Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Homemade Music

It might seem funny to hear this from someone working on a recording project, but I think we're too reliant on recorded music. In my parent's day, it was normal for there to be a piano in a well set-up house. If a family had no one that played an instrument, it generally meant they were very poor and often a quiet effort would be made among neighbors to make sure the kids in the family had some access to musical instruments and instruction.

It remains to be seen if the US consumer's changed habits of thrift and frugality will last, or if like that Atkins diet fad, we will grow bored with homemade dinners and low-cost vacations. I hope that if it is a fad, that it lasts long enough for a good swath of our generation and the next to rediscover the satisfaction of making the things we want and need for ourselves; including music.
Just in case you're thinking what I'm afraid you're thinking
Playing "Guitar Hero" doesn't fill the bill. All you're doing there is learning a different computer keyboard and hand-eye coordination. Playing an instrument gives you hand-ear coordination which accesses a different and neglected part of your brain.

My Dad was an amateur musician in his youth, and when I was growing up he would still occasionally play a tune on the piano or guitar. It wasn't perfect or brilliant or spectacular, but it was wonderful. It was real and it showed me that real people make music. I think I relate to music very differently because of those early experiences. If all you've ever heard are the artificially perfected sounds of a studio recording, how are you ever going to have the courage to make imperfect real music yourself?

Science is finally catching up with what my parent's generation knew. People need to hear live music and I think everyone needs to at least try to make some music themselves. Take a singing class. Pick up a cheap tinwhistle. Take a beginning guitar class at your local community college. If not for your own sake, do it for your kids or your sibling's kids so that if one of them is born with an undiscovered musical talent that he or she will have the courage to give music a try. That's what my Dad playing "Stardust" on the piano imperfectly, and with great love, did for me.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nine Element Scramtata

The Nine Element Scramtata has been a weekend brunch staple for Lingoman and I for quite a while. It took years of careful research and experimentation (urp) and now it's time to share the results with the world.


Quantities are per person to be served! An opportunity to use your fractional math skills!

2 strips thick-cut bacon
1/4 of a medium-sized onion
1/4 of a small potato
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup shredded cheese (of some type that makes you say "oooh!")
1/2 of a Roma tomato
2 broccoli florets
1 mushroom

Slice the bacon strips into small pieces. Fry over medium heat until they are about half-way done.
While the bacon is frying, chop the onion and potato into small pieces. Note: This morning I used a new potato, so the pieces are rounds instead of small chunks.

When the bacon is half done, lift it into a small bowl (don't put it on papertowels; you need the rest of the fat!) and discard the fat in the pan. Return the bacon, onion and potato to the pan and sauté.
While the bacon, onion and potato are cooking, beat the eggs and milk and fold in half of the shredded cheese.

Chop the tomato, mushroom and broccoli. Note: I had some spinach on hand this time so I used that instead of broccoli.
Add the tomato, mushroom and broccoli to the egg and cheese mixture.

When the savories in the pan are well and goodly sautéed, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes. Fold them into the egg, cheese and vegetable mixture and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the pan. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, scrape through the ingredients as the egg begins to cook. After a few minutes, start to scoot the mixture in toward the center until edges start to form. Continue round and round the pan as the sides of the scramtata form up.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top of the scramtata and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the cheese is melted and the vegetables poking up are golden brown.
Serve with crusty bread toast and Ta-da! Packed with nutrition, your scramtata will fuel a great weekend! Leave a comment if you try the recipe and love it!