Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Well-Fed Composer

Food, as a topic of discourse, comes a dangerously close second to music in my chatter, and it's almost always interesting to hear what others, composers among them, are cooking or eating. I'll go even further: a good menu is always a more interesting read than an iPod play list, and a recipe by Charles Baker* or Julia Child beats harmony instruction by Piston, Schenker, or Schoenberg any old day.

Here are some of the composers online with materials about the edible world: Charles Shere, with enviable connections to the wonder that is Berkeley's Chez Panisse, blogs about music, eating out, travel, theatre, eating out, literature, and did I mention, eating out? Dennis Báthory-Kitsz has written a nice diary of a week's home cooking, in a home with a kitchen that appears to have some distinction. John Mackey, a younger composer whose works I do not know, has made a point of including quite thorough photodocumentation of his meals in his blog. More gourmand than gourmet, Mackey's vivid photos may prove to be a valuable record of American eating habits in the early 21st century. (And, gawd help us, the consequent rise in American cholesterol and blood sugar levels.)

I'm sure that I've left someone off this list, but sorry: I've got to go fix something to eat.
* The two volumes (eating, drinking) of Baker's The Gentleman's Companion are in a literary genre of their own. The account of the Saigon absynthe cocktail is alone worth the price of finding a set.


PWS said...

You know what is funny-on my links for Tears of a Clownsilly I mentioned you were a "master chef" as a joke inferring you are a jack of all trades. And here I find you are actually a big cuisine nut!

Matthew said...

If I may second Daniel on this: if I could give a copy of Charles Baker's masterpiece to everyone I know, I would. I found my own copy many years ago at an outdoor used book sale: the 1946 reprint, the inscription reveals it was originally a Christmas present for a priest. Let your imagination run wild as to what sort of drink book you would give a priest in 1946, then multiply by, oh, I don't know, twenty or so. It's that good.