“On top of spaghetti, all covered with cheese
“I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed….”
Ah, all the old and mostly lost (thank goodness) nursery rhyme songs about food from my youth. That one was a classic and I can still recall all the lyrics even today. If you listen to the rest of the song the meatball rolled on the floor, out the door, into a bush and turned into mush that the songwriter apparently TASTED.
The rest of the meatball eventually grew into a tree the next summer all covered with beautiful moss and spewing forth big meatballs and tomato sauce.
It sounds like this song writer might have tasted a few magic mushrooms, if you ask me.
But a huge bowl of spaghetti with meatballs all covered in Parmesan cheese would really hit the spot right now.
The music industry has a long history of songs inspired by food or about food that people may not realize. Many food songs are geared toward children.
Growing up I can recall a ton of children’s songs that were used to teach us basic things like counting or our ABCs. Most of them centered on food and the importance of eating fruits and veggies. I grew up singing the “Ice Cream Song” and the “Apple and Banana” song. I learned all about the letter C from the Cookie Monster on Sesame Street. A lot of these songs were played during kindergarten and the first year or so of elementary school.
They molded me into being the foodie I am.
My all-time favorite childhood foodie song was from the 1934 classic film, starring Shirley Temple called, “Bright Eyes.” In that film Temple sings “On the Good Ship Lollipop.”
I mean, come on — sweet tooth NIRVANA — look here are some of the lyrics:
“On the Good Ship Lollipop
It’s a sweet trip to a candy shop
Where bon-bons play
On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay
Lemonade stands everywhere
Crackerjack bands fill the air
And there you are
Happy landing on a chocolate bar”
Hello, Who doesn’t want to land on a chocolate bar? I have a huge fear of flying but if I knew I would be crash landing on a chocolate bar at a place where bon-bons play and the beach tasted of peppermint, I would punch my ticket and fly first class.
There are also plenty of foodie songs geared toward older listeners.
I loved listening to Elvis Presley on my dad’s eight track tape player (right now, millennials are scratching their heads). He had a food inspired lullaby called, “Cotton Candy Land,” where every star is a candy bar and the moon is a marshmallow dream.
The Beatles’ classic hit, “Strawberry Fields Forever” was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It was inspired by Lennon’s childhood memories of playing in the garden of a children’s home in Liverpool called Strawberry Fields. I used to play to this album on my brother’s record player (again millennials scratch). I could picture running through miles and miles of strawberries.
It wasn’t until I was older and watched the music videos (thanks to YouTube, millennials do understand this) and read the lyrics that I realized this song was likely more about the Beatles on a psychedelic trip than a field of sweet red fruit.
The disco, punk rock and grunge eras of the late 1970s through 1990s typically used food references to mean something other than food. Warrant’s “Sweet Cherry Pie,” is not about pie, for example. Same can be said for many hip hop songs.
But there were many songs made that were true foodie songs.
ZZ Top sang about TV dinners, “I like the enchiladas and the teriyaki too. I even like the chicken if the sauce is not too blue.”
Okay the blue sauce doesn’t sound appetizing but back in the day TV dinners were da bomb.
There is even a song that is just about eating pizza and tacos at the, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,” which sounds like a great place.
The best of all the Southern foods are beautifully articulated in the Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried.”
“You know I like my chicken fried and a cold beer on a Friday night,” the song starts. And continues to talk about pecan pie, sweet tea and homemade wine.
Best food song ever!
And there are just as many songs about the perfect libations that should accompany every great meal. But that is a whole other article.