One of my favorite biological anomalies is a medical condition known as synesthesia. People with this condition associate one sense with a different one. To give an example, the smell of lilacs may make a person think of the color blue, for no particular reason at all. It usually appears in intriguing characters of novels as a way to make them more connected with the world around them, but it’s also prevalent among creatives.  Though I am not on this plane of existence, I still think there are ways to have different senses compliment one another.  One of my recent endeavors into this area recently has been an exploration into combinations of some of my favorite foods with certain songs.  Through these sensory experiments, I hope to make each, both song and food, greater than they are alone. Let’s get weird.

Food: Chicken Fajitas

Song: Che Che Cole—Willie Colón

First off, both of these are amazing regardless of the presence of one another. Together, however, they make me feel like I am transferred to an outdoor market late at night with people dancing all around me. Colón’s jazziness just feels right as it merges with the spicy steam erupting from my attempt at making Mexican food. I’m pretty sure it’s now one of my favorite foods to make because of how much the song makes me want to sing along while making it.

Food: Banana Pancakes

Song: Banana Pancakes—Jack Johnson

A little bit of a cop out, but you really can’t have one without the other. Jack Johnson warms your soul, like one of those bites that melt in your mouth. Perfect for a Sunday morning where your sweet tooth is whispering in your ear to play something that will make you want to sing your heart out while cooking for the new bae you’re trying to impress. Make sure to have your black coffee steaming in the background for extra sensory overload.

Food: Thai Red Curry

Song: When the Truth Is...—Hamilton Leithauser+Rostam

They both seem like treasures you would find in a small NYC spot that you keep lowkey so they don’t blow up. They compliment each other like a fine Merlot with a nice cut of Peking Duck. It’s a feeling of Yuppie Americana that I treat as my guilty pleasure.

Food: Chocolate Lava Cake

Song: Brown Sugar—D’Angelo

Let’s get this straight: If you are eating any food and D’Angelo is playing, it is going to be a great meal. That same rule can be applied to any instance in which D’Angelo is playing. Chocolate lava cake brings out the wonders of the song with its voluptuously rich curves and warm center. It makes you want to melt, like the high notes of D’Angelo’s falsetto. I want every dessert moment to feel like how I feel when I listen to “Brown Sugar."

This list has not been scientifically tested, or even empirically, so take all suggestions lightly.  

If you have any good combinations of food and music yourself, send them to me as I would love to heighten my experience of two of my favorite aspects of life. I have to admit that my hunger has overtaken me right after writing this. Next on my list to try is a spaghetti with bolognese sauce while jamming to “What More Can I Say” by NxWorries. The song oozes with funk juices so simple yet complex, like the sauce on top of your fine Italian cuisine. Combine anything, try everything, and let’s make millennial food culture the new Billboard 100.


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