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SONGS ABOUT FOOD AND DRINK

Though food is of­ten used as a metaphor in mu­sic (think Kelis’ Milk­shake), to my knowl­edge there are a sur­pris­ingly small num­ber of songs that are di­rectly about food and food is­sues. Mu­sic and food are so oth­er­wise in­ter­linked; there are shared cre­ative pro­cesses in the making of both and we lis­ten to mu­sic while we cook and eat.

I’ve found it in­ter­est­ing that, in look­ing for more songs about food and drink, I have dis­cov­ered very few main­stream songs that deal with food ac­tivism. In fact, the only one I know of is Neil Young’s Mon­santo Years, about the cor­po­ra­tion’s takeover of small farms in Amer­ica through seed patent­ing. Mu­sic and so­cial ac­tivism go hand in hand as a hugely ef­fec­tive way to spread ideas. It’s in­ter­est­ing to me that it doesn’t seem to be ap­pro­pri­ate to sing about real food is­sues.

Per­haps it’s be­cause we largely as­so­ciate food in mu­sic with silly songs, such as Peaches by The Pres­i­dents of The United States of Amer­ica. One of my other favourite songs in the genre of “silly” is Lime in the Co­conut from Harry Nils­son’s 1971 al­bum Nils­son Sch­mils­son. It tells the story of a brother and sis­ter who drinks a home­made po­tion of lime and co­conut juice. When the sis­ter starts to feel sick, they rush to get the doc­tor, who ends up pre­scrib­ing a tonic of lime juice mixed with co­conut juice.

Ge­orge Har­ri­son wrote a song about Eric Clap­ton’s sweet tooth called Savoy Truf­fle, from The Bea­tles’ White Al­bum (1968). Not only is it an in­spi­ra­tion for your next 1960s-in­spired buf­fet and cock­tail party (crème tan­ger­ine, mon­te­limat nougat, cof­fee desserts, gin­ger sling and, of course, Savoy truf­fles could all fea­ture on the menu), it also cap­tured some­thing small but in­sight­ful about a pop­u­lar cul­ture

The food­i­est hip-hop al­bum ever made

fig­ure; Eric Clap­ton likes to eat sweets, and per­haps eats too many of them. He must have, if his friend Ge­orge was in­spired to write a song pok­ing fun at this weak­ness. The song warns Eric that he’ll have to get his teeth pulled if he keeps go­ing af­ter the Savoy chocolate truf­fles. It gives me the im­pres­sion of a very sweet, in­no­cent and play­ful friend­ship be­tween Ge­orge and Eric. Un­less this song was writ­ten af­ter the love tri­an­gle with Pat­tie Boyd be­gan to take shape; in which case, it’s darkly pas­siveag­gres­sive.

Bloated with metaphor

Mm. Food is the 2004 al­bum by the enig­matic Amer­i­can MC and pro­ducer MF Doom, and is bloated with food ref­er­ences and metaphors, and of­fers more of a sub­stan­tial meal lyri­cally than the songs men­tioned above.

It em­ploys the clas­sic hip-hop mech­a­nism of sam­ples, from mu­sic li­braries as well as from cin­ema’s ar­chives, to blend and link tracks to­gether. Ker­mit and Fozzy turn up at one point. Though the al­bum in­cludes un­savoury ti­tles such as Hoe Cakes, Vomit­spit and Poo-Putt Plat­ter, it con­stantly plays on words with one life in food and an­other in hip-hop, such as Beef Rap; beef as in slow-braised short ribs and beef as in a row with your ad­ver­sary.

The best track, and I’m not just say­ing this, is prob­a­bly Guin­nesses, which fea­tures An­ge­lika and 4ize. An­ge­lika raps that “I shoulda deaded it from ge­n­e­sis, ‘stead of hit­tin’ the Guin­nesses” in ref­er­ence to the ap­peal of turn­ing to drink af­ter a tough break-up. MF Doom is an in­trigu­ing char­ac­ter; he wears a mask and was once nearly two hours late for a show in Dublin, offering no ex­pla­na­tion when he fi­nally showed up – and killed it. This al­bum is a strong in­tro­duc­tion to this ab­sorb­ing artist.

To fin­ish, the 1973 al­bum Heart Food by folk singer Judee Sill is my cheat’s en­try. This is one of those cases where a culi­nary word is used to sig­nify some­thing else, used ob­vi­ously here to de­scribe the ways we can feed our hearts and soul.

Sill, who died of a drug over­dose at the age 35, had a tur­bu­lent life and this al­bum cap­tures a long­ing for the peace and calm that comes from self-care. This swelling, or­ches­tral and mov­ing al­bum should be the next thing you lis­ten to. I bake to it all the time.

Aoife McEl­wain

makes sense. The culi­nary tra­di­tions of Greece, Tur­key and Egypt have been swapped and shared through­out the ages, and it’s th­ese that Keshk’s menu fo­cuses on.

The hum­mus (¤6.50) has a grainy, home­made tex­ture, rather than sus­pi­ciously smooth, and pleas­antly bit­ter with tahini. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing pitta breads are soft, round and fluffy, served warm. The feta frit­ters (¤6.75) are large chunks of feta cov­ered in a coat of bat­ter and deep-fried, as op­posed to crum­bled feta in a bat­ter with mixed veg­eta­bles. The feta is in­tense served this way, but the grilled cour­gette that ac­com­pany them go some way to tem­per them.

A kafta in gar­lic but­ter (¤16.95) is more like a meat­ball in a creamy curry sauce. The meat is flavoured well and cooked on a char­coal grill. The sauce it­self has re­deem­ing qual­i­ties but as a dish, with the ac­com­pa­ny­ing rice, it doesn’t ex­cite. The falafel (¤15.95 for six pieces with a side salad and more fluffy pitta bread) are good, if a lit­tle dry. The desserts are the usual sus­pects of chocolate fudge cake and ice cream, the baklava (¤5.50) be­ing the top choice for dessert.

The ser­vice is friendly and ef­fi­cient. The dé­cor in­cludes paint­ings of kash­bahs and med­i­nas on the walls, and in­stead of go­ing for the full on Mid­dle East­ern plush palace, the look is in­stead clean and comfy, if a lit­tle out­dated and bland. Keshk is of­ten noted for its bring your own beer or wine pol­icy, and the fact that it has no cork­age fee or ex­tra charge for this.

They’re open for lunch, too, and serve most of the din­ner menu at lunchtime prices. They also do take­away and are on De­liv­eroo, so you can in­dulge in their hum­mus in the com­fort of your own home.

Hansel & Gre­tel Bak­ery & Patis­serie

20 Clare Street, Dublin 2 face­book.com/Hanse­land GretelBak­eryPatis­serie ¤ The story of Hansel & Gre­tel is, like all the Grimm Broth­ers’ tales, a pretty scary one in­volv­ing a child-eat­ing witch. The only light­ness about the story is that the chil­dren’s hope em­bod­ied by the trail of bread the leave be­hind them. They in­no­cently be­lieve that they will be able to make their way home again.

The Hansel & Gre­tel Bak­ery on Dublin’s Clare Street, be­tween the Na­tional Gallery and Mer­rion Square, is a trap for those fond of dough. This small bak­ery, which presents its treats, both savoury and sweet, on vin­tage dressers and mis­matched ta­bles. Ev­ery­thing is made in their bak­ery in Ash­bourne, Co Meath, baked fresh and trans­ported to the city cen­tre ev­ery morn­ing.

In the win­dow, mounds of crois­sants and break­fast pas­tries wink at passers-by on the street. One of the finest pas­tries I’ve had in this city re­mains a sticky rhubarb pain au parisien (¤2.35), a kind of open crois­sant whose con­tents are on full dis­play.

There are whole loaves of bread for sale, such as the large round of sour­dough (¤3.95). The bread is also put to good use in an ar­ray of

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