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13 Popular Food And Drink Combos

Kelli Shiroma |
December 3, 2013 | 11:29 a.m. PST

Food Editor

Donuts and coffee might actually be a great start to your morning, studies show (Max Braun / Flickr).
Donuts and coffee might actually be a great start to your morning, studies show (Max Braun / Flickr).
Milk and cookies. Chicken wings and beer. Cheese and wine. 

Some pairs just can’t be broken and are defining of our American food culture. Similar to peanut butter and jelly, pancakes and syrup, and ice cream and cake, these food-and-drink combos are often ordered, sought, requested and found together.   

1. Donuts and Coffee

Thanks to companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, this pastry-and-coffee combo has become a staple in many morning diets. The sugary snacks are often offset or mellowed out by the more-bitter drink. However, NBC reported in 2010 that researchers at the University of Barcelona discovered that the glucose-caffeine medley could boost the human brain in terms of memory and attention. The coffee-sugar combo was tested on a variety of subjects, and results showed that this mix had beneficial effects on learning, verbal memory and attention span. 

2. Bratwurst and Beer

These two items are often combined in one dish to create “beer brats” — bratwursts simmered in a mixture of onions, beer and seasonings before being finished on the grill. This savory, flavorful combo is often found at football parties, tailgates and Superbowl parties. The Food Network and other foodie-friendly sites offer up numerous ways to cook these bad boys. 

3. Ice Cream and Root Beer

These two items are essential to make the iconic root beer float. This sweet indulgence is seemingly simple to create, but when you think about the types of vanilla ice cream coupled with the various kinds of root beer available, the possibilities are endless.

Burgers and milkshakes are often ordered at In-N-Out Burger (Wikimedia Commons).
Burgers and milkshakes are often ordered at In-N-Out Burger (Wikimedia Commons).
4. Burgers and Milkshakes

Nothing signifies America more than burgers and milkshakes. Ever-popular at In-N-Out Burger—can we say an Animal-style “Double-Double” with a “Neopolitan” shake?—this burger-and-milkshake combo is often requested all across the country, whether it’s at fast food joints, diners, or gourmet burger eateries. This classic comfort meal even got a healthy twist on an episode of the “TODAY” Show earlier this year. 

5. Oatmeal and Orange Juice

Oatmeal and orange juice might seem to be a common breakfast combo, but according to Men’s Health, this mix might be more powerful than you think. Men’s Health reported that a study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that drinking orange juice—which is rich in vitamin C—while eating oatmeal prevents heart attacks and cleans you arteries with two times as much efficacy than if you were to eat either breakfast items alone. The organic compounds in both foods were found to stabilize the body’s “bad cholesterol” when consumed together, the study showed

6. Marshmallows and Hot Chocolate

Hot cocoa just isn’t complete without soft, billowy marshmallows. Not only do they add some texture to the sweet drink, but you have to admit — it’s kind of fun to swirl the hot chocolate and watch the white pillows dissolve into a gooey mess. 

7. Cookies and Milk

Milk and cookies are often nostalgically remembered as after-school snacks during childhood, the perfect post-dinner treats or the necessities to ensure a visit from Santa Clause. But whether it’s chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies and whole, skim or soy milk, this sweet snack-and-drink combo remains a popular one for kids (and adults) of all ages. Oreo, in particular, is specifically deemed as “milk’s favorite cookie” and are often consumed by dunking the chocolate-vanilla sandwich treats into a cold, creamy glass of milk. 

8. French Fries and Milkshakes

Many people associate dipping salty French fries into creamy milkshakes as a practice done with McDonalds fries and Wendy’s Frosty shakes, but the same can be done at Chick-Fil-A (waffle potato fries and milkshakes), Jack in the Box (French fries or seasoned curly fries with ice cream shakes), Arby’s (homestyle fries or curly fries with shakes) or any other fast food place that sells decent fries and sweet shakes. There’s even a Facebook page dedicated to this art. 

9. Cheese and Wine

Popular in picnic, party, or intimate/fancy dinner settings, wine and cheese is a classic combo. Cheese platters are often served with wine to bring out the latter’s flavor and enhance it. White wine generally matches well with soft cheeses, while red wine complements hard cheeses. Common examples include Chardonnay with mild cheddar and Cabernet with brie.

Chicken wings and beer are staples at any football tailgate (stu_spivack / Flickr).
Chicken wings and beer are staples at any football tailgate (stu_spivack / Flickr).
10. Chicken Wings and Beer

At any football tailgate or Superbowl party, you’ll be sure to find chicken wings and beer combos of many types, ranging from mild/spicy wings to a variety of beers to wash said wings down with. In fact, here’s a guide to some of the best chicken-and-beer pairings. 

11. Pizza and Soda

It’s not a matter of if you want soda with your pizza … it’s what type of soda you want—Dr. Pepper? Coca Cola? Pepsi?—with your pepperoni/cheese/pepperoni-mushroom/supreme pizza. Pizza and soda are just two items that go hand-in-hand, whether they are served at kids’ birthday parties, football tailgates, potlucks or backyard bar-b-cues. 

12. Fried Chicken and Sweet/Iced Tea

Delicious, crispy fried chicken washed down with iced or sweet tea is classic Southern fare. Fast food joints like KFC and Popeyes as well as restaurants boasting Southern cuisine—like Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que and Famous Dave’s—often provide varieties of these classic comfort dishes.  

13. Steak and Red Wine

Red wine is often paired with steak or beef because the bold flavors (like that of plum, spice, black currant or cherry) complement perfectly with dark, rich meats. Merlots or pinot noirs are often paired with beef dishes for this very reason. 

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