Recipe Secrets from Indie Rockers

By Jen Murphy Posted September 05, 2007

In our September issue, we got the inside scoop on rock superstar Sting’s organic lifestyle. His personal chef, Joe Sponzo, told us, “You can always bet on sausages with Sting”—particularly when they’re part of a pasta dish Sponzo makes that combines sausages from the local butcher and fresh peas from the kitchen garden.

I wonder if Sting might like the veggie sausage and peanut butter sandwich that’s a favorite of Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla.

Walla is one of 100 indie rock musicians who shared recipes for the new cookbook I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In the Kitchen with Your Favorite Bands by music and food writer Kara Zuaro.

Zuaro spent five years compiling and testing recipes from some of my favorite bands like My Morning Jacket, Belle & Sebastian and They Might Be Giants. Here she talks about some surprisingly sophisticated recipes, unusual cooking techniques and ideas for future projects.

Peanut butter and veggie sausage sandwiches sound awful – what was Death Cab for Cutie thinking?
It’s actually good. It almost has a Thai flavor to it because the peanut butter melts like a peanut sauce onto the spicy sausage patty.

Were there any musicians who really surprised you with fantastic recipes?
A lot of these musicians have actually worked in restaurants. Eric Bachmann of Crooked Fingers  told me he worked in restaurants nearly his whole life. He is one of my favorite singer-songwriters and his recipe for seared tuna with wasabi-coconut sauce really surprised me with its complexity of flavors.

And singer-songwriter Patrick Phelan is actually a classically trained chef and he made this incredible mac n’ cheese with fontina and Gruyère and lobster and truffle – not typical tour food. It was the fanciest recipe in the book and probably my favorite.

Did anyone have interesting cooking techniques?
Justin Angelo Morey of the Black Hollies uses a vinyl to time his recipes. The equipment list for his lentil soup recipe includes: soup pot with lid, wooden spoon, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers LP (the one with Eric Clapton), Fleetwood Mac's Black Magic Woman double LP  (with Peter Green) and the Beatles Revolver LP.

Are the bands in this book representative of the type of music you like to listen to?

For this book I chose mostly indie rock or punk rock because those bands are all, for the most part, starting out, driving themselves around. Many of them don’t even have a tour bus yet. So the book is for people who need to put together makeshift meals. I also listen to a lot of old soul and classic rock. Maybe there are more books to be done.

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