Songs that match meals: from spaghetti to fudge

Culture Food and Drink

Okay, so this idea has literally just popped into my head but I’m rolling with it. A general consensus across the world is that music is awesome and often food is too. Both can bring out feelings of joy, make me happy dance and burp a lot – they’re also my two best friends. With this in mind, it only makes sense to combine the two, honouring both songs and food by pairing meals with songs I feel best embody those dishes. So here goes! Very impromptu and totally subjective so I hope these are somewhat relatable.

Spaghetti and Meatballs – ‘Moon River’ by Henry Mancini

Okay this one was the easiest and came to mind immediately. Picture this – it’s idyllic as hell outside. The moon is shining this CGI blue colour; you’re walking along a balcony of the Seine in Paris and all of a sudden a table with a fancy tablecloth and candelabras appears! It’s all too good to be true and is a complete ‘Lady and the Tramp’ scenario except I’m all by myself and have an essay due tomorrow. Whatever. A huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs suddenly materializes out of nowhere and you can hear the violins and saxophone start playing in the background – it’s the acoustic version of ‘Moon River’. With its lilting tune and beautiful vocals, the song is both ethereal and eternal, and just reminds me of the moon somehow. 

I have always been a huge fan of meatballs and think they’re so underrated – instead of a consistent sauce like Bolognese, spaghetti and meatballs gives you the opportunity to have more variance in texture and taste – the meatballs are like pearls that you get once in a while, elevating the entire sauce and making you (me) appreciate the subtlety of the tomato sauce, with cheese or without. I also think that there’s something incredibly versatile about spaghetti and how the noodles themselves often absorb the taste of the sauce if cooked well. It’s something to definitely eat either slowly or ridiculously quickly, like full on gobbling that shit down, which often leads to funny and different experiences with every meal.

The deal breaker for me pairing spaghetti and meatballs with the all time classic ‘Moon River’ was the fact that both the meal and song are timeless. Spaghetti and meatballs has been a staple in many American homes, as well as a sophisticated and romantic meal at many restaurants; similarly, Henry Mancini’s ‘Moon River’, made even more famous by Audrey Hepburn, has this ageless quality and incredibly resonant tune and pitch, with some notes being incredibly whimsical while other points of the song are softer, and seem nostalgic or bittersweet in nature –it makes me remember all the good times, and completely forget going to Bridge. Ultimately, both the meal and song make me incredibly emotional. Ending this section. 

“Both the meal and song are timeless”

Cheesy Chips – ‘So What’ by Pink or ‘Asleep’ by the Smiths

This was a tough one, but after I had some help on ideas it’s clear that cheesy chips deserves a song that either inspires total false confidence or deep thought and resignation, so it has to go with either ‘So What’ by Pink or ‘Asleep’ by the Smiths. 

There are two very different moods when getting cheesy chips that determine what song suits the meal best. 

Scenario 1.) It’s been another great night at Park End. You’re shitfaced and feel gross but everyone’s laughing so whatever – cheesy chips are once again there to drain your bank account and sit in your stomach for the next 15 hours. Heading to one of the many chip vans in Oxford and ordering the chips with cheese, gravy, baked beans or life insurance while stumbling over is where life peaks, and what better a song to express this belief than ‘So What’ by Pink! The lyrics and the whole song just seem super apt when eating the grease off of the cheese on the fries, and thinking that this is the best meal you’ve ever had in your life, who cares what people think – it’s a carbohydrate and THEY’RE GOOD FOR ME. The gooeyness and messiness of it all is amazing in the moment, gross in a few hours and a timeless memory in ten years, and ‘So What’ has this aura that as a song it will age with you and spark an I don’t care attitude every five years, looping you emotionally back to simpler when you were just at the chip van with your friends. You look around and see all their faces and receding hairlines and it’s all amazing and nothing can stop you! Again, I don’t know if it’s just the lack of sleep or post collections mood but I’m getting super emotional writing these.

Scenario 2.) It’s been another shit night at Park End. It was cramped, smelt awful and you couldn’t even see Iyaz (Replay was so worth the queues though). Even worse still, you’ve had an argument with your friends and have to pretend like everything’s fine otherwise you’ll drunk ramble into an even worse argument and that would suck. Cheesy chips are the only possible way to fix the night. As you stand in front of the van, arms crossed and silent, the chips finally arrive. They’re amazing for about five seconds until you realize they taste a bit like cardboard and go cold really quickly. ‘Asleep’ seems fitting because that’s when the cheese really hits you and all you want to do is sleep and forget this whole night. You also begin to ask what the hell you’re doing with your life and why you’re awake at 3:30am when your lectures in six hours . The melody is not too melancholic (because by tomorrow everything will be okay) and just gives a very passive and drowsy feeling of resignation. The lyrics ‘sing me to sleep’ add to this passivity, where you’re just done with dancing and bopping and walking and you just want bed. It also can act as background music to deep drunk thoughts and dramatic angsts about how your friends are rude and how your feet hurt (not taken from actual experience).

“It’s been another shit night at Park End”

Fudge – Either ‘Motion Sickness’ by Phoebe Bridgers or ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’ by Galantis

Last but not least and the quickest section is dessert! Fudge is my ride or die, my raison d’être – I would be nothing without fudge. And two songs that in my opinion do this royal dessert justice in a very similar scenario are ‘Motion Sickness’ and ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’.

I have a very distinct setting in my head. It’s summer and at a fair in a park, similar to a Winter Wonderland kind of theme park with a Ferris wheel like in films. Everyone’s happy and there’s a montage of families and couples having a great time – ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’ has this hyper-happy quality to it, practically fuelling giddiness and it’s-finally-July excitement. Prelims, coursework and finals are replaced with extortionate ticket prices – things are getting better! Fudge is rich and melts and is super sweet like summer air, and in my opinion just makes people really happy, so a song like ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’ could play over a montage of people laughing at silent jokes and eating fudge and then laughing again. Then when they go on the Ferris wheel or any spinning ride and puke, cue ‘Motion Sickness’!


Image Credit – Great British Chefs 


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