Thursday, April 19, 2012

Paul Simon and Food: Parsley, Sage, Cornflakes and Mother and Child Reunion Chicken

Did you know that Paul Simon’s in town? He’s playing a couple of nights at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsallas and the Jazz@LC Orchestra with special guest, and one of my other music royalty favorites, Aaron Neville of New Orleans.  

In anticipation of the concert, I started to think about Simon’s music and couldn’t avoid coupling his songs with my other passion, food.  Within just a few minutes of research online, I discovered a little bit more about Simon’s music and food besides lyrics “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” and what I call the "Kellogg's Cornflake" song (Punky's Dilemma).  
Waffle Guitar Player by Bill Wurtzel, guitarist and author of Funny Food (read more below)
Scarborough Fair
Many catering companies and restaurants have named their businesses “Scarborough Fair” after the Simon and Garfunkel song of the same name. While most have come and gone over the years, none have had the staying power of the famed “parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” lyrics of this S&G remake of an English ballad.  About a love affair that consummated during the medieval 45-day trade fair in the seaside town, Scarborough, England, where spices and foods and other items were bought and sold, the fair was a 45-day event sandwiched between two Catholic feasts: the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Feast of St Michael. Quite a few “Simon and Garfunkel Chicken” recipes pop up on the Internet too – seasoned with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, no doubt.

Punky’s Dilemma (Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel)
Nonsensical and fun. I love the light breakfast lyrics: 
“Wish I was a Kellogg Cornflake,  
Floatin' in my bowl takin' movies,
Relaxin' awhile, livin' in style,
Talkin' to a raisin who 'casion'ly plays L.A.,
Casually glancing at his toupee.

Wish I was an English muffin
'Bout to make the most out of a toaster.
I'd ease myself down,
Comin' up brown.
I prefer boysenberry
More than any ordinary jam.
I'm a "Citizens for Boysenberry Jam" fan.
Bridge Over Troubled Water
A young man from Queens, New York, Simon wrote quite a bit about English places and traditions – he went there in the 1960s for inspiration. The bridge in the song is supposedly the Bickleigh Bridge in Devon built in the 16th century and next to the Fisherman’s Cot Inn on the River Exe. The area is well-known for its fresh fish, wine festivals (Devon Wine Week), farmers markets, and bar at the inn, the Devon Pub, where Simon spent a bit of time writing songs, and eating the locavore fare. My favorite version of Bridge Over Trouble Water is the duet with Paul Simon and Aretha Franklin.

Mother and Child Reunion
Apparently, Simon ripped the title of this reggae chart-topper (#4 on US Billboard) straight from a menu at a Chinese restaurant in New York’s Chinatown. A chicken and egg dish at Say Eng Look, a top Shanghai restaurant that thrived for decades until it closed in 1996 (Mimi Sheraton gave Say Eng Look three stars in her review of the restaurant for the New York Times in 1982), the "Mother and Child Reunion" recipe is basically a Chinese chicken and rice soup with a scrambled egg stirred into the piping hot broth right before serving. Tastes delicious particularly with the sound of Jimmy Cliff's steel drums in the background and Paul Simon on vocals.

I have to say, right now I’m “feeling groovy” about seeing them tonight -- Paul and Aaron feel like "old friends"

About the Funny Food Guitar Player: Bill Wurtzel, is a jazz guitarist, food artist and author. Bill knows how much I adore Paul Simon and sent me this funny food when he heard I was going to the show tonight. Bill has played with Howard Morgan for Paul Simon when Simon was on tour some years back. Morgan, renown guitarist who died earlier this year, was one of Paul Simon's guitar teachers.

No comments: