Shhh…I’m cooking…


Shhh…I'm cooking...

I’m kidding. Silence in the kitchen is impossible, My kitchen makes its own sounds anyway for a start. From the kettle rumbling to a pot bubbling, the gas gently whispering to the extractor fan humming. Cupboards opening and closing like an off beat percussion section, taps burbling away into the sink or a pan, and the cat moaning she has not been fed for at least ten minutes. I love sound in my kitchen. If it is after 7pm it will be music, from either my Spotify account on my laptop or from my i pod in its rather monolithic-looking dock. Before then, I often cook to the radio – often the news – though once it becomes cyclical it goes off.

So what do I listen to? Oddly I like the music to not to be too fast if I am concentrating – it is a little like when I drive – the faster the music, the faster I seem to drive. Not great when you are wielding a razor sharp knife! Sometimes, when I am cooking a new dish or trying to create one, then I have something familiar, often Chet Baker (what a sound!), especially later at night. Or the Spanish band Mana, or Sinatra. I don’t think it is a conscious choice but I have noted they are what what I turn to. If I am feeling confident and want a buzz I always turn to Morrissey. I feel alive when he comes on and I just love chopping and slicing, whisking and mixing, sizzling and stirring to Moz. I also find that a slice of Dylan mellows me as I cook. I also like putting the i pod on shuffle whilst I prepare dishes – though I find it hilarious when it suddenly turns up a Christmas tune and I can’t get to the machine to change it in time – bright sunshine outside and the kitchen suddenly filled with Hark the Herald Angels Sing. I also have afternoons – seems to be usually afternoons rather than evenings – when I fancy sautéing to a little classical music – especially Mozart – or maybe a little Pavarotti or Bocelli, even some Il Divo to hum along to.

I like background music too. I very rarely have no radio or music playing. I adore foreign music – I often have not a whit of a clue what they are singing about – in an odd way maybe I concentrate more when I don’t always know the meaning! – nonetheless I adore music by the Gypsy Kings, Stromae. Grand Corps Malade (good for very mellow, dramatic food!) Pablo Alboran and a real favourite for those electric tango lovers out there (there must be some!) the Gotan Project. I swear I move better, more ergonomically, around the kitchen to their music!

Hey, I love all kinds of music – the above I go back to regularly but I can happily cook to the late great and much missed Amy Winehouse, the pictured above and beautifully coiffured Mr Bowie, Mumford and Sons ( I have to have them on loud ), Lou Reed or Dire Straits. If I need instantly chivvying into action, I need an audio adrenaline boost of Roxy Music – that does the trick. Do I think about what I am putting on? Yes, sometimes – but often I just go with the mood. I couldn’t listen to indiscriminate music radio whilst I cook – I am not a fan of waffling DJs or adverts. And their choice of music is invariably not mine. I also get distracted if I have current affairs radio progs on – as I find myself stopping to listen to what is being discussed. Not helpful if things are boiling over around me whilst I argue the toss with an opinionated radio presenter who cannot hear me anyway (it doesn’t stop me) or I am engrossed in the plight of some disembodied tragic soul who is on a radio phone in. But as I said earlier , the news is ok for half an hour.

I have placed a few tracks on the Music to Cook To widget on the left hand side below my food photos – just for fun. I may add more in time.

I also love having folk in the kitchen whilst I cook – as well as the music – I love the banter of my kids, catching up what their day has been like, or when friends are around having a drink together whilst I prepare / finish off dishes. Their presence doesn’t phase me. The kitchen is a little like a stage set for me – actors entering and leaving, lots of action, moments of pathos and angst, moments of magic, a place to laugh a lot and get steamed up. A place to create dreams and a place to get audience participation and reaction in the best way possible – some helping to prepare occasionally ,and all, ultimately, centre stage as they dig in to the dish of the day!

The kitchen is my favourite place.

But it is rarely, if ever, silent! Music may be the food of love….but it also helps with the love of food!

IMG_5053I’m just off to Alfredo’s!

IMG_4524Sorry, Lady Gaga, tonight I am in the kitchen..but you can come and sing to me if you like!