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11.23.2010

STRANGE COMBINATIONS

Have you had apricot jam on baked tilapia?  No?  Well, I'm here to recommend you never, ever do.  Growing up my daughter exhibited no interest in cooking at all.  In fact her standard response to me when I asked why she didn't want to learn to cook and what was she going to do when she grew up was, "Mom, why in the world would I want to learn to cook when you are such a great cook.  I will marry someone who cooks."  I loved her brown-nosing spirit and her worry about it all later way of life:)  She's been married a little over a year now.  A few months into being married she invited me over for dinner - dinner she made.  I was quite amazed that she, and not her husband, was cooking.  Eagerly I accepted with great anticipation of what in the world this young woman who never really cooked, was going to make for dinner.  We sat down to eat and to be honest, I can only remember two foods she served from that meal; ice cream for dessert and baked talapia with apricot jam slathered on top of it.  Even as I write, that amazing flavor combination is coming back to me.  Horrible would most accurately describe what it tasted like.  Imagine the taste of apricot and then, at the same exact time, imagine a fish taste mixed into it.   She dished it onto my plate and I took my first bite without knowing what exactly was on top of the fish.  As my taste buds began to revolt, I asked my daughter what specifically was that flavor on the fish.  "Mom, that's apricot jam," she said like I should have easily been able to connect the jam fish dots.  "Oh," I said with wonder and amazement of her boldness, while at the same time, barely able to hide my repulsion of the taste.  I asked, "Well, where did you come up with this recipe?"  She clearly stated, "Mom, this isn't a recipe - I remember you put apricot jam on meats."  Great, now I was being handed the blame for this unwinning food coupling combination.  Not wanting to hurt her feelings ,but feeling I needed to let her know that she may have been a bit misinformed, "Yes, you're right I did put it on meats," I said, "but only pork and chicken."   The correct applications for apricot jam appeared to have just flown right over her head as she turned with the spatula and yet another piece of apricot soaked fish came hurtling toward my plate.  Trust me I valued her effort but there was little to no value in the apricot baked talipia.  Another strange combination but a truly great one is bacon and watermelon.  I actually stumbled on that together when I was eating bacon one morning for breakfast and realized I wanted to eat something with it.  What, what would be around to eat?  It was watermelon season and I popped a bite of it in my mouth after I had eaten a piece of bacon.  Wha la!   The flavor combination of that salty bacon mixed with the crisp crunchy sweetness of the watermelon was a 5 star experience.  I have continued to over the years extol to anyone who will take my flavor combination serious, the award winning and often overlooked bacon and watermelon duo.  There have been a couple of family members who had tried that flavor bonanza and have declared, much like me, its greatness.  I love oatmeal with cinnamon and a hit of agave nectar.  I also like sweet wine.  One night while nearly done with my oatmeal I grew thirsty for a glass of sweet red wine.  I poured myself one and took a drink right after a bite of oatmeal. Surprisingly one would image that there is no way that could be good, but it is, most definitely.  Lynn, the food combination critic, gives watermelon and bacon marks for my most favorite and unlikely food combination.  Oatmeal and sweet red wine both good for the heart  But if you see baked fish with something that appears to be apricotish, fake a recent jaw wiring or a seafood allergy, but whatever you do, DO NOT EAT OR HANDLE APRICOT LACED FISH.   

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