I grew up listening to music. My Dad had this two-toned box of albums that sat on the floor in our suburban home’s study. My sister rocked back and forth on all fours to Credence Clearwater Revival before she really learned to walk, and I remember at least one of my father’s sermons that referenced Simon & Garfunkel lyrics—“the words of the Prophets are written on subway walls and tenement halls.”

Rebecca Withers Chastenet

We sang folk tunes and listened to cassettes on long road trips between Oklahoma and New Mexico, and the coolest summer camp counselors were the ones who could play the guitar and sing James Taylor or John Denver songs by heart.

As a 1970s and 1980s kid, disco dancing lessons (really!) filled one afternoon a week for a few months in middle school. The teacher wore skin-tight white jeans with a huge, long-handled comb sticking out of his back pocket. He insisted on dancing the Hustle every session and finished each class with a high-pitched Bee Gees tune. Think “Night Fever” or “Stayin’ Alive.” Seriously. A girlfriend’s bedroom door was plastered with a poster of Peter Frampton right next to a face shot of Leif Garrett. (It was all about the hair, I guess?)  And in college in the late eighties, I spent more nights than I can count dancing to the synth-pop beats of New Wave bands like OMD, Depeche Mode, Yaz, R.E.M, and INXS.

Because I grew up in Oklahoma and Texas, country music also holds a special place in my heart. Or maybe it’s because I’m a die-hard lyrics girl—I love songs first for the stories they tell, and country songs recount tales of heartbreak, hard work, and homegrown fun like songs of few other genres. My favorites include Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, George Straight, and Oklahoma-bred Garth Brooks.

Actually, the lyrics thing is really big with me. I’ve often commented that if school curriculums were set to music, the material would sink in for students, and stick. I marvel that I can sing the lyrics of tunes spanning six decades, from 1940s Billie Holliday and Frank Sinatra ballads to the pop/rap hybrid songs dominating the radio today. I can also do a mean “Mom rap” which earns me much eye-rolling on the drive to school each morning.

Music, for me, really does offer a different form of communication. It’s much more than background noise, or interesting rhythm. And I choose music to fit my mood. My recent craving for simple authenticity had me replaying the same Taj Mahal blues guitar riff over and over again. Which just goes to show it really isn’t all about the lyrics after all.

If you are a friend or fan of Slurp on Facebook, you’ve probably noticed we post a song or video nearly every day.  Our selections, much like our menu, vary according to creative whim. Carlos is our DJ, but he almost never misses the mark on tunes that work for me too, and I credit him for bringing music back into my life. Thanks, partner!

I love the interaction with customers that our music provides.  When one of you “likes” or comments on video post, it’s a form of connection that goes beyond the small talk from the window. Or when you start singing along or naming the tune wailing loudly from the trailer, it gives me a glimpse into your life. I’m a writer, so what I do next is create a story in my mind about who you are, what you do, and what moves you. What makes you dance and smile as you wait for coffee or lunch triggers my imagination, and I run wild with your story while I ladle up your soup or press your panini.

When I began, I thought this new post might be about how cooking could be compared to a symphony—all the parts coming together harmoniously and such. But I figure that’s been said before. Plus, I think it would be far more fun to leave you with a playlist. A Slurp playlist of songs about good food, and the good times behind making and sharing it. Here ya’ go:

1.  Black Coffee – k.d. lang

2.  Tupelo Honey – van Morrison

3.  Come on In my Kitchen – Taj Mahal

4.  Alice’s Restaurant – Arlo Guthrie

5.  Dinner Bell – They Might Be Giants

6.  Sweet Potato Pie – James Taylor and Ray Charles

7.  Soup of the Day – Chris Rea

8.  Mashed Potato USA – James Brown

9.  Pantry – Lyle Lovett

10.  On Top of Spaghetti – Tom Glazer

And for all of you fellow Sesame Street educated kids:

11. “C” is for Cookie – The Cookie Monster


Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @SLURPSantaFe