What is it about Music and good food that compliment each other so nicely? This is a question I've been turning over in my head for years! We get so excited when our favorite brunch place has a jazz band accompanying the meal or going out for drinks and (surprise!) we stumble across the perfect place because the live band playing that night draws us in. There are so many different ways to think about how this pairing compliment each other in our society.
In my own life, food and music go hand in hand. By the way... when I say food, I'm not talking about the fact that we all need to eat in order to survive. I'm talking about appreciating the art and beauty of a well prepared meal with high quality ingredients and the community that goes along with that. For me, food has always been the steady form of income; whether I am working as a baker or even in nonprofit administration, I am able to make a pay check with the skills I've obtained in this industry. Music is always the passion that enhances all other aspects of my life and centers me after a long work day, but never makes enough compensation wise to justify pursuit on it's own. Both challenge me physically and mentally and provide outlets for creativity and unique expression of who I am. In all honesty, I would not be me without one or the other. So what makes these two so entwined in my own life? They are so different... yet if you think about it... so similar.
To answer this question, I contemplated which senses are stimulated in each category. Each has it's own unique form of performance, with baking it is creating something that satisfies others with the sense of smell and taste while music is more about satisfying spiritually and aurally. There is really no true way to appreciate music visually because, if you create a visual representation of music and display that without the sound to back it up, then all you really have is a piece of art. So therefore music touches our souls first and foremost through sound and our ability to connect with the emotions of others (the musician) while food connects primarily with our sense of taste and appreciation visually for beauty. In conclusion, since beauty is still a physical stimulation, food satisfies us physically while music touches us deep within for emotional stimulation. So perhaps these two are so intricately connected because they each satisfy different senses that when put together all at once, create an undeniable feeling of Euphoria? Arguments can be made to the contrary, but seriously think about this, what does food and music mean in your own life?
I would be thrilled to hear about your own conclusions so please share them in the comments section on this post. Take some time, it might not be obvious, but how do you interact with food and music on a spiritual level, daily level, and cultural level? You might be surprised by the influences you discover. Here is a link to an article I read recently about the importance of food in identity to get you thinking. It may completely contradict the conclusions I've made in this post, but our relationship to food and music are very intricate. The article is called "What Americans can learn from other food cultures" and I found it off the TED Talks website. I could go on about how music and food define us, but take a read and decide for yourself: Click Here
Living in the city, it is extremely hard to appreciate the fact that music surrounds us every single day; there is no need to pick up an instrument or turn on the radio in order to hear a rhythm. All you really need to do is be present. I encourage all of my readers to go outdoors, walk to your nearest park, or drive to an open space and just listen, breath. What do you hear? Is there a specific rhythm or melody that starts to appear? It certainly does for me! Coming from a rural small town, I am constantly aware of this missing piece from my city dweller lifestyle. You can still hear music in the woosh of passing cars, conversations between friends walking down the street, and construction coming from the new house going up next store, but does it rejuvenate you? I would say not.
Last week my sister and her boyfriend were in town from Seattle and we decided to take an over night hike along the Long Trail/ AT to a place called Little Rock Pond. I find hiking and camping are unique experiences because it takes you, if you do it correctly, deep into forests and mountains and away from the bustle of human life. It gives you an opportunity to re-engage with yourself and this environment we call planet earth. As I walked along the trail, I listened to the swish of leaves and melodies from birds calling out to each other across the trail. Brooks bubbled with water rushing by and as we thumped across roots and rocks, a rhythm began to appear; this is one of the most enjoyable parts for me about hiking. You can even create a rhythm from the bugs you swat out of your face as you start to sweat! Keep in mind, nature was our first sound track, the crash of thunder would tell us to take cover, the chirping of birds signal the coming of spring, crashing stampedes a sign of approaching danger. Without the ability to be present to these rhythms of life, humans would never have survived. I believe as our society grows further and further away from nature and this sound track we grow more anxious, more stressed out, and our health declines.
So I'll leave you with this, try to get out into nature at leas once a week. Sit, breath, be present, and most importantly listen to the music that is all around you! Here is a piece written by Finnish contemporary composer Einojuhani Rautavaara called Cantus Arcticus Op. 61 'Concerto for Birds and Orchestra' (1972). In this composition, Rautavaara masterfully combines recordings he took of birds in the marshlands of Liminka in Northern Finland with orchestra for a breath taking concerto.