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Jan 13, 2008 01:11 PM

Pairing Food with Music

From the minute I begin prepping for dinner, throughout the cooking, dining and meal clean-up, if it's Italian I'm cooking I've got Italian music playing in the background. Andrea Bocelli works well for me, and so does (some) Pavarotti, but I also enjoy "Dean Martin Sings Italian Favorites" as well as a couple of "generic" Italian CDs that have all those old songs everyone recognizes (Santa Lucia, Funiculi, Funicula, etc.) Hokey, sure, but for me, it's all part of the joy of cooking and eating Italian.

But I'm without a musical repertoire for other ethnic cuisines. What music should I be listening to when the menu is Mexican? ...or Asian? ...or Greek? ...or French? And, in addition to the music, are there other things you do to add "ethnic ambiance" to your at-home dining experiences?

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  1. I've been given cookbooks with music CDs. There is a series:

    Personally, I like quiet when I can get it, and that includes meal prep. But, the adding ethnic ambiance reminds me of Sandra Lee spending time changing her drapes and tablescapes to match what she's semi-cooked.

    1 Reply
    1. re: chowser

      Well, depending on what it is I'm eating, I've been known to end a meal with my clothing matching the colors of the food on my plate. :)

      In all seriousness, though, I DO give consideration to the colors of the food I'm serving, and try to choose my dinnerware to enhance the look of the food.

    2. Great post. During my mise en place: slicing, mincing, pounding, filleting, whisking, etc, I usually play kick-ass rock and roll, always with a glass of wine. Huey Lewis can be very motivating. As soon as something starts to smell good (usually the garlic) and I can wipe my brow, I switch to one of the 3 tenors, or classical, before the guests arrive.
      Mealtime: unclear. Mexican -try The Gypsy Kings. Otherwise, I go with Serius classic.
      Asian or Greek, I defer to others..

      1 Reply
      1. re: Veggo

        I usually don't listen to music when I'm cooking a simple meal. When I'm preparing something more elaborate or for guests I usually have 1980's alternative music on in the background because that helps me get into a happy and festive mood. After this post I'm going to try to make a game out of it. Pairing music to food. This weekend I promised my husband Mexican and I'm going to break out the Selena soundtrack.

      2. What a fun post!

        When I'm preparing something that I'm familiar with or is somewhat tedious, i.e. I can make it in my sleep, or I'm having to do a lot of chopping, that sort of thing...then I like to play stuff that I can really sing to. The Moulin Rouge and Wicked soundtracks are favorites, or stuff like Evanescence, Tori Amos, Dave Matthews...I guess it's more song-specific than artist specific. I have a running list of really good belting tunes :-)

        If it's something that requires more finesse and attention, I prefer instrumentals; Barber's Adagio for strings, or Jesse Cook-esque flamenco.

        I love the idea of having ethnically themed music though - will definitely give that a try! Tonight is Mexican, tomorrow Italian...this should be fun! :-)

        3 Replies
        1. re: Aloo0628

          DO tell me about your Mexican music selections.

          1. re: Aloo0628

            I love to sing while I cook, and even more when I have to do the dishes.

            1. re: mordacity

              If I sang while I did the dishes, I'd have no help in the kitchen.

          2. I love listening to Putamayo when cooking.

            1. Although I don't usually match my music to my cuisine..... (Led Zeppelin while making Marcella's Bolognese, anyone?) I do have to listen to merengue, salsa and bachata when trying to replicate my Mom's Dominican cooking. It gets me in the mood and it helps me channel the Dominican Culinary Gods! LOL

              1 Reply
              1. re: HungryRubia

                That's totally me! I love blasting some Zeppelin when cooking for some reason. I also really like some of the Putomayo stuff, on other occasions.