Have you ever wondered why certain foods are sold as an experience which has them paired with others, like how wine goes with cheese perhaps and how oysters go with vinegar? You might have also uncovered something of a gem in the kitchen while you’re cooking, with some or other combination usually of two items just tasting so good together.

For many people it’s nothing more than a frivolous thought to entertain for as long as it exists, but when it’s out of sight, so to say, then it’s out of mind. Take heed though…

There is a reason why certain foods just go so well together and it goes way beyond the taste.

Biology at work

It’s simply a matter of the biological process at work which on a personal level ensures you feed yourself with foods that are good for you and on more of a general level, it ensures our survival as the human species. It’s deeply rooted in natural selection, yes, but more so on the level of physical self-sustenance.

Poisoning prevention

To get a little deeper into the discussion of the biological processes at work, what it is really is an indicator – your taste buds make for the second warning mechanism that what you’re eating is not good for you and perhaps even poisonous. Luckily what’s good to eat and what can kill you is somewhat public knowledge by now, so it then becomes a matter of your taste buds warning you against something which your body might not react well to.

We all know of people who have food allergies or perhaps you’re the one with food allergies.

The first warning mechanism which perhaps comes into effect before that of the taste buds is that of your sense of smell. Since the sense of smell is very closely related to the sense of taste, normally you can just tell something is going to taste good or bad based on how it smells.

On this deeper biological level though, it is indeed all about what’s good for your body and what’s not so good for it.

Artificially enhanced flavours such as those from processed foods go against the natural mechanism however because of the fact that they isolate those particles which particularly taste good but would otherwise not be as abundantly available in their natural state.

Nutritionally valuable food

On the flip side of poisoning prevention is the biological process which tells you what you’re feeding your body is good for you through the sense of taste, but also by way of how your body feels as a result of eating certain foods.

Now all of this comes together to answer the burning question of just why certain foods go well together and it’s simply that they balance each other out. Retailers of corporate gift baskets seem to have nailed it by way of pairing little delicacies that go so well together, but Mother Nature does just as good of a job by making you crave wine with your cheese (cheese is rotten milk) so that the alcohol in the wine can perhaps kill any of the bad bacteria which could be present in the cheese.

Anna Jones
Anna Jones

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