Thoughts about Food + Music

02023-05-06 | Food, Music | 5 comments

When a person is offered lots of food that they know they love, do they still try strange and unfamiliar food? When hungry, doesn’t one prefer to eat what one knows rather than try something that looks and smells… unusual? Isn’t the same true for streamed music? How often do we listen to favorite albums, or our own playlists, rather than explore unknown music? 

One great element of travel used to be the immersion into a food culture. You traveled somewhere and ate the local food. There was no choice and that was all that was available. A few decades ago Italy only had Italian food – as if that could be a hardship because Italian cuisine is really great. This is no longer true, of course, and nowadays you can observe tourists going to the familiar McDonalds near the Pantheon in Rome, rather than exploring the Italian restaurants in the area. Or going to an Asian  restaurant in Milan. The same is true almost everywhere in the world. 

We are cocooned inside a bubble of our own preferred music, food, clothing, atmosphere, etc. etc. The same is true for opinions. No matter what our opinion, however unusual, we can always find places where this opinion will be reenforced. Social Media provides. Perhaps we can say we are choking on our own preferences which, in the process, are becoming narrower and narrower. 

Except for public radio and college stations, all commercial radio has a cultural bandwidth of maybe five degrees. Everything sounds the same. Everything is constantly repeated. Every hour sounds similar to the last. Some people were shocked when AI created a perfect simile of a Drake song… why?

I don’t have a solution. Eat local food, wherever. Avoid chain-anything. Have Shazam at the ready to discover the music you might hear in the Uber to the airport, or in a local shop – I keep Shazam accessible on the Apple Watch, to be immediately engaged at a whim.  Follow RSS blog feeds by people with different musical tastes… that’s how I discovered the Bandcamp page from my earlier post about Voices + Paintings

What are some of the things you do to discover food, music, etc.?


  1. Robin

    I will admit, 90% of the time I am perfectly cocooned either in my “go to” playlist or SiriusXM’s 1st Wave (still love all of that music!). Most of the new stuff I hear is either from listening to a favorite artist on Pandora, and then it plays similar type artists or music. Or, as you mentioned, Shazam is a great way to learn of a new song and/or artist that catches your ear. Growing up, radio always played a major part in hearing something new. Not so much anymore. When I was living in LA, KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic was a way I heard new artists I may not have originally sought out. I see the program is online, so maybe it’s time to get back to that. As for food, I try to eat local when I travel. At home, I have a way too big collection of recipes waiting to be made gathered from various online resources or books. Thankfully it has gotten a lot easier to find certain ingredients at a grocery store these days that may not have been a main staple years ago if you didn’t live in a major city with a melting pot of people.

  2. Steve

    >What are some of the things you do to discover food, music, etc.?

    I have to admit up front, that a minority percentage of what I am about to write applies currently. It was easier in the “pre-internet/baby-internet” era. There were radio stations in Boulder/Denver/CO Springs such as KFML, KILO, KADX, etc which had what was called “freeform” programming. There was an excellent record store near my house in Boulder that had a very helpful staff. There was a live music scene on the Pearl Street mall, and in bars along Pearl Street. All that to say, it was easy to find music.

    I have never been much for “chain” food places. Even when I was a kid. Just not into McDonalds, etc. I think this was a “family thing” … mum was into the holistic living concept even in the 1960s/70s.. so it just wasn’t part of our family culture …

    There was a place called “Snarf’s” in Boulder. Absolutely excellent food … Might still be there. Definitely 5/5 stars.

    Music wise these days, I have to admit I’m one of those who doesn’t really look for new stuff: I just really enjoy listening to my old Brand X recordings (especially “Livestock” or “Moroccan Roll”) or J.S. Bach … especially the ‘cello suites, “The Art of Fugue”, or the B minor Mass. I have no idea what the radio situation is here in the “Land of Flat Water” … So … yeah. Guilty.

    (Not really worried about a political/ideological echo chamber. I’m not on social media, and haven’t had my TV connected to broadcast or cable in >10 years … It’s pretty much a BluRay display)

  3. Steve

    >Some people were shocked when AI created a perfect simile of a Drake song… why?

    The AI simile of the Drake song, the replaced Paul McCartney vocal (replaced 71 year old Paul with 31 year old Paul), the A.I. Kurt Cobain singing a Soundgarden song … etc … all these have profound implications for artists: I don’t think it will take all that long for AI generated music in the style of _____ to become commonplace, and from what I hear there is a significant number of people who actually **prefer** the AI Drake to “Real Drake ™” … so it’s likely that the AI generated version of artists will receive significant mainstream acceptance.

    It won’t be long before every artist will end up doing battle with AI generated songs that the artist never wrote or created, and is released under their name. It won’t be long before there will be an A.I. Ottmar Liebert doing covers of I dunno … songs by The Melvins … or … whatever.

    In any case, as fast as the rate of change is this will probably be fairly mainstream by this time next year.

    Of course there will be a court case which will likely set precedent in copyright law, since copyright law never contemplated anything like this.

  4. Dave Kirschner

    If not listening to music on my iPhone, I usually listen to Radio Paradise on the web.

  5. Luz

    When I travel abroad I refuse to eat at any so called American establishment or stop at Starbucks for coffee! On my first trip to Europe –we used Frommer’s Guide to Europe for $20 or less –some of the best food was eaten then. Years back I travelled to Cancun and was so disappointed to see McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Like Dave I mostly listen to music on my iPhone. A friend turned me to a wonderful Radio Garden app-Radio Garden where you dots are all over the world map and you can tune in to listen to them anywhere. Right now listening to a radio station in Australia, Mount Gambier radio. Then, there’s the Artic Outpost all the way from Norway!


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