I am constantly soundtracking my life. No matter what task I may have in front of me, Step One is always to put on some tunes. I’ve said that music rules my life, even is my life, but I don’t usually stop to think about the why. It’s just how I’m wired. Music can make anything better. This is one of my core beliefs. It has shaped my worldview, my opinions of others, and my opinion of myself. It’s also probably why my girlfriend thinks I’m a music snob. Regardless of the fact that I consider Barry Judd a kindred spirit, I do love my music. I love to listen to it. I love to see it performed live. I love dancing to it (as long as nobody’s watching). But one of my favorite times for music is while I’m cooking. I can get lost in my kitchen the way I get lost in a Bowie record. I just fall in with reckless abandon. But I’ve noticed that certain records push me to make certain types of food. Or it might be that my desire to cook a certain dish influences what I want to listen to. Either way, the following are some of my favorite cooking records.
I fell in love with this record the first time I heard it. The instrumentation, the powerhouse vocals, the lilting harmonies, the fun and pain and anger and love of it all. I was sold. James, Heather, and James transported me to a world of pop sensibility, country twang, indie cred, and rock’n’roll swagger that I never wanted to leave.
RIYC (recommended if you’re cooking) - stir-fry, curry (Indian or Thai), comfort breakfast
These kids have everything you’d want out of a rock band. Sex appeal, huge drums, chunky guitar riffs, and two vocalists; one with a voice as light and sweet as air and the other with the growl of Tom Waits. Imagine a supercharged garage-rock version of the Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell records, without all the depression. This is only their debut album, so be on the lookout for even more greatness from them.
RIYC - tacos, burgers & fries (fresh, not frozen), homemade mushroom raviolo with chunky marinara
I started listening to Whiskeytown when this album came out and I was doing the typical teen angst routine, but that doesn’t lessen how perfect this record is. Brilliant little pop nuggets disguised as country with a touch of the blues. These are songs that everyone can relate to while tapping their toes. I can’t vouch for everything Ryan Adams has put out over the years, but Strangers Almanac has withstood the test of time. It’s gotten me through dark times and tasty recipes.
RIYC – enchiladas, fresh bread, stuffed peppers, ten hour chili in your slowcooker
So there you have it. Come back next time when I’ll probably tell you about what to listen to while walking your dog (eels) or washing dishes (Bloodhound Gang.) Until then, I’ll see you at the record store.
Oh, and I case you were wondering, Maxinquaye by Tricky is great for blogging.