili
I have so many questions — mainly, why? I may be scratching my head/throwing up in my mouth, but Indiana loves this food combination.
While I imagine a bowl of chili with a glob of peanut butter in the middle, it turns out some people use it to thicken the sauce and add a little extra "something." You know when you taste something in your chili but can't quite put your finger on it?
It's peanut butter, guys.
2. Peanuts In Coca-Cola
According to Spoon University, this food combination started in the south. Rumor has it the odd snack dates back to the 1920s. Coca-Cola was huge, and so was something else: farming. Allegedly, farmers had short breaks and also had to be careful eating, because everything was covered in dirt. So, they'd toss some peanuts into Coca-Cola so they could drink, eat, and work at the same time.
It sounds a bit strange, indeed. Then again, the sweet-and-salty flavor combination might also be genius.
3. Apple Pie With Melted Cheese On Top
Apple pie? Yes. Apple slices with cheese? Sure thing. Apple pie with cheese on the top? Now just you wait a gosh darn minute.
Who are these monsters defacing America's most classic and traditional dessert? Gastro Obscura says it's most common in the midwest and New England states. The consensus seems to be that cheddar is the top pick, and similar to peanuts in Coca-Cola, fans of this food combination argue that the sweetness of the pie pairs perfectly with the salty and sharp taste of the cheddar.
I can be pretty openminded. I was willing to accept peanuts in my pop. But when you start to mess with apple pie, I draw the line.
4. Pizza And Ranch Dressing
Having been born and raised in the midwest, I can confirm that while it should be disgusting, pizza with ranch is oddly satisfying. I don't know what gave us the idea to start dipping our pizza in ranch. Pizza is perfect as is, and one would assume the two flavors would be competing with each other too much for one to enjoy this combination. One would assume incorrectly.
Also, it leaves you with horrendous breath after. You've been warned.
5. Pickles In Kool-Aid
A Huffington Post article says Kool-Aid pickles — also called "Koolickles," which makes me LOL — got their start in Mississippi. Are we noticing a pattern here? When people have a hankering for something sweet and salty, they clearly select any two random foods and eat them together.
A previous iteration had people dipping their pickles directly in the Kool-Aid powder. How do any of us still have our teeth?
6. Spam Musubi
This one's pretty straightforward. Spam is pretty popular in Hawaii, as is musubi. It makes perfect sense to eat them together.
What's Cooking America says this snack is everywhere in Hawaii, even going so far as to refer to it as a "rite of passage." Basically, they fry up a slice of Spam, put it on rice, and wrap it in seaweed. It sort of looks like sushi, but you eat it like a sandwich.
Forget everything you've ever heard about Spam. This stuff is on another level.
7. Fruit And Mayo Sandwiches
Once again, we have the south to thank for this one, and I honestly think things have gotten out of control.
Based on an article by the Sandwich Tribunal (which, BTW, might be the greatest website ever invented), there's a controversial school of thought which says adding peanut butter really helps the situation. According to the writer, it indeed made the sandwich more bearable, but... I just can't.
8. Chicken And Waffles
We don't know with certainty where this one started. Snappy Gourmet says it could have been the south or New York. However, one thing is for certain: this is one food combination that has defied all regional barriers and made its way across the nation.
Understand it, I do not. Maybe it's for the busy person who wants to knock out breakfast and lunch in one dish? All I know is people love this combination so much that it's on the menu of major chain restaurants like IHOP.
9. Burger With Peanut Butter
First We Feast gives credit to Missouri for these nutty burgers. The peanut butter is kept warm and liquidy and is ladled onto the beef patty. Call me basic, but I think I'll stick to American cheese singles.
10. Hot Dogs Smothered In Cream Cheese
The Takeout writes that in Seattle, cream cheese is no different than ketchup or mustard, when it comes to hot dog toppings.
I can almost understand this one. Putting cheese on dogs isn't that outrageous, and it's something you can find around the country. Really, it's not that odd that one day, someone had some extra schmear and was like, "Meh, why not?"
11. Biscuits And Chocolate Gravy
Maybe you've had biscuits and gravy in the past. They're soft. They're squishy. They're delicious. But Southern Living writes that the south is cooking up something even better: biscuits and chocolate gravy.
Let's be honest. Biscuits are plain enough that they could totes double as a dessert. Thus, smothering them in chocolate sauce makes perfect sense. Then again, smothering anything in chocolate sauce makes perfect sense.