Fauxtisserie Chicken, Why We Love Drinking Songs, The Facebook Argument, & Can Music Be Fascist?
Herbed Fauxtisserie Chicken & Potatoes Slideshow, low and slow so you can goof off (or not.)
Herbed Fauxtisserie Chicken & Potatoes, Why We Love Drinking Songs, the Facebook Argument, Can Music be Fascist & Why Have So Many White Supremacists Dated Asian Girls?
(Originally posted in September 2020)
Drinking and I really don’t get along. I can have a few sips of wine or spike a coffee or soda and I will pass out, happily snoozing a weekend afternoon away, after I’ve put my daughter down for a nap. The first drink I ever had was that juice and alcohol concoction that frat parties served (not impressed. Not to mention serving it in a garbage can?) After a couple of sips and some fun dancing, the following morning was a visceral reminder of responsibility and choice. I liked the buzz but hated the feeling of not being able to think clearly nor did I like letting my emotions, good and bad, wrestle my decision making. So, I was the girl that was the designated driver, the girl friend who held back your hair while you threw up, the girl that picked you up at a friend’s house before your passed out, the girl that made sure her girlfriends weren’t completely high and drunk, doing something stupid, the one who said, “Are you sure you want to go home with that guy?”, the one who grabs her friend’s phone when she wants to drunk dial her ex, and the one who texted to make sure the guy you went on a date with wasn’t trying to kill you. Yeah. I could (and still can) be pretty responsible on a MASSIVE scale… but what goes up, must come down.
I was too practical and couldn’t afford seeing shows. (Have roast chicken once a week for a few months or go to Coachella? Obviously, the chicken won.) I had no problem supporting friends that were either playing shows or classical concerts and having fun (after getting over my awkwardness). I haven’t completely gotten over my gag reflex over seedy clubs (omg.. the bathrooms) or what people were doing in them (omg… the bathrooms), the sticky floors (what the?), and the glasses drinks were served in (omg. If the bathrooms are like that, what am I drinking out of?). I can pretend to be a low maintenance girl but I’d be lying to myself to say that I could live in that world, forever.
But here’s the thing. Even if the venue sucked, if the music and company were good, I’d still recheck my expectations and priorities and keep coming back for more. I’d still get dressed up in my high heels, actually do my hair and go support the musicians I knew, knowing that it was for a bigger cause or at the very least, an escape from a painful reality that no one wanted to hear or understood that I wrote “classical” music.
I “sold out” early. (Really liked good food, silky clothes, and fancy body lotion too much.) Didn’t mind putting in the excruciatingly long hours (I celebrated maybe four Halloween nights during my twenties) knowing I could have a full belly. (I still remember watching everyone getting dressed, excitedly screaming and going to their parties, while I continued in my work clothes, chasing a project deadline, nursing some Halloween candy, wondering if I should have just listened to my family and gotten married to someone who would take care of me so I wouldn’t have to sacrifice my youth, hoping my “out of the box” choices would work out. Then, the following day, I’d go to Starbucks, get a mocha Frappuccino, eat ramen, and start all over again. My coworkers can attest to that.)
Like any masterpiece, every set, concert, movie, even religious service, has a sweet spot. You can call it the “golden mean”, about 2/3 of its total, but like everything in life that’s built to be satisfying and beautiful, it can be a spiritual awakening. Humanity comes together, devoid of threats, breathing and surviving as one, dependent on each other to feel and expunge all that is worrisome, dark, and self serving, to bring light, happiness, hope, RELIEF. We relied on each other for survival. The very idea of going to see or experience music meant letting your guard down emotionally and physically (you’d be vulnerable to warring tribes) to escape the banalities of being human and help you focus on what makes you feel ALIVE. It can narrow your senses, help you remember your priorities, feel fully spiritual, happy, and content.
Here’s an article on empathy, singing mice and how playing and listening to music strengthens social bonds.
But what music can do to strengthen social bonds and help identify you with a particular group, can also tip humanity the other way. Exclusion. Here’s how Fascism and the Nazi’s used music to malign people’s priorities.
So, it calls to question, can a piece of music just be admired for how it makes you feel or is it intrinsically tied to your empathy level of the composer and creator, or dare I say, machine? Is a piece of music politically or socially repulsive because you don’t agree with the ideas of its creator?
The same issue of anarchy, political turmoil, feelings of acceptance vs exclusion that are happening politically and socially are now playing out in a microcosm within the heavy metal world. Take a look at this article questioning whether or not certain bands are upholding Nazi values. (If this is too heavy for you, look up the fact that many White Supremacist leaders have a thing for Asian girls. Lol. I love how my innate desire to create a happy home life and happy marriage is being weaponized against my race.)
So, riffing on the idea of whether you can like a piece of music even if you find its creator revulsive, try flipping the argument (which everyone is doing these days). Who or what is responsible for White Supremacists weak spots for Asian girls? Lol…stick with me here… (Btw, I don’t think I ever dated a White Supremacist. )
I’ll call it the Facebook argument. (Non sequitur: Can you tell my great grandfather was a revolutionary? He was considered a threat during the Spanish American War because he had the audacity to teach non Spanish, indigenous Filipinos how to read. He didn’t tell them what to think…only how to arm themselves with information. At the time, only the Spanish could be educated. We had Spanish blood.)
I’ll call it the Facebook argument. Say a band doesn’t believe in White Socialist ideals but its followers do. Does that mean the band is responsible for the bad things its followers do? Who is responsible? If a gun owner discharges a gun and kills someone, is the gun manufacturer responsible for the crime, the person who sold it to him, or even the politicians that passed the gun control laws? The gun owner was just using the gun. If we bomb villages, is the defense contractor responsible, our government, or the soldiers who were following orders? This discussion calls into questions of responsibility and choice, hence decision making which is intrinsically linked to mental health. (No wonder we’re all a bit confused right now!) It’s like, when I decided to drink the nasty alcohol concoction from the garbage can at the frat party then had my first hangover the next day. Who is responsible? The vodka manufacturer, the university, the frat party, or me? (Obviously, I’m responsible.)
So, I’d watch awkward patrons come in at a decent time, watch everyone carouse. Old friends catching up with hugs and kisses, exclamatory chit chat and sweet greetings. New friends coming over for a chat and a hug. Guys checking out the room to see which girls they would be interested in. Girls huddled together, giggling, figuring out who should talk to whom and men at the bar politely making conversation with the bartender or whomever they were interested in. I would be wondering why the hell I was there and praying the music would start soon. (PLEASE!) The floors, still scuffed and party grime muddled, were still clean. As the night wore on, and the alcohol flowed freely, the floors would progressively get stickier and stickier, the tentative dancing turned more audacious, same with the physical intensity, and it didn’t matter if you were at a karaoke bar, at a classical music concert, the opera, or at your friend’s outdoor pool party seeing your friend’s band play. About an hour or two before closing time, all hell breaks loose, that same feeling of electric love and humanity that pulsates through a fabulous rock or classical concert, the same intoxicating euphoria when you’re about to fall in love with someone you barely know, that satiated happiness from a gourmet meal or consummated love, the aching familiarity of a soulmate, or the buzz from a great drink you just had… that’s what being human, content, and HAPPY was all about. And guess what ? Almost always, we all broke out into a drinking song!
The physical act of us gathering together, to experience music, to feel connected, alive and safe, changing spiritually at the time of the “golden mean” or what I think is “closing time” (the hour or two before the bar closes), is currently not at our fingertips. The closest we have are Zoom gatherings and to a philosophically bigger extent, the push for voter participation in our elections or our right to protest whatever we believe in. En masse, I hope we can feel and change things, together. Based on the last few months, I’d like to optimistically think we’re almost there, at closing time… but I still feel like we’re stuck on the sticky dance floor, littered with spilled drinks, the bathroom strewed with toilet paper, wet to various degrees (ewww!) and who knows what by the mirror, the drunken fights breaking out in the front of the club, or trying to get your girlfriend to stop flirting with that nasty guy who’s a walking STD, all while juggling three jobs in order to finish your education and get your career going. But, like every bad/fun/horrible/shame-inducing/guilt-ridden/euphoric and laughable night, this will all end…. hopefully … and with enough strength within us to get through the emotional trauma. Back to responsibility and choice.
Even though we can’t be physically together now in order to experience one of life’s great pleasures, here’s to planning more indelible memories when live music and going to the movie theaters does comes back. Cheers! Thanks for reading (my funny ideas) and listening (to my genre bending picks)! I hope this made you laugh and think about the world in a different way. If you have any topics you’d like to discuss or laughable moments to share, please feel free to contact me. In the meantime, I’ll keep reading, cooking and playing music and I hope you do, too.
Because I love “Eurovision.” You know you love it, too. One of the redeeming things about 2020.
"Jaja Ding Dong Song"- Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
One night, a bunch of decided to go karaoking to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I remember dinner and hopping around to different karaoke bars. The last one we went to had this vibe. Before closing, the whole place sang this (much like this audience), drunk, laughing, and scream singing our lungs out, grateful to let off some steam. I didn’t know all the words but I sure as hell knew the chorus. (Omg. Even my husband knows it.)
Garth Brooks- Friends in Low Places
You’ve heard this in pasta or tomato sauce commercials, Italian travel shows, and any movie or TV show encapsulating bucolic Italian life. Yes. It’s a drinking song. Check out the hilarious comments.
La Traviata: 'Brindisi' ('The Drinking Song') – Glyndebourne
Because, no matter what life throws at you, a good beat can get you through anything.
Future- Life is Good (Official Music Video) ft. Drake
I was a kid when I saw this performance on PBS. It’s the artistic question. Is art judged solely on its merit, your inadvertent empathy of its creator, and also as a reflection of the creator’s moral and social values? My heart still aches for this beauty, everyday. The closest thing I have is my daughter. It pains me to ask this but is this Fascist?
Luciano Pavarotti sings "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot (The Three Tenors in Concert 1994)
I had never seen this video until writing this. I had a jacket just like hers in a beige pleather that I’d wear with a turquoise shelf tank top and jeans. Wow. I didn’t realize they were so music band geeky.
Semisonic - Closing Time (Official Video)
Herbed Fauxtisserie Chicken & Potatoes
Recipe by Carla Lalli Music, from Bon Appetit
I used to do this on the weekends when I could basically do nothing and check on it during it’s 3 hour roasting period. Now that alot of us are working from home, this is perfect when you need something comforting, delicious, and pretty easy.
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh marjoram; plus 4 sprigs, divided
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme; plus 4 sprigs, divided
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 3½–4 pound chicken
1 lemon, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, halved, or quartered if large
1. Preheat oven to 300°. Coarsely grind fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle. (I use a mortar and pestle because there’s something satisfying squishing something using brute force. It’s quaint, like a luddite.)
2. Combine spice mixture, chopped marjoram, chopped thyme, 1 Tbsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, and 3 Tbsp. oil in a small bowl.
3. Rub chicken inside and out with spice mixture. Stuff chicken with lemon, garlic, 2 marjoram sprigs, and 2 thyme sprigs. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. (I obviously did not do that because I did not have kitchen twine.)
4. Toss potatoes with remaining 3 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. (I used a Pyrex baker since I didn’t want to be scrubbing aluminum after this is done. I’ve used a bake sheet, cast iron, roasting pan with rack… Pyrex has the fastest cleanup.)
5. Push potatoes to edges of baking sheet and scatter remaining 2 marjoram and 2 thyme sprigs in center; place chicken on herbs.
6. Roast, turning potatoes and basting chicken every hour, until skin is browned, meat is extremely tender, and potatoes are golden brown and very soft, about 3 hours. (Crack open a bottle of wine for you and/or your boo.) Let chicken rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
Thanks for reading! Hope this gets you cooking and listening to music! xo Melissa