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.
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