Saturday, 23 July 2011


I am a gourmand. I love to eat. I have eaten wonderful food all over the world and in all sorts of places and I am therefore now, in my fifties, a very fat bloke. Here are some gourmet tunes that I shall post each dinner time as I wait for my snail porridge to cook.

#50 Herbie Hancock: Canteloupe Island
The only melon I really like is watermelon and Hancock did of course have a big hit with his Watermelon Man but I prefer this tune, even if canteloupe wouldn’t be my choice of a starter, even wrapped in Parma ham as it often is on these shores. My partner recently ate a melon stuffed with haggis in Istanbul and it looked delicious. I sampled the 'haggis' and it was splendid. This was at Matbah restaurant, at the back of the Ottoman Palace Hotel, beside Hagia Sophia. When I say haggis, I mean stuffing made with rice, pine nuts, minced beef, spices, and so forth. His verdict was "Haggis in a melon rather than a sheep's stomach, Turkey WINS!"

#49 Las Ketchup: The Ketchup Song
Apparently the Spanish all girl group took the name because their dad is a famous flamenco guitarist called El Tomate (The Tomato). I chose this song because we heard it a lot when we were touring round Thailand and Cambodia years ago and were pursued by this earworm. Shame I really don’t like tomato ketchup. Like mushroom ketchup lots though. Can't abide raw tomato either. My grandmother used to force me to eat them when I was a lad and I'd throw up. My sister and I still gag when faced with an uncooked tomato.

#48 Sammy Davis Jr: The Candy Man
I have never liked the word Candy. It's American for sweets and makes me think of those disgusting tooth-hurty candy canes you get as Christmas decorations. This is a song from the original film of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, written by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley specifically for the film. I always assumed Candyman had another meaning. Sammy Davis Jr had a big hit with his cover. Unfortunately, after Davis inadvertently sang the song three times in a row while looking into a mirror, the Candyman came and chopped him up and he was never seen again.

#47 The Kingsmen: Jolly green giant
The men who gave us Louie Louie in 1963. In 1965, they had another Top Ten Hit with this. I was terrified of the Giant when I was a kid. And I had grown up and left home before I ever ate sweetcorn. Love it, though. Usually have it dripping in butter and poisoned with salt.

#46 Supertramp: Breakfast In America
I don’t think I ever bought one of their albums at the time but everyone I knew seemed to like them. Over time, I have warmed to this. Maybe it’s just the nostalgia. Reminds me of Judi Pulver. Remember her? They’re Dancing On The Moon? I have to say that I don’t have great memories of breakfasts in America. Bagels were good but grits were disappointing. Hush puppies and hash browns were interesting. My culinary thrills all came later in the day.

#45 Weezer: Pork and Beans
Not a bad wee song. The video’s fun though, with its litany of references of internet memes from the past few years. And pork and beans is a great combination. Boston baked beans; cassoulet; sausage, chips and beans; whatever…

#44 Moby: Honey
Saw him perform on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade one Hogmanay. Still have the t-shirt (that I wear only to the gym). Like this tune a lot, hearing it after such a hiatus. And honey, according to Barbara Cartland (who died at the age of 111 while riding to hounds with her Argentinian lover), is very good for you.

#43 The Drifters: Sweets for my Sweet
A year before Up On The Roof and two before Under The Boardwalk, The Drifters developed a sweet tooth. My Sweetie’s favourite sweets are Cadbury’s Creme Eggs and Tangfastics. I never eat sweets, but if I did, I would kill for chocolate limes and sherbet lemons. And Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate.

#42 Don McLean: American Pie
Loved this album and several songs from it. Madge covered this song of course but I still prefer the original, which has nothing to do with food. American Pie to me means the pecan pie I had in the U.S. and which I produce each year for an expat American’s fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner-in-Exile. Not that any of us has room for pie after all the delicious traditional fare like turkey stuffed with marshmallows or whatever.

#41 Blue Dots: Saturday Night Fish Fry
This jolly celebration of convivial fish eating ably sums up the joyful experience of going to visit a friend of ours who lives in a fishing town on the South Coast. She goes out to the fish market when we come down and, having once been a chef, produces outrageously good fish feasts.

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