Music To Eat By

February 23, 2010

I suppose some will accuse me of “cross-blogging,” because what follows is a post I created yesterday for a music blog that I contribute to.  But it’s also about food, so I think it’s appropriate to re-post it here.  Enjoy!

I always like to have a nice variety of music playing whenever I have company over – I employ the rule of “knowing your audience,” and my collection is eclectic enough that I can satisfy any guests’ musical taste.  But until recently I seldom ever played music during dinner, when it’s just my family.  I never gave much thought as to why, but I think it had to do with convenience.  For my b-day in December I was gifted a kick-ass iPod docking speaker system, so now instead of rummaging through CDs and turning on multiple stereo components, I can click a few buttons and my 8600+ songs are available.  This has allowed/motivated me to play music at dinner all the time now, and for no reason other than selfish interest I thought I’d blog about what dinner music works and what doesn’t.

In general, instrumental music seems to work best.  That way you can still have a conversation during the meal.  Loud rock songs are fine for raucous restaurants, but blaring “Free Bird” while eating at the kitchen table just seems a little too obnoxious.  My first thought in selecting dinner music is “What kind of food is for dinner?”  If we’re having Mexican, or any Latin American food for that matter, I gravitate toward flamenco music like Paco de Lucia, Rodrigo y Gabriela or Strunz and Farah.  I also like to put on Cuban music like the Buena Vista Social Club soundtrack.

For Italian or most European-inspired food, I like to play classical music…it just seems to fit.  Jazz can pretty much fit with any meal as well, although I think it works best with comfort foods; I also like it with Greek cuisine for some reason.

For BBQ, some nice Allman Brothers jams are great.  If you’re going the Cajun route, the best band to ever come out of New Orleans, Galactic, is the musical way to go.  They’re a mostly instrumental, jazz-rock-funk-fusion band that kicks out the jams live.

The roadblock I run into is what to listen to when we’re having Asian cuisine, which is usually at least once a week.  I don’t have any “Asian music,” like traditional Chinese or Japanese music.  I suppose I could listen to the band “Asia” or the Vapors’ “Turning Japanese,” but that’s just silly.  Any suggestions?

So what do you like to listen to when munching on delectable comestibles?  Let me know!  (And if you’re interested in more music-related topics, check out this blog here.)


Based on the first comment to the post, I was reminded of something I wanted to include – when I’m cooking, I love having high-energy,  loud music…heavy metal, rock, etc.  But not during the actual meal part.  There, I feel better.



  1. Good post. I always like me a little Portishead while cooking.

    • Thanks! Portishead’s an interesting choice…a little mellow for my taste, but I can see how it would be good dinner music.

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