Category Archives: Food

The java jive

 

The universal availability and divergent imagery of coffee in people’s lives has been expressed in popular music more often than many of us realize. “You’re the cream in my coffee: A discography of java jive” by B. Lee Cooper and William Schurk (Popular music and society XXIII/2 [summer 1999] pp. 91–100) lists over 100 coffee-related popular songs from the 1920s to the 1990s. The songs are grouped both alphabetically and by subject; topics include addictive stimulants, commercial jingles, companionship and socialization, and sexual metaphors.

Click here to hear the Ink Spots performing their 1940 hit Java jive by Ben Oakland and Milton Drake.

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Filed under Food, Popular music, Resources

Bees at the Opéra

 

Besides his training as a graphic artist, Jean Paucton, the prop man at the Palais Garnier in Paris, studied beekeeping at the Jardin du Luxemboug. In the mid-1980s he ordered his first hive, which was delivered to him at the Opéra, sealed and full of bees. He had intended to take it to his country house north of Paris, but when his plans changed the building’s fireman—who had been raising trout in a huge firefighting cistern under the building—advised him to place them on the seventh-floor roof at the back of the Palais Garnier.

Paucton gradually increased the number of hives to five, and from approximately 75,000 bees he annually collects about 1000 pounds of honey, which he packages in tiny jars, each with the label “Miel récolté sur les toits de l’Opéra de Paris, Jean Paucton”.

Thanks to the concentration of fragrant flowering trees and shrubs at the Bois de Boulogne, the chestnut trees in the Champs Élysées, and the linden trees in the Palais Royal, his honey has an intense floral flavor; it is sold at the Opéra’s gift shop and at the Paris gourmet shop Fauchon.

This according to “Who’s humming at Opera? Believe it or not, bees” by Craig S. Smith (The New York times 152/52,526 [26 June 2003] p. A:4).

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Filed under Animals, Architecture, Curiosities, Dramatic arts, Food, Nature, Science

Wine for the organist

The organ built by Gebrüder Oberlinger Orgelbau in 1997 for St. Martin in Cochem includes an innovative stop called Riesling 2fach. Pulling the stop opens a small cabinet holding two bottles of Riesling wine.

This according to “Neue Orgel in der Pfarrkirche ‘St. Martin’ zu Cochem/Mosel” by Wilhelm Basten (Die Auslese 42/2 [1999], pp. 22–23).

(Thanks to Tina Frühauf!)

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Filed under Architecture, Food, Instruments

Ethnomusicological bananas

 

In “A tropical meditation on comparison in ethnomusicology: A metaphoric knife, a real banana, and an edible demonstration” (Yearbook for traditional music XXXIV [2002], pp. 187–192) Anthony Seeger applies the Brazilian term recorte teórico (theoretical cut) to a banana, showing the various approaches to cutting one—ways of slicing the fruit itself, pieces of the stem or skin, and the air above it—and discusses the different perceptions that would result from considering only one of them as providing a definitive representation.

Seeger further notes that our definition of a banana fails to take into account the entire plant and its means of reproduction, nor does it involve its nonphysical features, such as its aroma and the feelings and associations that it evokes. He concludes that “Comparison in ethnomusicology requires a very careful examination of the results of all theoretical approaches, a cautious approach to a definition of what constitutes music, and an awareness of the implications of a common banana.”

Below, another approach to cutting bananas.

 

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Filed under Curiosities, Ethnomusicology, Food, Humor

Rāgs and recipes

In “Why Hindustani musicians are good cooks: Analogies between music and food in North India” (Asian music XXV/1–2 (1993–94), pp. 69–80), Adrian McNeil notes that culinary topics are frequent—sometimes even favorite—subjects of conversation among Hindustani musicians, and that a notable number of top Indian musicians are also expert cooks. He attributes this phenomenon to the similarities between the cognitive and sensory aspects of the two activities, and proposes a “culinary perspective” on rāg.

Offering a basic “culinary recipe” alongside a basic “melodic recipe”, McNeil similarly juxtaposes, in a two-page spread, a photographic “depiction of potato with ginger and puris” with a rāgamālā “depiction of rāg sārant”. Further positing a “melodic conception of food”, he recounts examples of Indian musicians using culinary analogies to illustrate musical matters, and cites a use of the phrase biryāni chicken khā (eat chicken biryāni) to convey a rhythmic pattern to a hungry mrdangam player.

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Filed under Asia, Curiosities, Ethnomusicology, Food, Theory, World music

Dining with RILM

In 2004 the diversity among the staff at RILM’s International Center inspired the idea of compiling a cookbook, and the following year we quietly published Dining with RILM in a limited edition.

In her preface, Tina Frühauf,the book’s Editor-in-Chief, gives mouth-watering examples of RILM entries involving food—from David Tudor’s spice cabinet to Japanese rice planting ceremonies to the roles of eating and drinking in Verdi’s operas. Many of the recipes are music-related, if sometimes rather fancifully so (e.g., “A Faustian margarita”). Copies of this rare compendium are available from the International Center, though this information is not on our website—it’s a blog exclusive!

The cover photograph, reproduced above, was taken by our former Managing Editor, Murat Eyuboğlu. You are invited to post your own favorite music-related recipes below.

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Filed under Food, From the archives, RILM