The idea of combining the wrong food pairings such as protein and starch, or protein powder in a sugary or fruity smoothie with hidden vegetables and served as dessert or "whole meal" breakfast drinks may remind some people of the words in Shakespeare's Henry IV, referring to "an ill wind which blows no man to good." But the right food pairings can help tone down flatulence after dinner or around bed time. The trick is not to mix proteins or protein powder with sugary, fruity, or vegetables or not mix meat and starches in the same meal.
That means the burger and fries or meat and potatoes won't go well with a dessert of ice cream, sherbet, or sweet fruit. Try resistant starches such as legumes by themselves instead of with starch at the same meal. If you want to combine rice and beans, eat the beans at one meal with vegetables or legumes, and hours later, the rice, pasta, or potatoes. Vegetables can be eaten with the beans or legumes rather than animal protein and rice or other starches. Sometimes rice cooked with lentils eaten around 5:00 p.m. produces flatulence by bedtime for many people. Or garbanzo beans (resistant starch) whipped with seeds instead of simple starches can tone down flatulence.
Fats can be eaten with meats rather than starches. And certain resistant starches combined with nuts or seeds can done down flatulence in some people, but cause flatulence in others if the fats are combined with simple starches and other vegetables besides the resistant starch and the fatty seeds or nuts.
That's why often lemon juice is added to hummus, a combination of pureed sesame seeds with garbanzo beans/chickpeas. Lemon although tart, is actually alkaline in the body. On the other hand, oil-fried ground raw or soaked garbanzo beans or garbanzo bean flour mixed with ground split peas, as in a falafel patty, can bring on the flatulence in some people who combine it with animal protein such as ground meat or seafood on a dinner plate.
Instead, you can wrap resistant starches such as legumes in grape vine leaves (cooked) instead of serving grape vine leaves or cabbage rolls stuffed with starchy rice mixed with ground meat. Serve one or the other rather than combining the two at the same meal. Although beans and rice make a more complete protein, eat them at separate meals or eat the rice by itself or with vegetables rather than with a high protein and fat food such as ground meat.
Scientists are studying the reasons why people in different parts of the world prefer specific food pairings
Why do American kids and families love shared flavors on their menus more than in other countries not influenced by USA cuisine? One or two centuries ago, those 12 course meals were followed by the 'vapors.' If someone gets the 'vapors,' you leave the room, even though some Victorian-era books say the person with the 'vapors' should leave the area of company.
Pairing food by flavors
People have been pairing foods for centuries based on flavor pairings such as chocolate and mint, carrot juice and hot cocoa mixed, or a salad dressing of lime juice instead of oils over chopped apples mixed with mashed avocado. Check out the December 15, 2011 news release from Indiana University, "Shared flavor compounds show up on US menus, rare in Asian cuisines."
What flavor compounds do North Americans and Western Europeans love most, including the kids? It's a mix of different flavors such as tart vegetable combined with cheese. In Asia, kids don't get too many mixed ingredients. There are fewer mixes of shared flavors.
Scientists found in this latest study that there were also ingredients in East Asian cuisine -- beef, ginger, pork, cayenne, chicken and onion -- that were the top contributors to an overall negative shared compound effect on food pairing. In Asian cuisine served in numerous USA restaurants, there's the mix of star anise, ginger, celery, bok choy, Asian broccoli, and onion combined with soy sauce or coconut milk and coconut oil found in many Asian restaurants in the USA that are preferred by North Americans.
Is it about combining animal protein with spices and saturated oils or fats? What makes Asian cuisine so tasty to Western Europeans and North Americans? Could it be the sugar and cornstarch or tapioca starch, the oil added to the food, or the heavy salt instead of pepper? Or could it be in some restaurants the use of MSG as a flavor extender to bring people back for more just for the neuro-excitement of the flavor?
In the West, it's more about combining tart or starchy vegetables with cheese, for example fingerling potatoes dipped in melted Swiss types of cheeses or Parmesan cheese melted over tomato products. So scientists broke down the chemical parts in these foods to find out why certain parts of the world prefer specific combinations of flavors, more, or fewer combinations of flavors.
North Americans and Western Europeans love a good mix of alpha-terpineol, 4-methylpentanoic acid and ethyl propionate for dinner, flavor compounds shared in popular ingredients like tomatoes, parmesan cheese and white wine. Authentic East Asian recipes, on the other hand, tend to avoid mixing ingredients with many shared flavor compounds, according to new complex networks research from Indiana, Harvard, Cambridge and Northeastern universities.
In a search to uncover the patterns and principles people use in choosing ingredient combinations beyond individual taste and recipes, a team that included Indiana University Bloomington School of Informatics and Computing Assistant Professor Yong-Yeol Ahn looked at the key ingredients of 56,498 online recipes and then analyzed those ingredients for shared flavor compounds. The recipes came from three online recipe repositories: epicurious.com and allrecipes.com from the U.S. and the Korean menupan.com.
Over the past decades, some food scientists and chefs have developed a food pairing hypothesis which states that ingredients sharing flavor compounds are more likely to taste good together than ingredients that do not. Some application of this can be found at contemporary restaurants that successfully pair white chocolate and caviar, ingredients that both contain trimethylamine and other flavor compounds, or chocolate and blue cheese, which share at least 73 flavor compounds.
Ahn, who is also affiliated with the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research operated by SOIC and IU's Pervasive Technology Institute, said that by creating a flavor network that captures the flavor compounds shared by culinary ingredients, the team could reformulate the food pairing hypothesis into a hypothesis on the graph-topological properties of recipes in the flavor network. Statistical tests can then be used to unveil the connectedness, or the lack thereof, of ingredients and flavor compounds.
In this case, they took 381 ingredients from the group of recipes, along with an associated 1,021 flavor compounds that contributed flavor to those ingredients, and created a flavor network where ingredients are connected if they share at least one flavor compound.
"What we showed was that the recipes in North American cuisine tend to share more flavor compounds than expected. The most authentic ingredient pairs and triplets in North American cuisine also tend to share multiple flavor compounds, while compound-sharing links are rare among the most authentic combinations in East Asian cuisine," Ahn explained in the news release, "Shared flavor compounds show up on US menus, rare in Asian cuisines."
Their analysis also referenced that the number of actual recipes in use, on the order of about 106, was tiny when compared to the large number of potential recipes (over 1,015). "We identified frequently used ingredients that contributed positively to the food pairing effect in North American cuisine, like milk, butter, cocoa, vanilla, cream and eggs," Ahn said in the press release. "These played a disproportionate role, as 13 key ingredients that contributed to a shared compound effect were found in 74.4 percent of North American recipes." Is the study more about why people prefer certain types of food pairings in various geographic locations?
There were also ingredients in East Asian cuisine -- beef, ginger, pork, cayenne, chicken and onion -- that were the top contributors to an overall negative shared compound effect on food pairing. One future goal of the research would be to build an accessible infrastructure using more detailed data sets that incorporate the quantity information of flavor compounds, again advancing the use of data-driven network analysis methods that have transformed biology and the social sciences to yield new insights into food science.
Another interesting venue of research is studying the evolution of recipes. A recently published recipe-evolution model suggested that the staple ingredients consist of old ingredients (founders) and highly "fit" ingredients. "Among highly prevalent ingredients, we can see old ingredients that have been used in the same geographic region for thousands of years," Ahn said. "Yet there are also relatively new ingredients like tomatoes, potatoes and peppers that were introduced to Europe and Asia just a few hundred years ago. Though new, they are now staple ingredients."
Co-authors on the paper with Ahn were Sebastian E. Ahnert of Northeastern and Cambridge, and James P. Bagrow and Albert-László Barabási, both of Northeastern and Harvard. Like the other authors, Ahn is also affiliated with the Northeastern Department of Physics' Center for Complex Network Research, and like Ahnert and Barabási, with Harvard's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Center for Cancer Systems Biology.
Check out the study published on, Dec. 15, 2011 in Scientific Reports as "Flavor network and the principles of food pairing." Research was supported by the James S. McDonnell Foundation 21st Century Initiative in Studying Complex Systems. Also 'Tweet' Indiana University science news: @IndianaScience. Also see, Flavor network and the principles of food pairing - Indiana University.