The music that cooked you.

Everybody knows that you are what you eat. But I believe that you are what you listen to as well, and what you read, and what you watch. There’s a line from the Dungeon Family song On & On & On about remembering “…the music that took you, put you in a pot and cooked you.” I’ve always loved this notion. I think he’s talking about the music that made you “lie in awe on your bedroom floor,” and I think he’s also talking about the music that you heard as a child, that shaped who you are.

I was trying to think of a food from my childhood that feels significant, that had special value, and made me who I am in some way. I thought of crepes, or as we called them, flat pancakes. They were a special-occasion breakfast for us, so simple, and so pleasing. And now I feed them to my sons. They both ate them on their first birthdays, and for many many breakfasts (and dinners) since. And it makes me happy when they eat them.

And the music I listened to was mostly baroque or early classical. I remember holding the tune of Mozart’s Haffner Serenade in my head as a kind of talisman to ward off anything that made me anxious. My sons listen to very different music, but I love that they love what they love!

So… what are you made of? What food or music is part of your childhood, and became part of who you are?

As a bonus question for people who like thinking of songs on a certain topic (who could that be?) can you think of songs about your musical heroes recalling songs they listened to as a child? Like Talib Kweli’s Holy Moly, for instance.

Crepe recipe (written by my mother on an index card and memorized by me!) after the jump.

Flat Pancakes

1 1/2 cups milk
3 eggs
3/4 cups flour
1 t. vanilla
pinch salt

Butter for frying

Mix the eggs, milk and vanilla. Whisk in the flour and salt. You have to work hard to get out all the lumps, which was my job as a child.

In a large frying pan (or a crepe pan, if you have one!) melt the butter. Add enough batter to cover the bottom. When the top ceases to be shiny, flip the crepe over and cook for a second or two on the other side, till it puffs up a bit and has little brown spots.

Eat with lemon & powdered sugar, or fresh fruit, or the syrup of your choice.


14 thoughts on “The music that cooked you.

  1. I love pancakes. Especially the thin type that I think of as traditional English ones, and which you seem to be describing a variant of. You are more generous with the eggs than I am, though. And the vanilla, which features not in my recipe. Of course, you have to toss them using nothing but the pan and an appropriately effective motion of the arm for them to be completely authentic (my husband uses a spatula; I call that cheating!).

    Childhood music? I remember lots of Carpenters, some Boney M, “Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue?” (Judy Collins, I think), some Beach Boys… and a bit of Hooked on Classical.

    As to that bonus question… I think it will have to wait for now. I’m cooking Sunday dinner. It requres my attention.

    • Do the traditional english pancakes have any leveaning in them? Golly, I don’t think I spelled that right!!

      Do you still like the music you remember from your childhood?

      • No, no leavening. Just flour, eggs and milk. Sometimes water (as well as the milk). And I think you’re meant to put salt in, but I often forget that. It’s essentially the same batter that is used for Yorkshire Puddings or Toad in the Hole. The eggs make it rise when it’s baked.

        The music I listed was my parents’. I don’t dislike any of it, but I don’t really love it either. Mostly it takes me to a comfortable place, where my mother vacuums under the sideboard while singing along to The Carpenters’ “Yesterday Once More”, which is playing on the radio… and I’ve probably got my head in a book. Or Im drawing.

  2. Oh, steenbeck, I would love to respond to this but right now the only thing in my head is worry about the size of packing boxes – the removal men have left me far too few small/medium and I can’t get on with packing my books.

    I may return!

      • Sorry, Zalamanda, I can’t have explained it very well. I now have nothing but big boxes – that’s why I can’t pack my books. (Or the rest of my crockery.)

      • Pack a half layer of books and fill the rest of the box with cushions, material, light stuff that can fill the boxes tight but not weigh the boxes down. (and make sure lifters know which way up to keep the box.

  3. hey Ms. – do you mean me?

    Toby take a bow Casiotone For The Painfully Alone (The Smiths reference is beautiful)
    Kiss Me The Wave Pictures (even if it’s taking about Beatles/ Beach Boys fight – the Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss me refrain is pure The Cure.. so I love it)
    Allison Pixies (hilariously A listed and then removed for Females names songs – Mose Allison is not female!)
    Let’s Dance To Joy Division The Wombats (not the greatest track – but I do like the title)
    Thou Shalt Always Kill Dan Le Sac VS Scroobius Pip (hey – everyone)
    Fire, Fire M.I.A. (Chasing out to Pixies and Beasties – don’t listen too closely)
    At The Indie Disco The Divine Comedy (hey – everyone get’s a mention again)
    Turn It Up Robots In Disguise*

    * mentions:
    ‘Ashes To Ashes’ – David Bowie
    ‘Curl’, ‘Grazes’ – Sneaker Pimps
    ‘Pretty Vacant’ – Sex Pistols
    ‘Teaches of Peaches’ – Peaches
    ‘Delia’s Gone’, ‘I Walk The Line’ – Johnny Cash
    ‘I’ll Keep It With Mine’ – Bob Dylan
    ‘Birdland’ – Patti Smith
    ‘Clouds’ – Hole
    ‘Sous Le Soleil Exactement’ – Serge Gainsbourg
    ‘Sunshine Superman’ – Donovan
    ‘I Want You’ – ? (Dylan or Gaye or…)
    ‘Ghosts’ – Japan
    ‘Some Velvet Morning’ – Nancy Sinatra
    ‘Paper Wings’ – Gillian Welch
    ‘Virginia Avenue’ – Tom Waits
    ‘Laura’ – Frank Sinatra
    ‘Summer’s Almost Over’ – Cheryl Wheeler
    ‘A Night Like This’ – The Cure
    ‘Strange Fruit’ – Billie Holiday
    ‘Hatful Of Hollow’ – The Smiths
    ‘Boys’, ‘Voodoo’ – Robots In Disguise

    I do the research so you don’t have to.

    what fun – this could keep me going for a while. Better finish with:

    We wrote Pavement on our shoes
    We stole a biro and we paid our dues
    We paid our respects
    We wrote “Confusion is Sex”
    And on your shoulder bag
    I wrote ‘The Silver Jews’

    I love Pancakes and nearly kill my friends with a filling of black cherries (straight from the trees) and pure vanilla ice cream, you can knock up a dark chocolate sauce to go with it too…. then you find a tree to sit under and slump under it and wait for Autumn and the full up feeling to leave your body… (it takes about three months)

    • Holy smoke cherrychocolatevanilla pancakes sound TOO good.

      And I knew I could count on you, Shane!!! I love Toby Take a Bow. I think it’s a perfect song!!

  4. It’s a wonder there’s any bonus songs left now Shane’s been along!

    But I had one up my sleeve.
    Tracey Thorn wallows in musical nostalgia in the song “Hands Up to the Ceiling”

    Here is the street and here is the door
    Same as it was before
    And up the stairs and on the wall
    Is …. Kiss and Terry Hall
    And Siouxsie Sioux and Edwin too
    And Bobby Dee in ’63
    And everything I knew was good
    And like it was just understood

    Quite how many of the artists cited are from her childhood, though, is debatable; she’s a few years older than me but most of them were active in my childhood. It’s not the first time she’s referred to “Bobby Dee” (Bob Dylan, one presumes) in a song, either – c.f. her discomfort with the guy in the Everything But the Girl song, “Me and Bobby D”.

  5. Pingback: Cider pancakes and winter fruit compote | Out of the Ordinary

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