Blogger of the Month: Laura Leebove of EatingTheBeats
Laura Leebove isn’t afraid of getting her readers addicted to new music and delicious dishes. Her daring approach and personal insights are what make her blog such a wonderful read. Within minutes, you’ll be exposed to new, funky, alternative songs and classic oldies, paired with traditional foods spiked with a ‘Laura twist’: for example, carrot-spice madeleines or herb-cheddar buttermilk biscuits (yum!). This Brooklyn girl will take you on a food and music journey by talking about–and sharing pictures of–fun homegrown food projects, like cooking for themed parties and creating recipes inspired by musicians and lyrics. Laura also introduces fellow bloggers who, like her, find creative ways to combine what we hear with what we eat. Many people would certainly agree: the perfect song combined with the perfect dish makes for the ultimate satisfying experience for music-savvy foodies.
What is your day job?
My full-time gig is in the editorial department at eMusic, the digital music store. I’m the production editor, so I do a lot of writing and editing, HTML coding, and a lot of web production-type things.
How do you allow music to guide the inspirations for your recipes?
It really depends on the post. I usually do start with the music rather than the food, and it’s sort of hard to explain, but a lot of times I think about qualities a particular artist has–like if their music is comforting, delicate, sweet, loud–and I try to find foods that have similar qualities. The times when I’m more likely to think of the food first is if I’m doing some kind of playlist — like the apple one.
In one of your posts, you pair Gwen Stefani’s song “Don’t Speak” with Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes. Tell me more.
The inspiration for that post came in part because in the song, Gwen Stefani is singing about how girls are expected to be “pretty and petite,” and they were cute, tiny cupcakes. The orange flavor was because of the video for the song “Don’t Speak” (on the same album, Tragic Kingdom), and the cover of the album also has a fruit tree on it. I made them to take to a ’90s-themed party, and creamsicles are something I associate with the ’90s, because that was my childhood and I ate a lot of them then.
In your post entitled “Berry-Banana Muffins (Inspired by tUnE-yArDs + my food issues),” you speak very candidly about your struggles with cravings and the emotional and physical toll that they sometimes take on you. Why do think you feel so comfortable being open with your readers about personal stories?
Part of it is just that I’m a pretty open person, so it doesn’t bother me to talk about stuff like that, but mostly I think it’s something a lot of people can relate to, so I want to show that it’s okay to talk about food and body-related issues. With that post in particular, I thought it was really inspiring that Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards was singing about that kind of stuff in such a powerful way, which is part of why her music brought up those issues for me.
Do you think people have fun poking around your blog?
Yeah, of course. I can’t really speak for why people like the site, but I hope they enjoy browsing through it because they can potentially be introduced to new music and/ or be inspired to try out something new in the kitchen. Most people I know really love food and music, so I’d hope they would be interested in something that combines the two.
What are some of the top songs on your iPod right now? Favorite playlist?
I actually don’t listen to a ton of playlists–it’s usually full albums instead of individual songs. But some of my favorites from the last couple months are [the] new albums by Wild Flag, The War On Drugs, The Weather Station, and Wilco.
How do you go about exposing yourself to new music?
Because of my job I get a lot of press releases and promo CDs, and I read a lot of music websites like Pitchfork, Daytrotter, Brooklyn Vegan, Village Voice’s Sound of the City blog, etc. I also follow a lot of other music writers on Twitter, and just find out about new music by word of mouth from friends and co-workers.
Do you feel that there are certain perfect music genres to pair up with a meal?
I think I tend to associate acoustic-leaning music, and a lot of general rock music, with more savory foods (like Lost in the Trees with sweet potato corn chowder), and I associate poppier or more synthesizer-driven artists with desserts (like Matt & Kim and Pop Rock cake balls). That’s definitely not always the case, but [those are] usually my immediate thoughts about those genres.
Is there a song-and-meal combo that you’ve discovered really doesn’t work together?
I think really sad, acoustic folk songs would clash with a dessert that’s really colorful and sugary.
Can you share with us the best fall date music-food combo?
I’m not sure the music would be totally suited for a date, but at least in terms of the food I’d say homemade pizza, which I paired with a fun, goofy punk band called Personal and the Pizzas. If you’re making food together as a date I think it’s fun to do something that’s really hands-on, which is definitely the case with pizza.
What is your most recent blog hit that got the readers chatting?
Last month was the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s album Never Mind, and we did a couple of features based on that at eMusic. While researching for one of them I came across a recipe for no-bake cookies in Kurt Cobain’s journals. So, I made those and posted it on the blog, and it was featured on USA Today’s Pop Candy, Jezebel, The Daily Meal and a couple of other sites.