Food and music combined can meld two art forms into one blissful, head-bobbing, hip-shaking pairing. After dancing around the kitchen of their San Francisco apartment time and time again, Kasey and Matthew Hickey decided to take their love for food and music a step further by launching the website Turntable Kitchen.
The couple hand-picks music to be listened to while cooking and eating suggested recipes. Recent pairings include a sweet corn and raspberry ice cream paired with Canadian singer-songwriter Feist's "Let It Die"; and a blueberry-mint jam paired with the self-titled debut album by Brooklyn-based trio Widowspeak.
Through Turntable Kitchen, the Hickeys hope to introduce more people to the natural connection between food and music. To that end, Matthew picks the music and Kasey chooses the recipes. Most recently, the duo launched the Turntable Kitchen Pairings Box, a monthly subscription in which subscribers receive a hand-assembled box in the mail with a custom-mixed vinyl record featuring favorite and up-and-coming bands; seasonal, themed recipes; dried ingredients; and suggested pairing and tasting notes.
What restaurants in San Francisco do you find yourself going to again and again -- and what do you order?
Kasey Hickey: Outerlands (any of its soups and a side of bread), NOPA (giant baked beans and a pork chop) and Koo (amazing appetizer called Spoonful of Happiness -- it's to die for, and comes with a shot of sake).
How do you begin when selecting a song?
Matthew Hickey: When I select a pairing, I like to start by thinking about the flavors in the meal. I'll write down a few descriptive terms to help get the process going with words like floral, sweet, rustic, intense, subtle, upbeat, textured, contemporary, etc. I'll also take into account geographic factors, which can help narrow down my selections. So, for example, if we have a sweet, upbeat and rustic recipe that includes ingredients that are commonly associated with the Pacific Northwest, I'll go through my record collection and rack my brain for a band whose music is also sweet, upbeat, rustic and, ideally, from the Pacific Northwest.
Kasey: The Canal House series are always on heavy rotation, "Heart of the Artichoke" by David Tanis, "Good to the Grain" (for baking) and both of Heidi Swanson's books. Even though we're not vegetarians, I love her interesting twists on seasonal cooking and choices of spices and grains.
Recent ingredient-obsessed usage?
Kasey: Marash pepper -- I put it in and on everything these days. I'm obsessed!
Five favorite recipe-song pairings?
Matthew: I have a number of personal favorites, but five recent ones that come to mind are (in no particular order):
1. SBTRKT paired with honey and rose water tapioca
2. The Decemberists paired with spicy, picked green beans
3. Beirut paired with poached halibut and corn salad
4. Crab pasta paired with James Vincent McMorrow
5. The Black Keys paired with the American burger
-- Caitlin Keller