No one can deny that there is a chemistry as old as time between the arts of cooking and music. When Isaac and I step into the kitchen to knock up some fresh pasta, the first thing we do is put some music on - we don’t even have to think about it, it’s instinct. Maybe it’s some leftover tribal instinct of ours from when our ancestors would sing and eat around a communal fire (or maybe that’s only something that happens in TV and films), but cooking and music can bring people together in a pretty special way. That’s why we shared our playlist on Spotify, because we want people to experience our food and the music we like in sync.
Now this blog entry isn’t an attempt to analyse the human psyche, and I’m certainly not qualified to help you with those questionable Freudian thoughts you’ve been having. Instead, I’ll just be talking through some of the reasons why I consider this particular relationship so natural. I’ll also be highlighting a few of my favourite songs from the Fasta Pasta Playlist (available to follow on our website: www.fastapastaco.com/playlist) to help illustrate this little train of thought.
Rhythm is integral to music, that’s obvious. But a kitchen also has its own rhythm, and that is something Isaac and I definitely feel when we’re cooking. We have good days when we hit a smooth rhythm and everything seems so easy - we almost pirouette around each other like a culinary Torvill and Dean - and we have bad days where it just isn’t clicking and it’s like there’s four left feet in the kitchen.
For us, music plays a huge part in setting this rhythm, and we’ll adjust it as necessary depending on how we’re feeling. Early morning we usually start with something a bit softer (recently Bob Dylan or Luke Combs) as we ease into our day with jobs like kneading our doughs or chopping the veg. Then, when we get closer to delivery time, we step up the BPM with some faster tunes. Anyone who runs with music on will tell you that you sometimes subconsciously start moving in time with the music, and for us that is the same in the kitchen.
Song: São Paulo - Ezra Collective Why? Ezra Collective are masters of rhythm. Neo-jazz and funk at its best, and this song is a great example of stepping up the rhythm in the kitchen. Building slowly, by the end of the song you’re in full carnival mood - full on fever pitch.
There’s a reason why we use phrases like “comfort food” (especially when talking about our delicious Cacio e Pepe) or “hangry”, and it highlights the relationship between food and how we feel. I’m sure there’s some biological reason for this that involves endorphins or some fancy science talk like that, but to us foodies it comes down to the fact that eating lots of good food makes us happy, and being hungry or eating bad food sucks, and that can completely determine how our day goes.
The process of cooking is for loads of people, ourselves included, a big part of this. A painful day at work can be completely forgotten by getting in the kitchen, putting some music on, and cooking. For me, rolling pasta is therapeutic. It allows me to completely switch off so that I can focus purely on that delicate little tortelli I’m working on. This is the same effect that pumping my favourite music through my headphones can have. When you combine the two, it’s sweet bliss.
Song: Home - Caribou Why? You can’t be in a bad mood while listening to this song. It takes you to sunny days, beer gardens, barbeques. Such a mood lifter and a regular for us in the kitchen.
To me, the genre of music is like its flavour. It can tell you about its origin - where is it from, who made it? Each instrument, beat or melody is like a different ingredient. They all play a different part, and you have to bring them together in the right way and build layer upon layer. This isn’t to say that because we cook Italian food, we have Mambo Italiano on repeat in the kitchen, but there is definitely a synergy between music and cooking when it comes to flavour.
Everyone is unique when it comes to flavour preferences, and there is no prejudice one way or the other. So you can’t handle spicy food and the ‘Nduja and Mascarpone is a bit much for you? Who cares? In the same way, Isaac doesn’t judge me for being a massive James Blunt fan (to my face at least). Cooking and music both give you a chance to express what you like and how you like it, and that’s the way it should be.
Song: Feel Like I Do - Disclosure, Al Green Why? I love this sort of genre. I’m a sucker for soul music, and this remix of an absolute classic perfectly demonstrates an awesome combination of two flavours, a remarkable soul-EDM fusion.
We’re always looking for new music to listen to, so if you have any recommendations for the Fasta Pasta Playlist, let us know!