SQUAT?! Yesterday we get sound and today we get SQUAT?! Honestly, that’s how I feel.
Me: Hey Daily Post, think you could throw me something relevant like you did yesterday?
Daily Post: Relevant? You want relevant?! You get squat!’
Btw, it’s almost noon Eastern time, and the prompt has 0 responses so far. I find this hilarious.
Well, since I feel like the Daily Post has given me diddly-squat to work with, why don’t you just pop a squat right over there and I’ll talk to you about what I wanted to talk to you about in the first place. Boom. I just used it twice.
So the folks are expected back by the end of the week which means I’ll be surrendering some levels of autonomy and control over the household. Luckily I’ve been able to cook most of the ideas and inspirations and investigations I’ve been wanting to for a while. Now the fun part is thinking back, reflecting, tweaking, hopefully remembering what I did. Hahah. And I did request a modern Filipino cookbook as one of my souvenirs, so I am excited to look into that and see what’s been going on in the Philippines and how I can start incorporating that as well. Time to look back and look forward.
For the most part I’ve actually lived in relative silence this past month and a half. TV would be on while I was watching, my Amazon Alexa and I would play Jeopardy each day, and I’d occasionally mumble to myself, but that’s about it. I usually listen to music at work or while I’m driving. I do love me a long late night drive listening to music.
For me, music is about setting a mood, creating an environment, establishing an atmosphere. When I’m at work, I need to create a mood of calm, an environment of distance, and an atmosphere of indifference towards my fellow man. Hahah. When I’m driving it becomes partly meditative so I love songs with slow rhythms, long notes, and calm, cool tones. When I’m by myself I don’t usually need any external help creating my own internal mental attitude unless in periods of extreme stress, duress, or depression. When I’m with friends I do try to use music to create a mood, get them more psyched and excitable, and when I’m on a date or with someone I might be interested in I find music tastes are a great way to kind of gauge compatibility and engage them in conversation.
That’s why though I do have a cooking playlist on my Spotify that I am constantly looking into and updating, I don’t play it much cooking by myself. I usually use it when I’m cooking for others, especially on a date. But I do love these tracks and I do think they’re great either for cooking or eating, so I wanted to share with you some of the sounds you may have heard in my kitchen or around the table if we were sharing a meal together.
Let’s start by getting set up. Mise en place is gospel for the true chef. As I put on my jacket and start gathering pots, pans, bowls, knives, and boards, I want to be listening to my man Chris Botti. Get a little pep in my step. His album Italia is great and nothing sets the tone for the rest of the night like getting all ‘chef’ed up and looking smooth to the sounds of The Way You Look Tonight. The song gets my toes tapping and I feel like I’m becoming smooth, suave, and sophisticated. Like Sinatra standing before a crowd in a smoky nightclub, mic in hand, I’m getting set up in my kitchen, pots and pans on the stove waiting to be fired, bowls my by side, board in front, and knife in hand. I feel good, I look good, we’re gonna do good.
Okay now that I’ve got everything out and ready, it’s time to start washing, cutting, and prepping all the ingredients. I find it so much easier and less stressful when everything is pre-measured and just set around the stove in convenient little bowls to just be tossed in at the right time. Now keep in mind, you’re handling a very sharp and dangerous instrument here. You want to be cool and confident as you work your knife into a frenzy chopping, slicing, julienning, and schiffenading everything in your path. Like a masterful matador you are dancing with a bull. You want to control the bull, wrestle with it, master it. So naturally you want something with some fiery Spanish blood. Habanera from Carmen is in my cooking playlist as well, and in particular the artist Martynas’s version with him on accordion. Accordion music is awesome, y’all. (No that’s not him in the picture.)
At this point perhaps you are enticed from seeing me move so swiftly and deftly with my preparations that you want to help. You are inspired to join me in this dance around the kitchen as things start to, as we say, ‘heat up’. You’re excited, but scared. You are worried you might mess up. Make a mistake. But that’s okay. There are no mistakes in cooking. That’s the great thing about cooking. You just cook on. So I put the knife in your hand, set some herbs in front of you, wrap my arms around you and guide you. I think you know where this is going. One of the greatest dance scenes in film, and a wonderful cooking song to boot. Por Una Cabeza.
Now it’s time to start cooking! We are firing up the stove and adding some butter or oil to the pans. The butter melts, sizzles, sings. It calls to us. The kitchen begins to smell of the wonderful aroma of butter and we add other aromatics. Garlic, onion, vegetables. We’re simmering and sizzling. A lot of cooking is a matter of the senses. You want to be open enough to the process to figure out what to do. You listen to the sounds of ingredients cooking to tell what temperature they need to be at. You look at the colors as they change, you smell them releasing their flavors and essences. You poke and prick and prod to tell doneness. There is a story being told and you just want to be conscious enough to listen and figure out what’s going on. Take a stroll with your food. Relax. Like a Parisian taking a leisurely stroll along the Reine, so too do you move from one pot to another and add and sautee and season and adjust. And you do so to the sounds of Seul Ce Soir.
As everything starts to pick up pace I start dancing from one place to another. I’m at the kitchen table grabbing more ingredients. I’m at the stove stirring, sauteeing, tasting. I’m by the oven as I place our main course in to roast or bake or broil. I move like a dancer, my feet never firmly on the ground for longer than a second. I am smiling and enjoying this dance, mindful and yet not too focused on the food as it cooks. Instead I find my gaze constantly wandering back to you as you watch me. I read your face, your body, to see how you are reacting. I ask if you can smell what the Rock is cooking, if you’re getting hungry, if you’re happy, if you’re happy here with me. Playfully teasing me, you respond ‘perhaps, perhaps, perhaps’. Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.
Ooh we are smoking now aren’t we?! Speaking of which, everything is almost done now! We have to pick up the pace. Get some more energy. Some pep. Some zing. There’s a fine line between done and over done and we’re getting close to it. We finish on a high note. I want this food just perfect and it is calling to me to be finished. The oven is getting hot. It’s getting stronger and stronger and I can’t fight it much longer. Do you know what we need to finish everything? Some Sexual Healing. And some hot brass.
Well that was quite the ride wasn’t it? But now it’s almost time to eat. So we go to set the table. A wonderful meal deserves an equally wonderful setting. Let’s bring it down now, slow it down, enjoy the buildup to the reward. The clank of forks and knives being drawn from the drawers. The gentle thud of plates on elegant place-mats. The *ksssh* of a match being struck and a candle being lit. The gentle clink of empty glasses being placed together and the calming swish of wine being poured. It’s the night, it’s romance, it’s everywhere. It’s Agua de Marco.
Finally we sit down to dinner together. I smile at you from across a candlelit table. The smell of everything is just tantalizing. We toast our glasses to a wonderful night together and admire our handiwork. I am so happy to have this time with you to cook with you. And as you look down at your plate as the pasta swirls and twirls and spins around your fork I watch you bring your first bite to your lips and think…I’ve Got You Wrapped Around My Little Finger.
That was, honestly, a lot of fun. Hahah. I hope you enjoyed this little culinary adventure together and this glimpse into my cooking playlist. Like I said, set a mood, create an environment, establish an atmosphere. Cheers.
Man: 192 Loneliness: 32