Playing the right music can make your food taste better, writes Lucas Oakeley on the MOB Kitchen blog. Music genre and volume can directly have an impact on the way we taste, which explains why Tripadvisor is full of noise complaints from irate diners.
Unpleasantly loud music can “suppress our ability to taste sweet and sour”, according to Professor Charles Spence, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford. In fact, it’s much harder for your brain to concentrate on subtle flavours with music blaring in the background – Nigella Lawson once claimed she was “allergic to all noise” in restaurants because it “drowns out the taste of the food”.
“Sonic seasoning” can bring out specific flavours in a dish: classical music makes “food and drink taste more classy and expensive” and encourages diners to spend more. Meanwhile, ethnically appropriate music, such as Italian opera with your pizza, can “enhance the perceived authenticity of the dish”.
Then again, maybe all this time I’ve spent worrying about “what playlist is going to make my carbonara say ‘I’m dateable’ could have been better spent actually improving my skills in the kitchen”.
Lizzo’s juicy take on vegan meat
Vegan meat made from walnuts has gone viral on TikTok, after American singer Lizzo shared a recipe for plant-based nachos with her 14.7 million followers. Her vegan meat is a blend of finely chopped walnuts, bell peppers, onions and toasted spices, according to VegNews. Since announcing her veganism last June, Lizzo has often shared innovative recipes with her fans, including vegan ice cream bread and a vegan Thanksgiving feast.
Ingredient of the week: asparagus
“Asparagus performs at its best with little effort,” says Alexa Weibel in The New York Times. “It retains its bright-green hue, delicate flavour and crisp-tender crunch when cooked quickly.” The spears are delicious roasted, blanched or sautéed. Even Yotam Ottolenghi admits “cooking asparagus is one of the easiest kitchen tasks around”. He recommends roasting them in olive oil until softened and browned, then adding almonds toasted in butter, fried capers and fresh dill. With asparagus season upon us, there’s no excuse not to get cooking.