|Along with music, Samin Nosrat was a constant
companion while working from home during 2020
For those of you who have followed along since I have posted my playlists, the amount of music I was listening to while working from home proved to be the inspiration for these food-meets-music explorations. Like many, I definitely miss live music and concerts; frankly, if it\’s been hard for the consumers like us, it’s been multiple times harder for the musicians who make at least a part of their living from their musical pursuits.
As a result, I’ve been making sure to supplement my Spotify listening (which as everyone knows, pays a pittance to artists for their streamed songs) with actual purchases of merch and music. I’ve encouraged those of you who have read and listened along to do so too, and I figure a way I can do that even more is to provide a little bit of a carrot. Thus, I’m giving away up a $20 gift card to Bandcamp, home of many independent music artists towards that effort. If you came here first, check out my Instagram page (@CAlipinOH) to get the details on how you can enter the giveaway.
With that out of the way, let’s get to this playlist’s theme. I admit, I have a bit of a crush (my wife I’m certain does too) on chef/author/cooking world personality Samin Nosrat. Her easy-going manner and gregariousness have had many compare her favorably to Julia Child, but in many ways Samin is her own personality, and as distinguishable a cooking personality as any there is out there.
We got our first taste of her through her cookbook “Salt Fat Acid Heat” and the related Netflix limited series; our early appreciation turn more into being smitten during a public talk in Upper Arlington featuring Nosrat hosted by Columbus’s ice cream maven Jeni Britton Bauer in October 2019.
During our work from home stints in 2020, Nosrat was a constant work companion with her pandemic-inspired “Home Cooking” podcast with co-host Hrishikesh Hirway. Sadly for us, the podcast started and ended in 2020, but we stand excited at the promise of a new cookbook, which Nosrat announced she’ll be devoting her full time toward at the beginning of February.
And thus, this list is dedicated to Samin, with three “Salt Fat Acid Heat” foursomes to inspire you to cook up a storm…or maybe dance while you’re planting those bagels in the toaster (playlist embedded at the end of this post.)
1) “Do You Want Me” – Salt-N-Pepa: A perfect start for our first Salt Acid Fat Heat foursome, the first female rap group to hit it big proved with their 1990 album “Blacks Magic” they were more than a one-hit wonder (the 1986 smash “Push It.”) Featuring a New Jack hip-hop vibe, the album spawned three hits in “Expression”, “Let’s Talk About Sex”, and “Do You Want Me”, where the crew tries to convince an impatient boyfriend that going slow is the right way to go.
3) “Flor de Maguey” – Vito (David Rebollo), Acid Lemon: Like butter, Lemons are a familiar source of acid in a number of sweet and savory cooking recipes. On the other hand, producer Acid Lemon, based out of Barcelona, Spain, has produced for a number of Spanish music artists, including rap/hip-hop group Lágrimas de Sangre and the smooth sounds of Homes Llúdriga. In “Flor de Maguey”, Acid Lemon produces chill beats for his partner Vito (aka David Rebollo) on their 2019 release “Peces en un Charco.”
5) “Salty Dog” – Cat Power: The second of our Salt Acid Fat Heat foursome is as salty as any. Born as Charlyn Marie “Chan” Marshall, Cat Power has blended a number of musical styles (blues, folk, rock, and later R&B) in her songs to much acclaim, starting with a couple of small label album releases in 1995 in a musical career that continues to this day. “Salty Dog”, a traditional number originally performed by Papa Charlie Jackson, comes from her 2000 “The Covers” album, along with covers of such artists as The Velvet Underground, Johnny Mathis, and The Rolling Stones.
6) “Eleven Days (featuring Cyndi Lauper)” – David Byrne and Fatboy Slim: I imagine Norman Cook, the man who would become Fatboy Slim, had little idea that he’d become one of the most influential big beat/electronic producers in the world while plucking a bass for The Housemartins (known best for their huge UK/Irish hit “Happy Hour”.) I imagine also that he had no clue he would be involved with the Talking Heads’ former front man David Byrne on his 2010 Imelda Marcos concept album “Here Lies Love.” Byrne brought together 20 fairly prominent female singers (including Cyndi Lauper on this track) to sing the viewpoint of Marcos in tunes that were meant to intersect theatre and the club scene (the songs were indeed later adapted into a stage musical in 2013.)
7) “Umeboshi” – Gilberto Gil: Umeboshi, otherwise known as the Japanese Sour Plum, more than fulfills the acid part of this second “Salt Fat Acid Heat” foursome in a puckering way. The performer here, Gilberto Gil, has proven to be a musical pioneer on the Brazilian music scene, blending a number of traditional styles with jazz and rock and the Tropicália artistic movement. His popularity and influence was seen as a threat by the ruling government – after a brief exile to London, Gil returned in the 1970s and has become a prominent politician and environmental activist since.
9) “Prosciutto” – Hebdo: Delicatessen meats are among the saltiest things (in a good way) around, and it’s hard to turn down a really good thin sliver or three of an Italian dry-cured prosciutto. For Columbus, Ohio-raised Joey Hebdo, California proved responsible for his version of “Prosciutto” – after his old band Blackcoin broke up shortly after reaching Los Angeles, Hebdo bought a digital voice recorder and in a burst of creativity, recorded seven songs that would make up his 2010 album, including the title track.
12) “Shahre Paiz” – Tahdig: I can’t think of a better dish to finish out the final “heat” portion of this Salt Acid Fat Heat themed playlist than Tahdig, the Persian rice dish that Nosrat herself grew up in her home loving and something you can’t do right unless you control the heat right. And the Farsi funk band Mitra Sumara seems to the perfect closing band to do that too, whose 2018 album “Tahdig” gives their takes on 1960s to early 1970s Iranian pop songs, which sported a blend of traditional instruments and era-appropriate funk and Latin beats.