Have you ever eaten a hotdog while listening to Metallica?
Studies have shown how certain music will make us eat or drink more, or help us digest
One of our farmers plays Lyric FM to his vegetables to help them grow. Photograph: iStock
We often overlook the role of music in food, or rather how music influences how we feel when we cook and eat. What music do you listen to when you cook and eat at home? Does it chime with the food, or do you feel it’s just a random conflagration or meeting of two distinct elements?
There’s an interesting psychology behind it all, and studies have shown how certain music will make us eat or drink more, or enhance our experience and help us digest our food.
We’ve probably all heard classical music at some point in our lives while sitting in a restaurant. I suppose it’s there to evoke the sensibility of the food and the ensemble of the restaurant atmosphere. However, not everyone likes or loves it.
Amass, my friend Matt Orlando’s restaurant in Copenhagen, plays hip-hop music during service, even though it’s a fine-dining restaurant with a tasting menu and wine pairings. Perhaps its lack of tablecloths, and the fact it’s in the area of the old shipping yard, makes this music pertinent to the food.
Of course food and music can be extremely subjective (I like Bowie with my breakfast) but there are certain patterns that seem to make sense. One of our farmers plays Lyric FM to his vegetables to help them grow. He reckons they enjoy it, so who am I to say they’re not sensitive to those calming tunes? You may imagine that grilling and barbecued food might lend itself to hard rock or heavy metal but I find it hard to digest food to pounding music. Have you ever had a hotdog while listening to the likes of Metallica? Unfortunately, I can’t chew as fast as the music.
Perhaps the next time you make your pasta or risotto, you can do an experiment. For the first half of the preparation, play traditional Italian music, and for the second half play something different, such as contemporary pop or rock. Afterwards, have a think about how the music changed the way you felt (or didn’t feel) about the food.