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  • Melissa Orquiza

5 Min: Lazy Butternut Squash Soup & Variations, Musicians & Food, "Little Mermaid," Toosie-Slide 2.0

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Variations on Lazy Butternut Squash Soup and #tipsfromaformerstarvingmusician. Funny, but true.

5 Min: Lazy Butternut Squash Soup, Tips from a Former Starving Musician, The Little Mermaid, Britten & Drake's Toosie Slide 2.0 (Again!)

I think I was starving in one of my past lives (that and a colonial matron.. but that’s another story. Bwahaha!) My husband makes fun of me because what people basically throw away, I either repurpose, remake or save until it’s basically unusable or I forgot I had it (ridiculous!). We have been extremely fortunate but it wasn’t always this way. So in the spirit of what is happening around us, I’ve been altering my daughter’s clothes, trying to make the most of the food we buy, and experimenting with repainting old furniture. (I’ll tell you how that goes… or better yet, post hilarious fails if it goes that way.) My foray into adulthood helped immensely. Although my family had means, they did not always agree with my life decisions nor was there a blank check. So, knowing I had the temerity of maybe one or two bad decisions before I had to accept failure and humbly wonder if I should have gone forward with my acceptance to Stanford instead of going to music school, my work ethic and practicality were my only controllable buffers to complete familial humiliation. (A lifetime of “I told you so”… worse than musician jokes.) Obviously, I think I’ve mainly gotten over that… or maybe not! Lol!

Everyone I know has been affected by the enacted economic policies. (Boo!) So, in the spirit of being my tongue-in-cheek self, I’ve decided to share what I learned as a former starving musician. My twenties (like many of us) were wonderful, awkward, horrible, funny, and downright hilarious.

Tips from Food Obsessed Musicians

Note: These are culminations of observations from my husband, friends and I. Hilarious and sadly, true.

  1. Eat all the food you can after a recital, performance, concert, or gig. You never know when you’ll get to eat like that again and/or you might have something new you like. If you’re lucky enough, this includes break-time.

  2. Never pass on free food...EVER.

  3. If lunch is on the production, ORDER!

  4. Rice, beans, bacon, eggs, pasta, (maybe ramen), garlic and onions are your friends. That combination and with some spices, the possibilities are endless. Your tastebuds can go around the world.

  5. Don’t throw away those peels and food scraps. Freeze them and make them into soup, smoothies, teas, frittatas, popsicles, stir-fries or curry.

  6. Don’t shop in the middle of the grocery store (or limit it). Everything is more expensive and might kill you. Shop the fresh food, on the outside perimeter of the store.

  7. Watch the sale items each week. Even better, shop right before or shortly thereafter from the sales posting, so you get doubly discounted items on the same week. Only get things you'll actually use.

  8. Don’t get discouraged by the stuff you can’t have… yet. That’s the encouragement. Just because you can’t have it now doesn’t mean you won’t have it later.

  9. Musicians are intensely creative. If one of you is cooking, the other should be creative in other complementary, satisfying ways. It's called a "relationship."

  10. Beware of dating another starving musician. You guys might love each other but one of you might be using the other (inadvertently) for food. (It can go both ways from going out to eat, to making food, to buying food and the other one has to prepare it, etc.)

  11. Laugh/cry/get angry/make up if they write you a song. Proceed with caution (at both of your risks.) It could work out great or horribly wrong… like life!

  12. Same as above if you’re a musician dating a non-musician. He or she may secretly want to be a musician and hoping that your "magic" will rub off. (We all know that "magic" is usually decades of hard work). It's not limited to gender. My friends and I have seen men with "understandings."

All over the world, swaths of industries are rethinking their economic priorities so it shouldn’t be discouraging if you possibly need to do the same. My husband and I, even before we had her, had discussed we never wanted our daughter to live in lalaland. Even though she may have opportunities that others do not, it does not excuse her from learning, working hard and understanding that nothing in life comes without cost (emotional, financial, time) and responsibility. Happiness (my definition) is truthfully knowing what your priorities are and working with purpose. (I could be full of hot air.) If it blows up, at least you worked hard and tried as opposed to not doing anything at all. So, that’s my longwinded answer to Santa gives her a few presents, so she doesn’t end up a spoiled brat.

I love reading about corporate maneuvers. I find the idea of entire corporations, monoliths of people, unable to react nimbly, fascinating. (Herd mentality is real!) This article is about the opposite. Did you know that Disney in the 1980’s, almost shelved animation? It’s unthinkable now, but here’s an article detailing how one movie, “The Little Mermaid”, helped save the studio and was subconsciously, “cheeky!”

'The Little Mermaid' Was Way More Subversive Than You Realized

I had to google why mermaids exist in almost every culture. I thought maybe the sailors were just high on dehydration amongst other things…

What is a Mermaid?

Here’s your favorite, red-headed, “cheeky” mermaid.

The Little Mermaid - Under the Sea (from The Little Mermaid) (Official Video)

Because you can’t talk about the sea and classical music without Britten…. Pay special attention to the first and fourth movements.

Britten - Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Op 33a - Oramo

Finally, the opening movement to Britten’s Four Sea Interludes (above) have flutes that, I have no idea why, reminded me of the beginning of Drake’s, “Toosie Slide” with its processed vintage keyboard. Maybe it's the mermaid, lockdown thing? LA is getting locked down again, so we can all revisit the dance moves. Aww yeah, bump, shake and groove...with fireworks! “Right foot up, left foot slide… left foot up, right foot slide…”

Drake - Toosie Slide

I hope this made you laugh, think, and maybe forget about your troubles for awhile… or better yet, know that you actually have more agency than you think! #tipsfromaformerstarvingmusician. Thanks for reading! I hope you have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

5 Min: Lazy Butternut Squash Soup. Who doesn’t want a back pocket recipe in case you run out of time or there’s an unexpected emergency? This is it!


1 butternut squash

salt & pepper

maple syrup to taste


mascarpone cheese

cranberry sauce or gel (that you’ve made or purchased because food snobs can suck it on Thanksgiving)


  1. Place the entire butternut squash in the slow cooker. (Don’t even cut it. Just wash, make sure you peel the sticker and stick that sucker in there.)

  2. Set on high for 2-3 hours.

  3. Open lid, use to large spoons to remove the entire butternut squash. Split it open, take out the seeds, scoop out the flesh, and put the orange flesh back into the slow cooker. Add hot water or cold water to barely cover. Use immersion blender to process into a smooth soup. (Alternatively, you can do this in a blender and put it back into the slow cooker.)

  4. Add salt, pepper, and most importantly, some maple syrup to taste. You want the rich complexity of the maple syrup to give the squash some elegance.

  5. Heat soup on high for about 20 minutes, then hold to warm setting until ready.

  6. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a dollop of mascarpone cheese and cranberry sauce or a nut. (I usually spike my cranberry sauce with cognac or Grand Marnier if I added orange marmalade. Please experiment! Congratulations on making a soup in literally, 5 minutes!)

Variations (omit maple syrup). Add before pureeing :

* Fall butternut squash soup: Add sauteed apples, onion, & sage.

* Miso butternut squash soup: Add white miso to taste.

* Curried butternut squash soup: Add curry powder or the best curry spice mix you can find; saute garlic, onions, and the spice mix. Add.

* Coconut curried butternut squash soup: Same as above but add coconut milk.

* Chili butternut squash soup: Add Calabrian chiles or harissa (depending on what mood or country you're feeling). Calabrian goes well with rosemary or sage. Harissa goes well with chickpeas for extra protein.

* Rosemary, garlic, & tiny bit of fresh red chile butternut squash soup: Saute all. Don't add alot of the red chile. You just want an undertone of heat. Add.

* Messing with the french butternut squash soup: Add sauteed pears, onion, thyme, & cognac. Hazelnuts rock if you're into presentation.

* Noodle bowl: Don't puree. Just scoop out flesh. Add to sauteed garlic, onion, tomato with black vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Add soup & noodles.

* Miso noodle bowl: Same as above but use miso soup and ramen noodles. Don't add the rest of the aromatics.

* Filipino-ize it: Add sauteed ground pork, garlic, onion, tomato, fish sauce, broth and green beans. Serve with freshly cooked rice.

Thanks for reading! #tipsfromaformerstarvingmusician. I hope it made you laugh and smile! I hope you have a wonderful week! Xo, Melissa

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