Folks, the results are in.
It was an arduous battle. These were NOT easy. We spent many hours yelling, arguing, discussing, strategizing, and crying. But science is science, and in the end, we stand by our decisions. Behold: The Sweet & Savory 16.
Matchup: Chocolate & Marshmallow vs. Wine & Cheese
Winner: Chocolate & Marshmallow
Notes: Cheese is so good (spoiler: it appears several times in this very bracket) and wine makes you drunk so that’s nice too, but Chocolate & Marshmallow is too goddamn good. S’mores. Rocky Road. Literally just fists full of chocolate chips that you chase with gobs of Stay Puft marshmallow spread. An iconic combo that always hits the spot. Wine & cheese is for an occasional weekend out with your friends, but chocolate & marshmallow is for anytime and anywhere.
Matchup: Fried Chicken & Waffles vs. Tomato & Mozzarella
Winner: Tomato & Mozzarella
Notes: I’ll tell you right now, my heart tells me that I am making the wrong decision. It tells me that chicken & waffles, at their best, are an all-time great food pair. And then my brain chimes in and says ,“Hey! Yeah! They are great!” But guess what bozos, the only talking organ that matters here is my tummy, and it speaks pure truth. Think about the utility of Tomato & Mozzarella. I would venture to guess that you eat fried chicken & waffles less than a dozen times a year. If that number is higher, you gotta start making healthier choices, man. Tommozzo is all around us though. Ever heard of pizza? Pasta? Caprese salads? That’s what that shit is made of, my dude. Chicken & waffles are friends, tomato & mozzarella are inseparable lovers that serve as the foundation for an entire type of food. At the end of the day, this isn’t even that close.
Matchup: Root Beer & Pizza vs. Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Winner: Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup
Notes: If this bracket were about me, root beer & pizza wins in a landslide. Root beer & pizza are one of the first things that come to mind when I think of food pairings. It brings me to a place of Pizza-Place-After-Little-League nostalgia that I can’t put properly into words. But this bracket isn’t about me, it’s about choosing the objectively best choice so I can smash Fat Wabu’s idiot face in. Grilled cheese & tomato soup is the best iteration of the already classic “sandwich and soup” food pair. Today, with a heavy heart, I say goodbye to a dear old friend.
Matchup: Lox & Bagels vs. Shrimp & Grits
Winner: Shrimp & Grits
Notes: Here is what this comes down to. If we are talking best of the best, top shelf, I think these two are just about neck and neck. What gives shrimp & grits the edge is how well they help each other. I can enjoy a bagel without lox just as much as I can enjoy a bagel with lox, but there are no shrimp in the ocean or grits in the (insert wherever grits come from) that are as good on their own as they are when they lay down together and consummate their tasty love.
Matchup: Cheese & Crackers vs. Surf & Turf
Winner: Cheese & Crackers
Notes: Surf & turf is idiotic. It was invented so rich shitheads could eat with the same excess that they do everything else with. Putting the best two things on the menu on the same plate is a “pair” in the same way that the NBA All-Star team is a “team”. Cheese and crackers, though, is an old reliable. If you put cheese & crackers out in a room, regardless of who is in that room, they will be eaten. Get some fancy cheese and some expensive artisanal crackers to dress them up, regular old Ritz Crackers and Cheese Whiz if you want to dress them down. Get your $50 meat tray the eff out of my bracket, thanks.
Matchup: Cereal & Milk vs. Apples & Peanut Butter
Winner: Cereal & Milk
Notes: No reason to get cute here. Apples & peanut butter are good because apples are fine and peanut butter makes literally everything better. (it is the clear star of this team). Milk & cereal on the other hand, need each other. Dry cereal is technically edible, and will do in a pinch, but it only works with top-tier cereals. Don’t you dare try to eat Frosted Mini-Wheats without milk, lest you want a mouth full of open wounds. Milk, likewise, needs cereal. If you are the type of person that just has a glass of milk with dinner, no judgements but you are a freak of nature and should consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Apples & peanut butter are too top heavy to move on.
Matchup: Milkshake & Fries vs. Steak & Potatoes
Winner: Milkshake & Fries
Notes: I guess, if I’m being really honest, I have never understood the the steak & potatoes thing. Big fat slab of meat with heavy starches just doesn’t seem appropriate for a modern man like myself. I understand why this hearty of a meal would be nice for the likes of a simple cave person, but the amount of chewing required to finish this is a full blown chore. Shakes & fries are a classic salty sweet combo that can be enjoyed by all, even those of you who are too much of a coward to give those fries the dunk in that shake they so desperately crave.
Matchup: Chocolate & Peanut Butter vs. Corned Beef & Cabbage
Winner: Chocolate & Peanut Butter
Notes: With all due respect to my Irish heritage, corned beef & cabbage was a little in over its head on this list to begin with. To draw chocolate & peanut butter in round one is a kiss of death. If this was a “meal you are most likely to begrudgingly eat once a year on a holiday you probably don’t understand” bracket, corned beef & cabbage runs away with it. But it is not, so this is the end of the line.
Matchup: Burger & Fries vs. Pineapple & Ham
Winner: Burger & Fries
Notes: This is infuriating. I love pineapple & ham. I’m one of those people you complain about all the time who loves pineapple pizza (with ham, you betta believe it). Not only that, but I love an underdog story. However, there is just no universe where I allow all this to cloud my judgement and let it defeat burger & fries. C’mon. It’s burger & fries we’re talking about.
Matchup: Chocolate & Nuts vs. Fish & Chips
Winner: Fish & Chips
Notes: Weirdly enough this was difficult for me. I like them both, but neither of these pairings really blow my nips off. The potential for each is also pretty medium. In the end, though, nuts are a goodnotgreat type of food. They bring out the best in a lot of other things, but by themselves? They’ll do as a snack. The chocolate is doing all the work here. And a perfectly-fried golden brown piece of haddock covered in malt vinegar and paired with a big fat fry (or “chip” if you’re an idiot)? Gotta go with the latter.
Matchup: Ice Cream & Pie vs. Pita & Hummus
Winner: Ice Cream & Pie
Notes: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA PITA & HUMMUS HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
Matchup: Bacon & Eggs vs. Iced Tea & Lemonade
Winner: Bacon & Eggs
Notes: Not really much of a contest here. I enjoy a refreshing Arnold Palmer as much as the next Jerry or Jane, but bacon & eggs are an all-time iconic duo. An important guideline of this tournament is to consider if you strongly crave one when you have the other. I won’t even consider having bacon without eggs, or vice versa. Plus, think about the fact that people put bacon on like, everything, and people STILL agree that bacon & eggs belong together.
Matchup: Macaroni & Cheese vs. Chocolate & Berries
Winner: Macaroni & Cheese
Notes: Remember when I said I root for underdogs? I still mean it here, four paragraphs later. I happen to love chocolate & berries. It’s one of my favorite desserts. And, if it was a list of things I like better, I would go with them. BUT, I need to assemble my finest crowd-pleasing army to defeat Fart Kid and his Food Network Conference. Mac & Cheese is an absolute titan.
Matchup: Spaghetti & Meatballs vs. Pb&J & Milk
Winner: Spaghetti & Meatballs
Notes: Let me explain what happened here. We wanted Peanut Butter & Jelly itself to be a contestant in this tournament, but according to our own rules that have no consequences if we disobey them, these things have to be regularly eaten alone. Nobody eats jelly alone, and if you do please send me your address so I can come kill you. The ceiling on spaghetti and meatballs is seemingly limitless. Can you imagine what those doofs over in Italy do with that shit? I bet it’s good. I’ve never been. I’ve heard it’s nice. Send me some money for a plane ticket please.
Matchup: Pulled Pork & Coleslaw vs. Cookies & Milk
Winner: Pulled Pork & Coleslaw
Notes: This was my hardest matchup by a landslide. I’m still not even sure I’m making the right decision. I’m a regular Kris Kringle the way I can harf down some cookies and milk (you morons ever had those little Trader Joe’s cookies? They’re unreal). However, when I look inside myself I know pulled pork has a lot more potential, and same with coleslaw. Though cookies are a different story, I know milk can only be SO good. The best milk could not matchup with the best coleslaw or pulled pork.
Matchup: Coffee & Donuts vs. Peas & Carrots
Winner: Coffee & Donuts
Notes: As you can plainly see, we needed one more pairing to make this even and we finally settled on peas & carrots. When was the last time you ate peas & carrots? In your shepherd’s pie? When was the last time you had shepherd’s pie? Do you live in some fairytale Game of Thrones castle? The one on the island with all the unlimited deus ex machina weaponry? Nobody in that castle’s history noticed they were sitting on a “mountain” of something? Not one person? Who built that castle? They must have known, right? What I’m trying to say is coffee & donuts wins.