cooking with music

Music is a powerful force. It can heal emotional scars or create them. I’ve always had a deep love and appreciation for music. Well, I used to. I was heavy into it with my finger on the pulse of all the newest albums and tracks. Not to mention the love I had for Choir singing and performing in Musical Theater, but that’s a different street on Memory Lane. Nowadays, it’s a completely different story. While I may follow a small handful of artists, for the most part, I have absolutely no clue on what’s going on out there in the music world.

And that’s sad on a bunch of levels, but mostly because my world used to revolve around what was pumping in my ears. Not even counting the countless times in my youth where a certain song would instantly pull me out of whatever funk I was in – those songs and times are littered throughout my memories. No, I’m going to briefly talk about music in the kitchen and why it was important to me.

Besides my wife, no one in my life now was around, but when I first started working in the kitchen of a hotel so many years ago, I hated everything. I hated life, the choices I had made, my job, everything. But since I worked in a secluded kitchen away from big wigs and suits, I carried a radio in my knife bag as if it was a necessary tool. I used to burn so many CD’s before work, you couldn’t see the floor of my car (that’s where I stored them). During the easy parts of the day I played the calmer tunes – Incubus, Red Hot Chili Peppers, No Doubt, and so on. But once tickets started pouring in like lava out of a volcano, the mood of the kitchen changed and the radio would be blasting the likes of KoRn, Disturbed, Slipknot, Rage Against the Machine – I was not everyone’s favorite person when I was playing “Los’ psycho music”. I didn’t care though, because the music helped me cope. Helped me concentrate and get me through the day without throwing my chef knife through a wall.

Point I’m making is that music was always there. It was always a part of me – an extension of my mind. Whatever I was listening to gave you an insight as to how I was feeling at the time. Music defined me.

But when I left that job my mood changed. I always knew it was killing me from the inside; and being able to not depend on a song to help me get through a working day proved that fact. After the hotel, I grew distant from the angry, adverse cook I used to be. I didn’t even listened to music. At all. It was around this time that I started getting heavy into gaming podcasts. I fell into a deep rabbit hole of following weekly shows – sometimes 10-15 different ones a week. At an hour or more a show, I had no ambition to listen to music. And I was in that rut for years.

Fast forward a few years after marriage and a kid and I find myself in a different situation. Due to not gaming anywhere near like I used to, I don’t listen to dozens of hours of gaming podcasts a week anymore (save one – EZ-Mode Unlocked.. duh). But, because of the kid keeping me on my toes and watching non-stop Disney Channel, there are times I feel like I don’t even have time to listen to music either. I would play a song here or there, maybe I’d check out a new album from an artist I used to like, but overall I wasn’t anywhere near the way I used to be.

It wasn’t until late last year though that I changed. When I got my Galaxy Note II along with a 32GB memory card, I filled it up with all the songs I had in my archaic MP3 collection, bought a music player app (if you’re wondering which app, it’s Poweramp – and it is awesome) and basically forced myself to start listening to music again. It wasn’t too long before something clicked and I started getting excited again. I started making different playlists for different moods, hitting shuffle whenever I was about to start cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. It’s like I opened a door again.

Yeah, for the most part I’m listening to older stuff. Songs that are tried and true in my collection, with a peppering of newer tracks. But being able to say “hey, listen to this song” again feels good. I may not share the same tastes as everyone, but I’m glad it’s a taste that I learned to like again.

Like I said, music in the kitchen is important. And now that I regularly plug in a pair of headphones to listen to something at night or hit shuffle, as I said, while cooking and cleaning… I wanted to try a little somethin’ somethin’…

I want to bring music into my blog. Nothing crazy like a music player on the side, although that would be pretty freaking cool now that I think about it. No, I was thinking about posting a video of a song at the bottom of every post.

The song may have relevance to the post – like my Chili post that I obviously wrote while listening to Tenacious D.

Side note: if you’re familiar with Tenacious D, go and give The Greatest and Best Chili in the World …Tribute a read, I’m quite proud of it.

Back to the song… I’m going to try to do it so that the song I share is one that I was listening to while either cooking what the post is dedicated to, or writing up the actual post. Heck, it might even be a song I was listening to while cooking and cleaning the day the post was written, or something that is just stuck in my head. Who knows!? Possibilities are endless.

Main thing about this experiment is to give me some depth. You read my words and may or may not get my geeky references, but aside from my snarky comments and love for simple food, you’re not really getting who I am. I feel like if I give you a video to push play on and a little description on how I feel about the song or artist, then you’ll have another puzzle piece describing who I am and what I’m doing here.

So for the first song:

Like I mentioned, music was there for me through a lot in my life and the one band that I always seemed to connect most with was Linkin Park. Say what you will about them but I was a huge fan. When they evolved their sound I admit, I wasn’t on board with it. When I used to listen to an entire album it turned into only listening to a song or two. But lately, giving their last few albums another chance, I’m finding that I like a lot more than what I thought I did.

This song is off Living Things and it’s one of the most powerful songs I’ve heard in a long, long time. I found myself listening to it on repeat for the last 3 days, and honestly, wanting to share this song gave me the inspiration to do this little experiment on the blog. The music, the lyrics, the message – it’s an amazing 3 minutes and 49 seconds that can give you goose bumps if you let it. While the message it delivers isn’t really something that I can connect with, I’m sure it’s inspirational and touching for someone out there.

Hope you dig it.