SALSA VERDE BY GOMEZ
Contrary to common belief, rock bands do actually like to eat. In fact, whenever I encounter a touring act that has just arrived for a soundcheck, the first thing they inquire about does not involve drinks, groupies or even narcotics. Nine out of ten will ask me, “Where’s good to eat around here?” Some, indeed have asked, “Who’s good to eat around here?”, but the less said about Norwegian Death Metal bands the better.
Perhaps it’s due to the mutual Bacchanalian love that we have for all things consumable, but some of the best food discussions I’ve had have been with musicians. I’m always fascinated by what they like to eat when they’re on the road and even more interested to hear about what they wolf down when they’re finally back home again. If you’ve just spent a few months gigging and acting the complete maggot, one surefire way to start feeling relatively sane again is to chow down on your favourite bits of comfort food. Even the most hardcore of rockers need a bit of chillax and the faint whiff of humanity will reappear in no time after a couple of days of home cooked fare and DVD box sets.
One act who were recently over in Dublin for a show in The Academy, took the time out to hit me up with their food and drink experiences. They are the wonderful Gomez, a band I’ve always had a keen ear for. Last year they released their sixth studio album which saw them tour the entire planet. Tom Gray (vox/guitar/bass/keyboards) was the honorary spokesman of the band that day and answered all my questions with a nice enthusiasm. I personally feel this type of interview is more interesting than the usual “what acts inspire you” kinda crap that you see all too much of. Tom also gave us a very nice recipe for Salsa Verde. I have given it a go and can safely say that his recommendation of roasting the garlic is indeed a top tip. Cheers Tom!
(This is the obligatory food/drink related question that all acts must be asked) What’s on your food rider?
- Cheese. The great leveller. Everyone likes cheese. Gastronomic proof
that everything in life tends towards the middle. Fresh fruit. Good
local bread if we can get it. Preferably a sourdough.
What’s the one food or dish that would make you instantly puke?
- Not at all squeamish about grub. I’m one of those annoying bastards
who preaches to everybody about getting over their squeamishness and
enjoying it all. If, like me, you preface a conversation about food
with, “I’m a big fan of offal.” people frequently run and hide behind
their chicken kiev.
Your earliest food memory is ………
- Probably something like eating my mum’s Lancashire hotpot with pickled
red cabbage. My dad was a local comprehensive school French teacher so
I’d be taken on school trips to France (the annoying teacher kid
foisted on the older kids) where, aged around nine, I had a food
epiphany eating oysters, mussels, winkles and langoustine off the same
plate. Never looked back.
The first time you got drunk, what did you drink and how much did
- Classic family-party, stealing a bit out of every bottle. It was the
early-eighties so there was probably a fair amount of mild and bitter
being snuck out of 2-litre plastic bottles. Gotta love progress.
What’s the worst thing you can eat before going on stage?
- Something heavy and gas-inducing. Take your pick.
Have you ever gone on a whacky food diet?
- No, but I have discovered (and I’m sure you’ll laugh at that
obviousness/denial of it) that lager is my nemesis. When I was 23 I
could drink on tour like a fish no problem. These days, aged 32, if I
drink lager I go up a waist size over the course of a tour. All that
free beer backstage….. More of a red wine man these days, though
that’s hardly whacky, or technically a diet.
What’s your all time favourite hangover meal?
- The Australian breakfast. Essentially an English/Irish breakfast
(Post-colonialism. The relative national identities of breakfast?
There’s a thesis in there.) but cooked better, with fresher
ingredients and they oh-so-welcome addition of avocado. Mmmmmm. Eggs
must be poached too.
When you’re not on the road what do you like to cook at home?
- I recommend adding roasted garlic to your salsa verde. Take your
handful of flat leaf parsley, 4 or 5 anchovy fillets, tablespoon or so
of capers, a large gulp of olive oil, finely chop the lot, and then
squeeze 5 or 6 freshly roasted cloves into the mix. The sweetness of
the garlic really dramatically alters the salsa. It’s amazing with any
fish, pork or chicken.
Another joyful little treat is to add a couple of drops of truffle
oil to normal pouring honey and spoon it on your cheese. Real truffled
honey costs loads, don’t waste your cash. Try it tomorrow. You won’t
Gomez will be touring North America soon. For dates check out http://www.gomeztheband.com/