Peanut Butter and Pickles (And Other Gross-Good Food Combos)



Uncommon combinations, such a the peanut butter and picket sammy sandwich are taste-tested in this story.

 Pepsi and milk. Takis and Cream Cheese. These controversial ‘food combo’ trends have been popularized on platforms such as Tiktok and Twitter, largely because of how polarizing they are. But are they actually bad? Though at first thought, they may sound gag-inducing (such as apples and mayo), I set out to find if there could possibly be gems among them. I, accompanied by an impartial second opinion, Senior Maylun Huang, curated and found eight food combinations to try and judge. We then discussed and ranked them from worst to best. From the gross, the good, and the yummy, we tried them all so you don’t have to.

#8. Vanilla Ice Cream and Soy Sauce

I had high hopes for this dish. Diehard proponents of vanilla topped with soy sauce claimed the umami of the soy sauce brought out the flavor of the vanilla, but I did not find this to be true. Perhaps my ratio was off, but the soy sauce overpowered all the sweetness. I would not try this again, and would not recommend it. Recipe from Buzzfeed. 

Scale of Deliciousness: 1/10

Would I try again? No.


#7. Apples and Mayo

Apples and mayonnaise, I probably went into this tasting with the lowest expectations. While I would not necessarily say I was pleasantly surprised with this combination, I was impressed that it was not the worst. The savory saltiness of the mayo combined with the ripe apple was vaguely reminiscent of a suburban grandmother’s fruit salad, a 1970s relic.  For those who enjoy the sweet tang of mayo, you might just find a tasty treat in dipping a freshly sliced apple in mayonnaise. Recipe Courtesy of CVHS Senior Emily Yu. 

Scale of Deliciousness: 3/10

Would I try again? Probably not


#6: Popcorn and Ketchup

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a ketchup fan. I find the condiment much too sweet, preferring its spicy-sour yellow counterpart, mustard. With this in mind, I have to say I did not love this combination. While it wasn’t inedible, it wasn’t good either. Something about the cold, straight from the fridge ketchup on top of crunchy popcorn didn’t work. The two components didn’t meld together, I did not feel as though the ketchup enhanced the popcorn in any way. While it wasn’t bad tasting, I am ranking it lowly because of the failure of flavor melding. Recipe courtesy of Buzzfeed

Scale of Deliciousness: 4/10

Would I try again? No.


#5: Bananas and Jalapeno Chips

This recipe consists of a slice of sweet banana laid on top of a jalapeño chip. I decided to go with Zapp’s Hotter N Hot Jalapeno chips. And I have to say, it was pretty good! Something about the natural sugar of the banana brought out the hidden sweetness of the Jalapeno chips in a way I’d never tasted before. My least favorite thing was probably the texture: the crunchy crisp potato chip didn’t exactly blend with the mushy banana, but nevertheless, I thought the pure flavors complemented each other well. 

Scale of Deliciousness: 5.3/10

Would I try again? If I happened to have a banana and bag of Jalapeno chips laying around, maybe…. Just maybe.


#4: Shin Ramen and Peanut Butter

When this recipe was suggested to me, I was not only alarmed at the thought of peanut butter and ramen mixed together, but I also realized that I did not in fact have Shin Ramen stocked at home. So, full disclosure, I perhaps did not do the recipe the justice it deserved. I instead opted for what I thought was the next best thing: Maruchan Beef Ramen. There were two things that stuck out to me about this dish: the fact it was the only main course suggested, but also the very specific instructions that accompanied it:

You boil some water, get the soup powder and noodles in there with the dried veggies, boil for about 2-3 minutes until the noodles are however texture you like, drain the liquid until there’s only a little bit left (drain 75% of it out), add 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter, stir it around and let it mix with the remaining water for easier stirring, and serve!

I followed the directions as closely as possible, and was immediately put off by the odor of peanut butter mixing with the boiling ramen broth. Nonetheless, like the brave food pioneer we are, Maylun and I trudged forward through the challenge, and each tasted the Peanut Butter ramen.

The results? A creamy, deeply savory broth that seemed to coat each noodle perfectly. As I slurped the soft but firm to the bite Maruchan, the fat added because of the peanut butter coated my lips in a way ramen had never done before. The flavor itself was vaguely reminiscent of Pad Thai, and other peanut sauce noodles. The dish itself was extremely filling, and, as ramen always does, left me with a warm feeling in my belly. Recipe courtesy of CVHS Alumnus, Stanley Shao. 

Scale of Deliciousness: 6/10

Would I try again? If I was hungry and broke.


#3: Pilk (Pepsi and Milk)

Pilk, or the portmanteau for the combination of Pepsi and Milk, holds a special place in my heart as it was the first food (or, rather, beverage combination) which inspired the article in the first place. Upon first hearing about the combination, and subsequently combining it in a plastic cup, I was, frankly, extremely disgusted. But, as I have learned throughout my food combination journey, You can never knock it until you try it. Pilk is yet another stellar example of this. While the immediate separation and congealing of the layer of milk fat and soda is quite off-putting, it actuality tasted exactly like a rootbeer float. The fizzy pepsi and smoothness of the 2% milk combined for a palatable and delicious combination that I would drink again. Recipe courtesy of Reddit.

Scale of Deliciousness: 6.8/10

Would I try again? : I wouldn’t buy Pepsi for the express purpose of making pilk, but I would make it if both liquids happened to be around. 


#2. Lightly Salted Peanuts and Coke (or Dr. Pepper)

The sight of the peanuts floating in the glass Coke bottle was violently Southern. I supposed I’d always been vaguely aware of the rural tradition of sprinkling peanuts in a soda, but I’d never done it myself. Perhaps it was because I was rarely allowed sugar drinks growing up, or because both my parents were from Washington, but one way or another, after seventeen years I was ready for my first coke and peanuts. I was a bit sceptical as I poured my peanuts into the glass coke bottle, but the peanuts and coke complimented each other perfectly. Something about the saltiness of the peanuts cut the sweetness of the soda. As I tilted my head back to enjoy my new drink, the fizz of the soda tickling the back of my throat, the savory smooth peanuts surprised me with a crunch. Also, as I continued to drink (I did in fact finish it), the peanuts absorbed the Coke flavor, leaving me with a sweet-salty treat at the bottom of my glass. Recipe Courtesy of Leah Chen.

Scale of Deliciousness: 8/10

Would I try again?: Yes!! This is the perfect snack-drink to enjoy while watching a game of Sunday Night Football.

And… Finally..


#1: Pickle and Peanut Butter Sammy

I had my doubts as I slathered the pickle relish and peanut butter onto my toasted English muffin, but they quickly disappeared as I took my first bite. The sweet and sour initial tang of the relish was quickly overcome by the smooth, creamy savoriness of the peanut butter. As the two contrasting flavors, sandwiched between the soft bread, battled in my mouth I was left with only one thought: yummy! In fact, it was so yummy, the next day I prepared myself a peanut butter pickle sandwich as an after-school treat. I truly enjoyed this spectacular combination and was impressed with the way the peanut butter mellowed the cut of the relish, complimenting each other deliciously. I finished my pickle and peanut butter (or p&p sandwich, as I call it), satisfied not only because of the nourishing meal I’d just finished, but also because I now have one more tasty recipe in my sandwich arsenal. Recipe Courtesy of  The New York Times.

Scale of Deliciousness: 9.8/10

Would I try it again?: I already have.