A scientist at Cambridge University, Sebastian Ahnert, has looked at what unusual foods go together and explained that it’s all to do with science. He, along with a team of scientists, looked at the flavour compounds that made up 56,498 online recipes in order to understand how different foods relate to each other chemically.
The science is that foods which taste good together share the same aroma molecules known as olfactory compounds. This would explain why some foods have flavours which work well together. Dr Ahnerts work was presented at a conference ‘Hacking Flavour Perception: Art, Design, Technology & Gastrophysics.
Dr Ahnert did try and make mashed potato with milky coffee and admits that it tasted really horrible. But after eating it as a Michelin starred restaurant in Paris he realised that you had to use the products in a certain way. In fact the restaurant had served up a delicious desert made from coffee and potato.
Dr Ahnert also suggests a number of other combinations that should, if you follow the science, work together-roast beef and chocolate, pork and vanilla sauce, mussels and strawberries, caviar with white chocolate. Interestingly the science suggest this theory doesn’t work with East Asian cuisine which is characterised by opposing flavours playing off each other like sweet and sour as an example.
On the other hand if the idea of mashed potato and coffee leaves you cold we would suggest you just carry on with the conventional way of drinking your daily brew!