Food is whole-five-senses experience, and I have thus far neglected a very important sense: sound. The right background sounds can really set the mood for your meal.
Before setting the soundtrack for a dinner party, I recommend getting to know a little about your guests. What are their music preferences? What radio station do they listen to in the car? Do they support recording artists with a conscience?
I adore jazz, but that grates harshly on some people’s nerves, so I advise against it unless you know it’s a shared preference. Anything metal or dance can overtake conversation and speed up consumption [= guests leave early]. You also don’t want to depress your guests into leaving too early by playing music that is brain-intensive or melancholy – unless, of course, that is the tone of your evening!
My favourite dinner party music of the moment:
- Genres: mellow; alternative; jazzy; Brazilian.
- Albums: Down (Unplugged) – Zuco 103; Debut – Björk; Le Fil – Camille; Simple Things – Zero 7; Giant Steps – John Coltrane.
- Songs: “Electric Feel” – MGMT; “Just” – Mark Ronson; “Hey Mr DJ” – Zhané; “Seven Days in Sunny June” – Jamiroquai.
Ambient sounds are another consideration. The chopping and bubbling of a busy kitchen can create a sense of anticipation. If you are cooking a barbecue, the sizzle of fresh meat and vegies on the hotplate can titillate your guests’ tastebuds. The siren of a screaming child will likely do the opposite. Or it could inspire a bout of comfort eating. You never do know.