Food-Pairing Tournament: The Chompionship Match

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End of the line, folks. We’re here. 32 teams fought valiantly (except Carrots & Peas, cause like, whatever) to be here. Only two remain.

Behold, The Chompionship Match.

 

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Matchup:  Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup vs. Cheese & Crackers
Winner:  Cheese & Crackers
Notes:  Despite the fact that we have found ourselves in a conference finals matchup, you would think that the answer here would be obvious. But if you have been following this bracket at all, you should know by now that one of the primary functions of this entire tournament is to make everyone as mad as possible. I’m not here to please the masses, or even to please myself; I’m here to do my duty as an expert in a very important field, and to put a whipping on that jackwagon Wilder. As an expert (in both food pairs and handing out whippings) I have realized that this matchup comes down to one simple thing. It’s not about the big names or the legacy involved or the fact that both of these things revolve around a carb and a cheese. No, this matchup comes down to one ever important but often forgotten thing: science. In a world where screaming baseless opinions into the void is often the chosen method of communication, I am here to ring the bell of objective facts, my dudes. As a pair, GC & TS works on some really important levels. First, and most importantly, the combination of the creamy melty cheese on the crispy toasted bread mixed with the acidic flavor of the soup is an amalgam that science (and also my tummy) tells us is great. It is where all of the power of this pair comes from. But alas, while crispy+creamy+rich+acidic makes perfect sense, more often than not the soup that is served with the melty creamy sandwich is made with heavy cream, loads of butter, or both. To top it off, the bread that the sandwich is made with is almost always slathered in butter (or mayonnaise if you are a mental patient). GC & TS, like most comfort food, is too god damn much to stomach most of the time. It leaves you feeling heavy, and is a decadent treat reserved for only very specific instances.

Can I tell you something else that’s going to make you mad? Most cheese tastes better when it’s not melted. Oh what’s that? You disagree? Go ahead and file those complaints with EM-EFFING-SCIENCE. My new best friend science tells us that different cheeses have different “flavor retention” when they are subject to heating, which is due to the fact that some of the chemicals in cheese responsible for the delicious cheese flavor we love begin to evaporate when heated. The reason we heat cheese is to create the melty texture (which is also important and great, duh) but in creating that texture, some of the flavor is lost. Cheese & Crackers does not have this problem, and I’m taking cheese flavor over cheese texture basically every time.

Additionally, there is a perfect cracker for every type of cheese and, unlike the GC & TS pairing, which tends to blend together all of the flavors into one massive buttery creamy stomach ache, Cheese & Crackers truly highlight one another. Of course cheese exists in tons of other settings, but it is so rarely allowed to shine as much as it does when paired with the perfect cracker, and crackers can be dipped in or paired with loads of other things, but there are none that can compete with the simple addition of cheese atop the cracker. Science has proven time and time again that Cheese & Crackers are more versatile, more complementary of one another, and have a higher overall ceiling than GC & TS.  If you disagree, I suspect you also think the earth is flat or that climate change is a hoax, in which case you are a lost soul who can’t be helped.

 

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Matchup:  Bacon & Eggs vs. Macaroni & Cheese
Winner:  Bacon & Eggs
Notes:  How does one determine the winner of this matchup? This matchup is is the cream of the crop. Two iconic food pairings that eclipse the rest. I have heard arguments from both sides say that one simply cannot live without the other. Thus, the idea of which food makes you need the other one more is out the window. So, let’s look at this systematically.

Mackie Chaz has a gigantic range. It can range from grocery store goodness to down home soul food cafe goodness to artisanal BBQ goodness. So many different ways to play with, and somehow it find different markets and nails them each time.
It’s fun, too. A silly food, really. Everybody likes it. You can eat it with a variety of things, in a variety of ways, and all involved will have a good time. And the most obvious thing it has going for it, of course, is that it’s delicious. It’s just so tasty, and I would venture to say one of the most universally liked foods.

Now let’s consider Bacon & Eggs. There’s an Olyphant in the room: breakfast. Breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day, according to my mom and also your mom and also everybody’s mom. It sets the tone of your entire upcoming 24 hours. Imagine starting your day at 7AM with a large bowl of Macaroni & Cheese. That is the definition of being a big ole fatso.

You start your day with Bacon & Eggs though? You’re gettin laid today.

I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said “Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakie”. It’s a benchmark of starting your whole day. That’s big time, and it’s definitely something Bacon & Eggs has going for it.

Now let’s talk about customization. Remember when I just said Macaroni & Cheese has lots of range? Not like Bacon & Eggs it doesn’t. M&C may be customizable by type of cheese, but in the end you are essentially doing it the same thing every time. You are bound to a form. Melting the cheese is mandatory. What are you gonna eat macaroni and UNMELTED cheese? You fucking lunatic, get the hell out of here with that shit.

Bacon & Eggs have an outrageously high ceiling for creativity and differentiation. I’m pretty sure that’s a word. An egg itself is a fascinating thing, almost like two different foods inside a shell — the white and the yolk. You can do so many different god damn things with an egg. You can poach it. You can scramble it. You can hard boil it. You can soft boil it. You can eat it raw sometimes. You can hard boil it and then marinate it in mirin and soy sauce and put it in your heckin’ ramen. And I don’t think I need to tell you that bacon goes with just about everything in the world (donuts, scallops, Brussels sprouts, chocolate, peanut butter, and so much more). These two superstars can do just about anything with just about anybody, and they always compliment each other. Breakfast burrito? You know I want them involved. Breakfast sandwich? You KNOW I want them involved. They just work so hard in so many arenas and never once does one leave the other behind. They’re always there for each other, helping, elevating each other to the next level. They are an unabashed star player of the food-pairing world.

Bacon & Eggs didn’t take down the Arnold Palmer, Ice Cream & Pie, and Burger & Fries to lose now. They’ve worked too hard and they’ve pushed too far. When I ask myself if Macaroni & Cheese the greatest food pairing of all time, I cannot confidently say yes. If I were to give Mac & Cheese the trophy, I’d wake up in a cold sweat a few weeks later, knowing I made the wrong decision. But when I ask myself if Bacon & Eggs are the GOAT, I don’t feel any of that. I feel calm. I feel serene. I know it’s a worthy duo, and I know in my heart that when I send them into the final battle for supreme dominance, they have what it takes to win this thing.

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