Today, I thought I would go for something a little different to the sporadic barrage of recipes you’re used to from me. I thought I would write something whimsical but fairly profound. I thought I would offer my own piece of advice.
When I cook, I sing. I don’t mean I hum to myself or sing the odd word. I mean, I set up playlists full of songs I know the words to with a variety of tempos and moods, set the burner going, press play and sing like I’m auditioning for some sort of emo musical. If I get the right song (looking at you Brandon Flowers or Future Islands) I may even throw in some dance moves.
You know what I’ve realised from my kitchen performances? Singing and cooking are a perfect combination of activities. And here are my 5 ideas as to why:
Singing and Cooking are both creative endeavours
I’m not going to get into the hemispheres of the brain and how utilising a skill which lights up the creative side can boost creativity in other tasks. Because I have no idea if what I just typed is actually true. But, from my own experiences, I have found that this could possibly be true.
When I don’t listen to music while I cook, it becomes a chore. I just put things in a pan and wait for something to happen. When I’m singing and dancing away, I’m willing to take risks. I’ll throw dark chocolate in my chilli (not that big a risk, I know, but I couldn’t think of anything truly audacious right now), I’ll ignore a recipe book and make things how I want to make them. I feel inspired.
It’s a great way to keep time
When you’re making things like risotto or polenta, which require constant stirring, the 20 minutes it takes to cook seems to take hours.
As Einstein said: “When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”
It’s true with cooking. Waiting for water to boil seems to take hours, because even though a watched pot does boil, it just takes its sweet time about it. However, if you’re trying to get everything out at the same time, that water seems to start bubbling as soon as you turn your back to it.
How does this pertain to singing? I hear you wonder.
20 minutes is always 20 minutes, the only thing that changes is our perception of it. You know what lasts about 20 minutes? Around 4-5 good songs. So you can throw on a short playlist and sing and dance the time away.
It’s also a great way to pass the time
Even though I love doing it, I can admit that sometimes I really can’t be bothered to cook. Obviously, I want to eat; I just don’t want to stand around waiting for the food to warm up. There are honestly days I just eat tortilla wraps dipped in hummus because I can’t be bothered to work the microwave.
When I get in one of those moods, I find that the best thing is to put some music on. As I said above, music can make an hour seem like 10 minutes. So, on the days I can’t be bothered to cook, I make a slightly more energetic playlist and get myself revved up to make some goddamn food! Christ, I’m pumped just thinking about it now!
Work up an appetite
This one may seem a bit tenuous but bear with it. When you find the perfect playlist; you know all the words (and the rhythm, because nothing throws off a groove quicker than blurting out the chorus at the completely wrong moment), it’s got enough energy and it just fits the mood; you and I both know that you’re going to throw in some sick ass dance moves.
I do it all the time. I can’t listen to Panic! At The Disco without gesticulating wildly. You start playing me some Brian McKnight and I will air grab like a Westlife reunion tour is on the cards and I want to be a backing dancer.
I physically exert myself, is the point I’m getting at. And you know what I need after a good dance? Food. I need a decent bowl of grub to replace all the rhythm I left in the kitchen (that came out wrong, but I’m willing to roll with it).
This is probably my most important reason and the basis for this blog post. Why wouldn’t you?
Outside of the kitchen, I don’t dance and I hate singing in front of people. You put me in a kitchen setting and I’m Sinatra, I’m Katy Perry, I am an all-singing, all dancing machine. I don’t care if people can see me or hear me (sorry neighbours, the rhythm has got me and it won’t let me go). This is my domain, this is my kingdom. And in my kingdom, every day is a musical fest.
Next time you’re throwing a meal together, throw caution to the wind. Put on your favourite music and sing along to it. I guarantee you will have a whale of a time.