I experiment a lot with food combinations, and I know enough about their chemistry to avoid the particularly terrible ones. However, I know too little about flavor extracts to apply the same logic.

Just as an example, I've noticed that orange and almond extracts used together give a strong unpleasant taste to the food.

In general, is this just unpleasant tasting or actually harmful? Are there particular combinations of extracts, with food or with other extracts, that I should avoid?

  • Is it possible that your negative experience was the result of adding too much extract? Were you using a recipe that called for a certain amount of orange extract, and decided to then add the same amount of almond, for example? – logophobe Jul 22 '14 at 14:01
  • @logophobe No. In fact the combined amount was much lower than actually called for, because I was just testing it out. That peculiar aftertaste is not something I would care to repeat. :) – metacubed Jul 23 '14 at 1:21

I probably would not recommend eating a box of baking soda and chasing that with shots of vinegar. But aside from that silliness, I can't think of a single thing that is actual "food" that is unsafe mixed with another actual "food", assuming reasonable quantities. Certainly anything with alcohol can be dangerous in huge quantities, as can a lot of other ingredients. Allergies or food sensitivities can make certain ingredients dangerous to certain people. But mixing ingredients to which the individual has no special sensitivity and in normal quantities? No, I don't think you are risking anything by doing so other than unpleasant food.

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    @metacubed: The "citrus and milk" or "acid and milk" thing is nothing but a myth that originally came from one of the more fringe folk medicine areas. People associate curdled milk with spoiled milk, but the former does not imply the latter, unless the curdling was caused by bacteria, and even then many types of bacteria are safe (AKA cheese). Sorry, but you just can't base food safety conclusions on personal experience - our minds are too good at finding patterns in randomness and ignoring all the many variables and non-results. – Aaronut Jul 22 '14 at 14:29
  • (Five minute rule) he Dominicans ( islanders, not monks) make a milk and orange juice drink. This is the link to a website called Clara's Kitchen. The drink is called Morir Sonando. dominicancooking.com/… . Take 6 cups of whole milk mix with 1 cup of sugar. Chill in freezer until very cold. Stir in 3 cups of ice in cubes or crushed form.Slowly add 4 cups of orange juice stirring constantly. Serve immediately. – piquet Jul 23 '14 at 0:01

Be careful when combining lots of extracts that use alcohol as a solvent with lots of caffeine, since there are health concerns around that particular combination. Most applications won't get anywhere near the kinds of levels that article is talking about, but it's theoretically possible to reach that level.

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    Who'd have thought that combining massive quantities of stimulants and depressants could be a problem? Unbelievable! I thought they just canceled each other out and you'd be drinking water! – Aaronut Jul 22 '14 at 14:31

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