Cook and Dance

To show how music can affect one’s emotions, my husband came home the other day telling me that he had been listening to Andrea Bocelli and Sara Brightman singing “Time to Say Goodbye.” We both sighed, understanding that this song had been our daughter’s favorite when she was between 3 months and two years old.  I had rocked her to that t music  when she was too small to stand, and after she could walk, the minute she heard the song, she would signal either to my husband or to me that she wanted to dance.  “Dance, ” is too generous a word, because what it was, we each held her in our arms and moved our feet around the floor.  But it was a wonderful time, all brought back by the music.

I’ve heard that the medical establishment uses music for stroke victims to try to bring back their memories.  Music is also used in some operating rooms to calm the patient who is under the knife.  For me, whenever I hear “Time to Say Goodbye,” whether now or years from now will remind me of holding my baby in my arms and moving to that music.

If you are asking yourself, “what does this all have to do with food, “I’m glad you asked, because I’m going to tell you.  If you’ve ever seen the Spanish language movie, “Like Water for Chocolate,” you will begin to understand how music and food can combine.  The leading lady’s cooking reflected her emotion of the moment.  When she was happy, her guests were made happy. Her food made them laugh and enjoy themselves.  When she was sad while she cooked, anyone who tasted her food began crying.

I discovered that my cooking is affected by the music I’m listening to.  When I am hearing good music while I’m cooking, those who are eating overdo the complements.  When the music is not so good, or if it is sad, or if there is no music, or if I feel that cooking that day is an ordeal, my food turns out bland, there are only complaints fro my family.

Now I’ve arranged different music for the different kinds of food that I cook.  It was done by trial and error, but I have a music library for whatever cuisine I want to try.  For example, when I’m making a baklava, I’ve found that Pavarotti’s La Donna Mobile is not good choice.  When I tried it the first time I was preparing filo dough, I caught myself conducting the music with the butter brush, and I had to clean the butter off the walls and ceiling when I was done.  Now, for filo dough, I put on either Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone, or Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

For French food, Charles Aznavour is the favorite, along with Brahms First Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, as an alternative.  For Spinach pies, which are somewhat labor intensive, I listen to the Gypsy Kings whose South American music makes one want to leap in the air.

After finishing cooking, the best music for cleaning the big mess in the kitchen is Belly Dance Music, which compels me to move both right and left, and to lift pots and pans.

The best result of all this accompaniment is that I serve dinner to my family  in good mood body and soul, which means my family are too.


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