Can’t Get You Outta My Head

Rosemary Clooney

Sometimes I think there’s an iPod implanted in my head, hidden beneath this mop flop of hair. More times than not, there’s some song on permanent repeat, looping endlessly through my auditory cortex. Correction: a snippet of a song–what professionals call “a few bars”–and it bores into my brain like a Phillips screwdriver until, out of desperation, I start to hum a different tune, just to try to knock the ineradicable melody out of its groove.

Usually it’s a silly refrain that’s unrelated from anything in my life du moment. Snappy things. Like the old Enjoli and Oscar Mayer bologna commercials. Or every single jingle Barry Manilow ever wrote.

Sometimes, though, I find there’s an emotional frisson, as if my heart created a playlist for my neurons to thrum. Like the time I was tossed aside by The Man Who Proved Not to Be The One–that Brit shitwit who cheated on his not-yet-ex-girlfriend with me and then on me with his not-yet-ex-girlfriend’s best friend. For months I couldn’t get We Do Not Belong Together from “Sunday in the Park with George” out of my mental music queue.

Lately there’s a new song–well, okay, an old song that I just downloaded–that’s taken up residence in the glittery jukebox in my head. Maybe it’s the warm weather, or the five pounds I lost, or the new meds, but it’s a sassy little flirtation that sums up my feelings at the moment: “Come On-A My House” by the incomparable Rosemary Clooney. The One thinks it’s a dirty ditty. He thinks Rosemary offering all those apricots, figs, cakes, and Easter eggs really represents unfettered access to her lady parts. I think he thinks too much about lady parts.

I have a hunch the reason why the song’s number one with a bullet on my personal music chart has something to do with all the entertaining we’ve been doing. For the past few weeks I’ve wanted–just like Rosemary–to jam as many family and friends into our house and stuff them full. With everything. Things I’ve cooked a hundred times (like tagliatelle with leeks and shrimp and lemon curd cake) as well as things I’ve yet to try (turducken and whole roast pig, anyone?). I want to hear great roils of laughter rising up and curling over themselves in the corners of the ceiling. I want to serve handsome platters of grilled meats, bowls of potato salad of every imaginable sort, and tray after tray of sweets. I want to pour wine from enormous carafes held high above my guests’ glasses while tossing my head back in gut-shaking guffaws at the latest lewd joke and never spill a drop. And more than anything I want everyone to bang on the tables and whistle until the room grows very quiet, which is The One’s cue to turn down the lights and shine my iPhone’s flashlight app on me as I sing a few ballads from the ’40s and ’50s, including our song, When I Fall in Love. (Now that I think of it, maybe what I really want is to be a contract player in an old MGM movie.)

Clearly, I’m not alone. Last weekend Kate Morgan Jackson of Framed Cooks invited The One, me, and several other guests over for a languorously long day of food, wine…and song. From her iPod–the one on her sideboard, not in her head–blared 103 songs, all gastronomically related. It started with Red Solo Cup and a chicken-green bean salad for lunch on the patio; transitioned to Hungry Like a Wolf and Cornbread, Molasses and Sassafras Tea for mid-afternoon fortifications in the kitchen; segued to Everyone Eats When They Come to My House underscoring lobster macaroni and cheese in the dining room; and ended up with The Candy Man and dessert in the family room. After more than six hours of music, what didn’t I hear? That’s right. My darling Rosemary’s call for guests. I sent Kate the song, this coquette that has been tickling my medulla oblongata for weeks, as an invitation to come on-a our house. I wonder what she’ll send as an RSVP?

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[Editor's Note: Okay. 'fess up. What music do you use to feed your food mood? It can be a particular song or a general genre. We're just curious.]

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Comments
Comments
  1. Susan says:

    Don’t I just hate it when a part of a song constantly replays in my head. Yesterday, I watched the BBC show of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (and another subsequent show about her life). Pomp and Circumstance (with all the accustical nuances as it would have been if played in a cathedral) has since been stuck in my head, to the point that as I served the eclairs that I made yesterday for dessert last night, I presented them while humming the tune..out loud! Pomp and Eclairs? OMG…just shoot me now.

    • David Leite says:

      Susan, you’re so not alone. I was looping “God Save the Queen” for days when all this diamond jubilee shenanigans started.

  2. Oh, that glorious day of cooking….THAT’S what is currently stuck in my head. Although I did just add Jimmy Buffet’s “Boat Drinks” to my Dinner Party playlist…104!

    • David Leite says:

      For me, besides the music it was: 1.) your generosity, b.) Don’s attempt to make it look like he wasn’t paying TOO much attention to the baseball game, c.) Emma’s chatter about college, boys, and country music, d.) Dixie’s vacuuming ability, and e.) The One’s utter comfortability to fall asleep in minutes while reading on your patio.

  3. Rick Casner says:

    You have a nice playlist in there. When I Fall In Love is one of the best songs ever written, I think. This does cut both ways though and just because I’m feeling a little onery this morning, please repeat after me: “It’s a small world after all…It’s a small world after all…It’s a small world after all…It’s a small, small world.”

    Try to get THAT little baby out of your mind.

    Have a nice day.

  4. Beth says:

    Oh, that’s a gem of a song, though I find myself listening to Bette Middler’s version more often than Rosemary’s. My go-to “food” song is Paolo Conte’s “Via Con Me,” but that’s because I associate it with “Mostly Martha,” a fine food film. Then again, speaking of Rosemary and food films, “Mambo Italiano” from “Big Night” is hard to beat.

  5. Susan Bingaman says:

    Once “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” by the Temptations (song 100 of 110 on my Motown playlist, if you must know) gets cranked up on my kitchen iPod, good things happen. I can’t do any of the moves but I do attempt to sing all five parts. Listening to that song reminds me of cooking with my dad who makes the best fried potatoes that side of the Mississippi.

  6. Judy says:

    There was a song way back when I needed it most that had the line “For you are beautiful and I have loved you dearly, More dearly than the spoken word can tell” sung by a man whose voice melted my heart when it was almost frozen solid. I was trying to make a very difficult decision and that snippit of a song helped immensely.I didn’t know the title of the song nor the artist til years later when I found it on the computer. The song is The Last Farewell by Roger Whittaker. All I heard at the time was that part of the song–what I now know is the ending chorus. Many times thru the years since, that snippet of a song has reminded me that I am beautiful and I have been dearly loved for many years.

    On a lighter note You must experience a whole roast pig at least once in your life. We did ours the old fashioned way in a rock-lined pit in the ground. It was done as a birthday gift for a friend. He told me no one had ever thrown him a bash for his birthday since he was a child–he was nearing 60–everyone should have at least one big bash for their birthday in their adult lifetime. It was 24 hours of at times hard work–little sleep–lots of camraderie with the friends that helped me pull off one of the best birthday bashes ever. The memory of that tender moist meat lingers to almost make me want to do it again. We did two different years and decided we had to find an easier way to feed the masses. We “did” the pig and everyone else brought the sides, salads and desserts. Oh what a feast we had! I urge you to do it!

    • David Leite says:

      Judy, glad you got something out of Whittiker’s song. Sometimes I think our unconscious has a very good ear, if you will.

      I have had whole roast pig, in Portugal, Spain, Hawaii, Tennessee, and Puerto Rico. But I’ve never attempted it myself. Now you have me thinking…..

  7. Martha in Kansas says:

    I recognized Rosemary right away. Wouldn’t you love for George to show up for dinner? Hubba-hubba! Thank goodness we now can Google a bit of lyrics & “name that tune.” I do that often as those old commercial jingles from way back pop into my head often – but don’t ask me the name of the movie I just watched. Selective memory can be frustrating.

    “My baloney (bologna) has a first name…” lol

    • David Leite says:

      Hey Martha, it is so great we can look up al those songs and lyrics. I have a great time just humming along as if it were 1966.

  8. Christine Chronis says:

    Great piece of writing, David!

    “I want to hear great roils of laughter rising up and curling over themselves in the corners of the ceiling” is pure poetry.

    “Hungry Woman” is my new favorite song, and loved all the links in the comments.

    • David Leite says:

      Danke, Chronis. Perhaps we need to create a playlist for our Second Annual Mount Desert Island Frolic?

  9. Pam Moore says:

    1. I wanna come to that dinner party! We have to have music at dinner.
    2. When our five–yes–five boys were growing up, we always had music for dinner with dancing after while said sons were doing dishes.
    3. This past Christmas in Puerto Rico, we had roast pig cooked on a gate it was wired to and turned once an hour by several hefty Coasties (including son # 5).
    4. Made a turducken once with three different stuffings. Aforementioned sons called it Frankenturkey, but enthusiastically scarfed down every scrap.
    5. I’ve been teaching one of our parrots to whistle the Bridge on the River Quai song. Suffice to say, that is all I’m getting on the brain iPad.

    • David Leite says:

      1. Come on along!
      2. Dinner and dancing. Boy, you have us beat.
      3. I was in Puerto Rico in April. Had excellent coffee and léchon.
      4. Frankenturkey! Love it.
      5. You do mean Colonel Bogey’s March, right?

      • Pam Moore says:

        Yes! Thank you, Col. Bogey’s March. Sux getting old! The diligent parrot is still working on it and it’s my morning march too. I feel like it would work so much better with a swagger stick. Lol. We loved the Puerto Rican coffee so much that #5 (the Coastie) sends me shipments of coffee and the natural sugar I got used to there. I’m enjoying it this morning…

  10. Neysa says:

    All I know is after reading your title, I’ve got Kylie Minogue running circles in my brain. For the most part with dinner parties, I stick closely to Frank, Tony, Nat and Dean. Thanks for the nice read!

  11. Hold Tight by the Andrews Sisters has been stuck in my head ever since I used it in a video slideshow about an oyster farm

    The Andrews Sisters, on the other hand are perfect!! Hope their “Hold Tight” doesn’t make you too hungry!

    Want some sea food, mama
    Shrimps and rice they’re very nice
    I like oysters, lobsters too,
    I like my tasty butter fish, fooo
    When I come home late at night
    I get my favorite dish, fish

    • David Leite says:

      Great slideshow Laurie, and I love “Hold Tight.” I’s never heard it. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  12. May says:

    It’s even worse when you listen to music in a different language that you only partially understand. Then you just keep repeating the scant amount of English lyrics. Or butcher the lyrics. Ahem, Korean pop.

    • David Leite says:

      May, that is hysterical and so true. I do it sometimes with Brazilian lyrics–boy, do I slaughter the Portuguese language.

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