July 2021


From the editor

Andrea Gyorody

Five years ago this month, I married a music journalist. I'd always been at least vaguely interested in music, enough to seek out new bands or Shazam whatever was playing on KCRW late at night while I was trying to write seminar papers in grad school. But when I met my now-husband Todd in Berlin in 2014, I realized I basically knew nothing. I wanted to impress him, though, so between dates, I tried to give myself an internet crash course in electronic music—his field of specialty—so that I wouldn't reveal myself to be a total dweeb who didn't know the difference between house and techno.

Since then, I've learned a lot about music of all kinds, mostly by osmosis—through the constantly changing and frequently surprising tunes that emerge from our home speakers, courtesy of Todd. We cook, eat, clean, and play with our toddler to the sounds

It's thanks in part to Todd—and his enviable Rolodex of music writers—that this issue of Digest has come together around the theme of sound and food. Riffing on the recent publication of Snacky Tunes, which investigates chefs' relationships to music, veteran critic Sasha Frere-Jones writes about the intersections of food and music in his own life, a subject also taken up by writer and cheesemonger Martin Johnson, who has spent years tracking the music pumped into boutique food shops in New York City.

Journalist Geeta Dayal digs into Moog's Musical Eatery, a cookbook published by the late Shirleigh Moog, wife of legendary synthesizer inventor Bob Moog; it's a fascinating historical artifact that also functions as a primer on how to feed a crowd of luminaries on a modest budget. Inspired by one of my all-time favorite things on the internet, an illustrated look into Prince's refrigerator, writer / DJ / curator Jeff "Chairman" Mao talks with musician and caterer Piya Malik about what's in her fridge—which had me frantically googling where I could pick up some Maggi's Hot & Sweet Ketchup. Finally, in a video and accompanying text titled sending a message to you, artist Adee Roberson offers a moving meditation on childhood and family, one that feels especially resonant as many of us slowly emerge from the pandemic fog of isolation, finally able to make memories over food and good music with loved ones once again.

—Andrea Gyorody

Active Cultures is a cultural organization that explores the convergence of food and art in contemporary life.