Say you find yourself at dinnertime with, oh, a dozen Brussels sprouts, what's left of the frozen shrimp, a wedge or two of some cheese, and your everyday assortment of pantry items. If you have no idea how to bring it all together, forget about trying to plug the contents of your kitchen in Google's interesting but overwhelming Recipes Search.
Instead, refer to Information is Beautiful's ingenious “Taste Buds” infographic to see which flavors complement certain foods. This, in other words, is the closest thing to a home kitchen version of Carson Kressley you will ever have.
To create the chart, Information is Beautiful analyzed 1000 recipes on BBC Food and Epicurious and picked out common flavor patterns and food pairings. Their resulting infographic might be the most organized mind map we've ever seen: food is broadly categorized under general headings (Poultry, Root Vegetables, Fish, etc.). Specific ingredients branch out from those general categories; find your ingredient and follow its branches to see matching ingredients and flavors. Those Brussels sprouts, for example, will not only go well with bacon (natch), but also the chestnuts you picked up at the farmers market this week. And the shrimp you have defrosting probably will be great tossed with spices you may have on hand, like coriander or curry.
As the group suggests, this “infoodgraphic” is “a good way to build a meal, maybe, if you lack a chef's intuitive buds.” Or, might we add, if it's the end of the day, the family is hungry, your brain is too fried to follow an organized recipe, and you just can't muster up the energy to remember that asparagus is great with poached eggs.
“Taste Buds” was created in 2009 for Information is Beautiful's beautiful book. In addition to now being online, it's also available for sale as a a high-resolution download. Remember, though, the infoodgraphic won't tell you which shoes to wear with those pants tomorrow. It'll only tell you how to dress your plate.