Where food and music overlap
By Rachel Hergett EBS COLUMNIST
Long before I considered myself a foodie, when Kraft mac and cheese and cherry popsicles were certainly the height of culinary genius, my grandparents got a karaoke machine.
Most children would play the instrumental tapes, follow the provided lyrics sheets, sing to their heart’s content and let that be the whole story. I was not that child.
Even at five years old, I saw the possibilities of the thing. Those tape decks didn’t just play, they recorded. And I, fascinated by the voice of Casey Kasem counting down the Top 40, started creating my own radio show. I would pick a song that was hot at the moment, use the microphone to lay down an intro (sometimes with my cousin as co-host), and wait with my hand over the record button in an attempt to capture that particular song as it played over the actual radio.
So, in a food column, why does any of this matter? Well, food, like writing or music, is inherently creative. Overlap is inevitable. Often, when I sit down with a chef to talk about their work, the conversation turns to the kitchen soundtrack. Music keeps the kitchen going strong. And musicians sure as hell love to sing about what’s cooking.
The seed of this column is really a playlist inspired by my love of food, one I intend to dive into on the Magic Monday Show this week. See, my childhood radio dreams did come true. I’m no Kasem, but I have been a DJ on KGLT FM for more than two decades. In that time, my tastes have expanded, both musically and gastronomically. I’ve been contemplating where they overlap for months.
Like music, certain dishes can inspire memories. Whether the music is about “Green Onions,” “Quiche Lorraine,” “Pork and Beans,” “Ham ‘N’ Eggs,” or “Apples and Bananas,” it is clear that someone likes to “eat, eat, eat” them.
One favorite musical topic is the hamburger. Blaze Foley uses the burger as an overall mark of contentment in “Big Cheeseburgers & Good French Fries.” Similarly, Charlie Pride waxed nostalgic in his “Burgers and Fries,” singing, “It was simple and good back then.” Other burger-themed songs include Commander Cody’s “Triple Cheese,” Little Feat’s “Hamburger Midnight” and pretty much the entire soundtrack of “Bob’s Burgers.” Southern California punk band Descendents even drop burgers into their 17-second banger “I Like Food.”
“I like food. Food tastes good. Juicy burgers, greasy fries, turkey legs and raw fish eyes,” they sing.
And we certainly can’t forget “Cheeseburger in Paradise,” in which Jimmy Buffett speaks his dreams about “a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat.” Buffett has certainly capitalized on the songs he has written about consumables, with a chain of Margaritaville restaurant bars that have expanded into full resort experiences. I’m pretty sure you won’t have to ever search for a lost shaker of salt.
Maybe the crossover is inevitable. We all eat. We all have memories related to food and to music. Sometimes they overlap.
I knew the words to “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” long before I tried the dish, or filé gumbo. I have yet to experience crawfish pie.
And though I have never put a lime in a coconut, I know drinking a bowl up is a surefire way to make one feel better.
These songs and many others are in my growing Spotify playlist. On Monday, Aug. 7, from noon to 3 p.m., I’ll feature the playlist on my Magic Monday Show on KGLT.
KGLT broadcasts at 91.9 FM in Big Sky and Bozeman. For a complete list of translators, streaming and more information, visit www.kglt.net.