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Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Food Combinations
If anyone tries this on you, the best reply is a deadpan "Oh yeah, that's a common potato chip flavor in Canada."
Title text: If anyone tries this on you, the best reply is a deadpan "Oh yeah, that's a common potato chip flavor in Canada."


Unusual food combinations are often counter-intuitive and can vary wildly by individual taste. Real-world examples of unusual food pairings, such as pickles and peanut butter, French fries in chocolate shake, or even the comfort-food pairing of chicken and waffles, pair sweet, sour, or salty foods with a food or condiment from a different group. In many "normal" food pairings, though, the cross-over between sweet, savory and salty foods also exists, such as ketchup, a very sweet condiment being regularly applied to hamburgers and French fries, both savory and salty foods.

In this comic, Randall lists twelve somewhat random food items. Below these Megan delivers a line to Ponytail and Cueball where she claims that two items of food from the list above (pick any) would be a great combination. Some of these are obviously great together (and much depends on personal taste) but many combination will definitely not be enjoyed by most people living for instance in the US (where Randall is situated). Say ketchup on ice cream or hot chocolate on avocado. But no matter which two Megan chooses the response from Cueball (or anyone else) would be the same - he can see what she means with this combination.

Randall suggests, in the caption below, that by using the right tone of voice, you can put any pair of these food items together as an "actually really good" food combination, and no one will challenge you on it. This can either be because they have likely heard, or tried other unexpected combinations that are highly recommended or liked. But it could also just be because they are polite, or did not really think about what you said due to your tone of voice. Or maybe they are like Joey from Friends who love any combination of food, as long as it is something he think is good by it self - see this clip.

The title text extends the joke by recommending countering such a bizarre proposal with an assertion that the random pairing announced is an actual potato chip flavor popular in Canada. This plays on the fact that in different countries and regions, cultural tastes can vary wildly. For instance, ketchup flavored potato chips are quite popular in Canada, but are almost never offered in US markets. Loblaws and Lay's have run potato chips flavor competition in Canada in 2013-15 with flavors such as Maple Moose, Bacon Poutine, Jalapeño Mac N' Cheese, Cowboy BBQ Beans. Similar strange combinations of potato chips are run, either temporarily or permanently, in other countries including the United Kingdom. In addition, some parts of Canada are used as experimental markets to test new flavors of potatochips.

Table of traditional pairings

  • There are 12 items and they can be combined in a total of 66 different ways.
    • The 66 fields above the black fields are the same as those below - of course it does not matter which order you put them in.
  • As of writing this 24 of these 66 has been ticked of (36,4%).
    • But this has much to do with individual taste.
    • Since the comic is made in the US, it should mainly be combinations that are common in the US.
    • Also remember that even though you personally may not like avocado or relish (etc.), all food items on on the list are something that many people enjoy eating.
    • They are thus NOT disgusting!
    • Do not take personal taste into account when changing the list below!
Traditional pairings found in the list of combinations
Ice Cream Ham Relish Pancakes Ketchup Cheese Eggs Cupcakes Sour Cream Hot Chocolate Avocado Skittles
Ice Cream X
Ham X
Relish X
Pancakes X
Ketchup X
Cheese X
Eggs X
Cupcakes X
Sour Cream X
Hot Chocolate X
Avocado check X
Skittles X


[Megan is talking with Ponytail and Cueball, who has his hand to his chin. Above them in 4x3 black boxes different kind of food is written in white text].
Ice cream Ham Relish
Pancakes Ketchup Cheese
Eggs Cupcakes Sour cream
Hot chocolate Avocado Skittles
Megan: You know what's actually really good?
Megan: ____ and ____.
Megan: food and food
Cueball: Huh. I Guess I can see it.
[Caption below the panel.]
Fun fact: if you say "you know what's
actually really good?" in the right
tone of voice, you can name any
two individually-good foods here
and no one will challenge you one it.

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