My Opinion Monday: The Recipe Project. Charmed, I’m Sure.
When I found out about The Recipe Project last week my inner cynic kicked in. Yeah right, what this world really needs is a bunch of celebrity sell-out chefs setting their recipes to music and then waxing poetic about how music has influenced their food. Surely somebody associated with this project (where somebody = everybody) is just in it for the dough.
Even the promo line by Ted Allen of Chopped smacks of a money grab. He says, “Need fun stuff for the super-music-nerd-foodie who has everything? Here ya go?” He might as well have said, “Do you feel required to waste money on some gimmicky thing for someone so they can shelve it for a year before selling it on Craig’s List? Here ya go?”
My hubs had a similar view to mine, and a good point. If someone really wanted to delve into the link between music and food, to talk about how awesome it is when you find just the right tunes to cook by or just the right song to play when serving a certain style of food, wouldn’t it make sense to find some chefs who are actually musicians? There have gotta be some out there, right? Kevin Bacon’s an actor/musician. Are there chef/musicians? Yes. There’s this guy.
But I have to wonder if this guy, and guys/gals like him, have been left out of this project because they lack the name recognition that would bring in the cash.
Now, to be fair, I haven’t researched the bios of all the chefs included on The Recipe Project. I just did a few google searches for things like “John Besh musician” and didn’t turn up anything remarkable. It could be that Mario Batali who, like much of the world, does seem to love music, also has a 6 string stashed in his walk-in freezer or that Michael Symon breaks out the didgeridoo after the dinner rush. I didn’t find those details anywhere but it’s totally possible.
And it’s also totally possible that, cash grab aside, The Recipe Project is actually pretty cool. In fact, I’ve started leaning that way and might even succumb to Ted Allen’s line and get a copy for the super-music-nerd-foodie in my life.
Eek! Wait! There’s no such person in my life other than me. What will I do? I’m resisting but I feel a ridiculous need to have this, hear this, hold this. I promise I won’t sell it on Craig’s list. I swear. And done: It is now on my wish list.
Yes, I’m serious.
What swayed me?
Well, first it was the clip in the trailer. The song itself was a bit…well…odd. But in a good way. I hadn’t been expecting an accordion and I was delighted by the video of the cheerful ingredients being summoned one at at time. Cute. I’ll give them cute. Maybe it’s a cute little album after all.
Then I looked up One Ring Zero, the band that put the project together and performed most of the music. How do I not know about these guys???? They’ve been on some of my favorite radio shows and their album As Smart As We Are includes lyrics written by authors that I totally adore. The Recipe Project is definitely not the only thing that’s been added to my wish list today.
Finally, I scrolled to the bottom of The Recipe Project website and played the song Maine Jonah Crab Claws with Yuzu Mayonnaise (yes, that is the actual name of the song, recipe by David Chang, vocals by Claudia Gonson). The lyrics made me smile. Really smile. How do you not smile when there’s a chime of bells, an accordion chord and a hauntingly sweet voice singing, “Defrost the crab claws according to the shipper’s directions”? The intro is light and charming and then, surprisingly, the song takes on a darker edge (perhaps inspired by the surprising edge of yuzu juice?) as the instructions are repeated (and repeated).
At first I didn’t like the other song at the bottom of the page, Brains and Eggs. But it wound up stuck in my head for the whole weekend such that I kept yell-singing, “White wine!” and doing a little head-swivel-bob action. I’ve listened to it three times already this morning. I guess it’s grown on me.
So that’s it then. I’ve met The Recipe Project and, against my better judgement, I am completely charmed.
The question: Does this mean that the project is actually pretty awesome or does it mean that I’m a super-music-nerd-foodie-SUCKER? What do you think?