Music To Cook By

VS’s story about making pesto reminded me of the pesto fests that Husband and I had this month as we harvested the too large basil crop  in the garden.  Husband took the leaves off the stems, which I find to be the most tedious of chores, and I whirred up the ingredients in the food processor.  We ended up with 54 jars.

Husband has gout in one of his feet, and  he needs to shift his weight from one foot to the next pretty regularly if he has to stand for any length of time.  I figure that he stripped about 110 cups of basil leaves off the stems this year over three pesto making extravaganzas.  That meant a lot of standing at the sink. He said it would be easier for him if he had some music to listen to and shift his weight to as he took care of the basil.  He thought that Celtic music would be good for the purpose.  One evening we tried something by Clannad, but that was too dreamy and new age.  We finally settled on a disc by Danu, a group we heard once at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. He shifted and danced his way through the basil stems, and it wasn’t too tedious for him at all.

I listen to music as I do paper work for my job. I typically choose classical music for work.  We have music on most of the time at our house, and choose music accordingly for what we need to get done.

What music helps you work?

49 thoughts on “Music To Cook By”

  1. i love irish music
    i love the winnipeg folk festival
    i listen to classical for mellowing mood ( i’m not a sousa guy)
    my pandora channel has just the right mix of joni mitchell , errol garner, miles davis, dylan, john prone lyle lovett, nancy griffith, tom waits , frank sinatra, eve cassidy, pink martini, i think i have commented before that i love pandora because it allows you to hear new similar artists but also give you the thumbs up or down option to add or ditch an artist
    i have a couple of artists i have mixed emotions about, neil young i am in the mood or i’m not
    credence clearwater revival i do not like but i’ve had an ear worm of have you ever seen the rain done on my own slow folkie soul felt rendition that i sing like a crooner driving down the road

    all the same basil or did you focvariations on basil plants?
    variations on garlic or olive oil? do you pop for the pine nuts or go cheap with walnuts

    wouldn’t a bar stool at the sink allow him to tap his foot on the rail?

    i used to have problems with my back going out at thanksgiving cookie baking time
    sink and counter height is exactly wrong for me
    4 inches higher or lower marks all the difference , standing on a platform of taking off shoes does the trick if an extended stretch is required
    do you do pesto mayo? ummmm

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    1. We are tall people, and when we remodeled the kitchen a numer of years ago, we opted for tall counters. A bar stool would be too short.

      We planted Neopolitan large leaf basil. I like to use Turkish olive oil that we get in Fargo at a Syrian cafe/grocery. I used pine nuts, and when I ran out I used slivered almonds. Each jar of pesto has two cloves of garlic.

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      1. sounds good
        i would be apt to try variations and see what to subtle differences i enjoyed although if it is like wine. i used to buy a whole bunch of different variations on wine and i usually ended up saying i like those different flavors.
        i do however know i like pinot grigio better than white zinfindel and white burgandy better than chenin blanc.
        i do bitters and lemon extract in a club soda and will get to be the expert at bitters and stuff you put two drops of into a bottle of bubble water before the end of the decade. i try variations on spices in my tomato sauce and similar things with onions potatoes and beans.

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  2. oh additional music channel artists include yo yo ma john coltrane taj mahal leonard cohen,randy newman beatles mel torme emmy lou harris, satchmo, ella, blossom dearie, kris delmhurst is one pj introduced me to with peter malvy, gershwin, chet baker, broadway show tunes, bach cello, ravel bernstein, satie, copeland, but how do you plug in little potato, dancing with bears, roy rogers and ethel merman
    ahhhh music
    i need to get more speakers spread around the house and bring a turntable back to spin my vinyl

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  3. I now have wifi at work, so I can use my phone, connected to a Bose sound link through Bluetooth,
    to stream whatever I want.

    Imagine writing that sentence 30 years ago. How things have changed!

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Rise and Groove Baboons!

    On Pandora, my favorite channels are Emmy Lou Harris, Iris DeMent, and my Dolly–Dolly Parton whose channel brings up classic old country stars. I love the old recordings: Trio 1 and 2 (Dolly, Emmy Lou and Linda Ronstadt). When I drive down 35W to Iowa to visit my mother, I love to blast Johnny Cashes’ Folsom Prison recording.

    I have a Jacque’s Faves list on my iPod with Roseann Cash, Johnny Cash, Willy Nelson, the BeGood Tanyas, the Wailin Jennys, Cantus, Eva Cassidy, and on and on. There are some Morning Show favorites on there, too. When I am in “I want control of my life” mode, I go to iTunes and mess with the Faves list until I get it all just right in that moment and I feel like I am IN CHARGE of the world. Sometimes I just need that and no one else (meaning Lou) has to suffer when I need some control.

    OT–I leave for Ireland Monday. Last night I finally found the records in my mother’s stuff with the names and location of the Old Stone House my Irish ancestors inhabited in the early 1800’s. I really am getting a post together about these folks. Really I am.

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  5. It depends on the work. If I am writing, I either need silence or some sort of classical (no singing). Someone yesterday at work was mentioning the phrase from Pink Floyd’s “We Don’t Need No Education,” “how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?” and I almost typed “pudding” instead of the word I intended (I had p-u typed and realized what I was doing). That was without music…someone just quoting the lyric. So no lyrics while I’m typing.

    Physical labor or repetitive tasks, well then we can have music. 80s dance music, Dessa works well if I have a lot of repetitive Excel spreadsheet work to do, Beethoven symphonies perhaps…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The other solution is to play music in a language you don’t speak, which in my case is pretty much anything not in English. My favorites are Cristina Branco (Portuguese), Bebel Gilberto (ditto), Marta Topferova (Spanish), Los Lobos (ditto), Joan Baez’s “Gracias a la Vida” (ditto),
      Paris Combo (French), Sanseverino (ditto). I’m sure there are others I’ll remember as soon as I post this.

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      1. Safety. Communication with the the outside world is a distraction
        Really strick. The normal construction orientation meetings are about half an hour. This one, at the Procter and Gamble Labs, went four and a half hours.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. The music that sustains me through most tasks is the Folk Alley WiFi stream. The music is mostly melodic folk, with a fair amount of melodic Celtic and bluegrass mixed in. The music isolates me somewhat from distractions in the environment by being familiar and yet entertaining. Typical performers: Emmylou, Alison Krauss, Gretchen Peters, Patty Griffin.

    Silly as it seems, when I’m reading history I prefer the classic jazz of the 1920s and 1930s (Bix Beiderbecke, Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington, etc.).

    Complex tasks call for classical music in the background or maybe the more contemplative Celtic stuff. If I face a tough mental assignment I’ll reach for Mozart or Bach.

    Physically demanding work (like spring cleaning) benefits from the better classic rock ‘n roll (Elvis, Beatles, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly) or maybe some shit-kickin’ Bonnie Raitt.

    When working through memories from my past (which I do often), I want the music I listened to “back then”: Paul Simon, Leo Kottke, Greg Brown, CSN&Y, Scott Joplin).

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  7. Will read more later – I often turn on the classical station, but lately have been listening to Pentagle (anyone else remember them?) and a double CD of John Renbourn (So Clear) given to me by Robin and (our) Bill some years ago, with some Pentangle tracks.

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    1. Pentangle is also on my iPod-in-the-car rotation, along with John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. We saw Pentangle at the Guthrie way back when, sometime in the ’70s and both John and Bert have been to the Cedar Cultural Center. Bert died back in 2011. John, as far as I know, is still with us.

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    2. I don’t know if I had ever heard of Pentangle before; the name is vaguely familiar but I don’t remember listening to them. Just downloaded 5 songs of theirs from Freegal (via the public library) to see if I like them.

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  8. For cleaning projects, like deep-cleaning of the kitchen, I go for the oldies but goodies. My playlist for this includes: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Peter & Gordon (I Go to Pieces), Harry Belafonte, Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Everly Brothers, The Hollies (Bus Stop), the Turtles (Happy Together), and a few more.

    For work that involves mental focus, I go for silence or something peaceful such as Archie Fisher.

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        1. Django Reinhardt among others. There are several artists and Hot Clubs I like, including the Hot Club of San Francisco, Pearl Django, Birelli Lagrene, Tchavelo Schmitt, Romane & Stochelo Rosenberg and others.

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  9. When politics at work are becoming Byzantine, I play Irish music, preferably real fast selections, in the car on the drive to work, just to get my brain thinking with as much complexity as possible.

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  10. My musical selections vary. At the college I always start the day with Radio Heartland streaming.
    If I’m deep in tech week and stressing I got to the actual DVD sound track of the movie ‘All That Jazz’. I have all the dialoge memorized and the songs are wonderful and I always find something new in there. (Since it’s about ‘Show Business’, I smirk ruefully at the jokes).
    In the tractors, no XM radio, so sometimes classic rock stations, but for whatever reason, Classiclal really feels best.
    I traded tractors this summer; old tractor was so loud I had to wear earplugs, then turn the radio up extra loud to be heard over the tractor in the first place. I’m sure the neighbors could hear it better than I could hear it.
    Newer tractor has a much better, sound-isolated cab, and four speakers and first thing I did was make sure they’re all working. Poor quality audio is worse than no audio. And I won’t need the ear plugs.

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  11. In our first Winona house, 1983, we stripped woodwork for several weeks to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors and some Abba tapes… I can’t hear any of that without remembering the task, and how wonderful the room (7 doors and windows) looked when we finally finished.

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  12. Anything you can dance to is good for getting you moving. The Mavericks are great. I used to have an iTunes playlist specifically for cleaning house, but when I moved stuff to a new computer I lost the playlists. Still have the music, just not put together in the same combinations.

    Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard is a good tempo.

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