Whether it's a green banana and bacon sandwich or peanut butter and yellow mustard, msnbc.com readers like some bizarre food combinations.
We asked you to share your food cravings and the lengths you'd go to satisfy them. We learned that a five-hour drive for a special roast beef sub isn't out of the question, and what some folks might find, well, unappetizing can give someone else a satisfied "mmmm" feeling.
The most common cravings are for sweet or creamy foods and salty snacks, experts say. Many of you get an urgent need for combinations of salty and sweet together — like Doritos and vanilla ice cream — or salty and sour, like the pickles and potato chips that give C. Sartor of Los Angeles that feel-good feeling.
Stress, boredom and smell are often the biggest triggers for food cravings, although they can also be associated with hormonal fluctuations, as any mother-to-be or woman in the throes of premenstrual syndrome can confirm.
Wanting, not needing
However, contrary to the common assumption, they likely aren't a sign that something's missing from your diet, experts say. Scientists haven't been able to link cravings in humans to specific nutritional deficiencies, says Joy Bauer, TODAY's nutrition expert and author of "Food Cures" (Rodale, 2007). That means the sudden desire to drive to the store in the middle of the night for dill pickles doesn't mean you need more sodium in your diet.
"Cravings are believed to be emotionally or psychologically driven," Bauer says. "People also tend to crave foods they enjoy and associate with pleasurable times and places."
If you're craving something like ice cream, go ahead, have a little and "move on," recommends Bonnie Taub-Dix, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association specializing in emotional eating problems. "If you restrict [yourself] too much, sometimes you’ll crave it even more and that will lead to binges and overeating," she says.
Read on for a taste of some fascinating food cravings from msnbc.com readers.
I crave jalapeno and cilantro flavored pita chips, dipped in garlic humus. I feel almost euphoric after satisfying this craving, very relaxed. Sometimes I have to drive an hour to get them and try 3 or 4 stores, but it is so worth it.
—Tamara, San Diego
Sometimes I put creamy peanut butter on top of a hot hamburger and then top it off with slices of white onion. The peanut butter melts into the meat.....mmmmmm
—Bonnie Scott, Mount Pleasant, Mich.
I love to slice a whole dill pickle up and eat it with chunks of cheddar cheese. ( it must be real dill not kosher) This has been comfort food for me since I was young. My husband refused to even try, one night I told him he had to try it and now he loves to eat it also. Sitting in front of a warm fire watching TV. It's great snack food.
—Vici Brown, Chouteau, Okla.
I drive 5 hours to Waynesburg, Pa., just to have a sub from the South Side Deli made with roast beef, capicoli, swiss and cheddar with everything on it. THE BEST! Worth every mile when the craving hits! I feel great when satisfied...NO guilt...only pleasure!
—Jane Vandegrift, Milford, Ohio
M&Ms dumped into a bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles is what does it for me. That salty and sweet taste combined is a must have at least once a month.
—Tina Wyre, Greensburg, La.
Big Dill Pickles — Mt. Olive to be exact. Mouth waters until I satisfy my craving - even if I have to go out to the 24 hour store to pick up a BIG jar of em! Then all is right with the world!!!!
—Cathy Miliacci, Macedonia, Ohio
Baked bean and white bread sandwiches...with the crusts cut off. Seriously, I wait till my husband goes off on occasional trips and I fix these for myself in secret. Also, I have cravings for a slice of bologna smeared with plain yellow mustard and rolled up...eaten cold and sans bread. Otherwise, I'm sane. Did I mention the cookie cutter I use to cut off my crust?
—Annie, Mentone, Calif.
I constantly crave salty, crunchy and cheesy. Good extra sharp white cheddar cheese with crackers, pretzels, even chips, and when that isn't available, white cheddar popcorn or cheese curls. MMMMM MMMMM GOOD! I do eat whole grain crackers with the cheese.
—Janet Rudock, Richlands, N.C.
I crave raw spaghetti noodles soaked in pickle juice!! It is fantastic when they get almost soggy, but not quite.
—Emily Elzner, Terrell, Texas
Green banana and bacon sandwich with mayonnaise.
—Dianne Ryan, Acworth, Ga.
During one pregnancy I craved bacon fat. I would fry up the bacon and then just dip bread in the bacon fat and eat it. During another pregnancy I would dip sour cream potato chips into vanilla ice cream and eat it.
— Kasi, Hiawassee, Ga.
Potato chip sandwiches. They must be on very fresh bread spread with real butter. I feel comforted (like when I was a kid) after eating one and delightfully naughty.
—Linda Lenox, Portsmouth, Va.
Strawberries and whipped cream and bacon
—Neil Noon, Ocala, Fla.
Nacho jalapeno peppers is my big craving. I like them on baked potatoes, in sandwiches, on salads and just alone out of my gallon jar.
—Jan Rashid, Las Vegas
My husband craves often a peanut butter and mustard sandwich on cheap white bread. YUCK.
—Toni, W. Des Moines, Iowa
I take a pretty healthy snack — cottage cheese — then proceed to totally cancel out any nutritional value by scooping some onto plain potato chips. I know, it's weird ... but strangely satisfying. After I eat it I generally feel disgusted with what I've done, but my tastebuds are completely thrilled.
—Krista, Tucson, Ariz.
I have been craving olives and jalapenos placed on top of carmel swirl ice cream. Noo, I am not pregnant. (Hysterectomy in 1995) No clue why. I just have to have it.
—Thea Yonge, Lake Jackson, Texas
Any kind of chips with lemon juice, jalapeno pepper juice and tabasco sauce.
—Mary, San Antonio, Texas
I have in the past craved "Argo" laundry starch. My mother used to also eat it, as well as other female relatives. I especially craved it once when I was pregnant, but found out the company no longer made the starch, at least not in the desired form that I wanted, which was solid chucks, not the loose powder. I searched every mom & pop store I could find and even called a cousin in California who told me she had to stop eating it because it was no longer sold. I tried to wet the powder form and let it dry to see if I could get it to come out the same, but it didn't. I started eating chipped ice instead.
I personally don't think this is weird, but my family and friends disagree — so here goes... My odd combination is plain potato chips (either flat or ridged, doesn't matter) dipped in mayonnaise. That's it. Just a plain chip dipped in plain mayonnaise. Not any of that low-fat, fat-free, watery stuff, though. The full-fat, full-taste. That's the stuff, baby! I feel fine after indulging. I'm 5'6" and weigh 138 lbs. and I'm happy with my body. I don't feel like the occasional chip/mayo binge is about to do me in. I'm 32 and all my numbers that should be checked are in a better than average position. So, snack on!
—Misty Walker, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
I Love Cheese Curls and Del Monte pears in the can. Salty and sweet. I feel like a dying cockroach, feet and hands in the air, like going to heaven.
—Fred Dennis, Inglewood, Calif.
When I was younger I always had a craving for chocolate chip cookies...on a sandwich....with mayonnaise. Despite what others might think...it was tasty.
—Tila Wymonds, Crescent City, Fla.
I crave candy and chocolate sometimes. I think I need to eat Good & Plenties, Gummy Bears, Laffy Taffy, and Jelly Belly Beans or I won't be able to think of anything else! I even sold some CDs to Record & Tape Traders the other day so that I could have extra money to buy candy! After I indulged I felt satisfied and happy. I crave chocolate especially when I'm suffering from chronic depression. The dopamine in the chocolate carries happy-messengers throughout my brain, triggering a boost in energy and a happy outlook on my life. However, the day after I binge on candy and chocolate I step on the scale and become more depressed after I see that I gained a pound. Then I feel guilty for engaging in such a childish act of bingeing on candy. I guess, in a way, it's an addiction.
—Marie E. Schwartz, Westminster, Md.
Ice cream sandwich & Cheetos, grapes & Lay's potato chips. I love both of these combos. I wouldn't think I would hurt anyone to get these foods, but then again, I really do like them. After indulging my craving, I feel great.
—Brenda Hollingsworth, Dayton, Texas
Ores & salsa
—Gary, Brookfield, Ill.
One of my weirdest cravings is raw Ramen noodles, broke up in a bowl, with hot sauce. As a matter of fact, it is currently one of my favorite snacks. I would have to say that I love it so much, I would go to a grocery store at midnight or later to buy what I needed to subdue the craving. After I eat my snack, I feel extremely satisfied and ready for a nap. Strange, huh??
—Gary Bieder Jr., Woodbridge, Va.