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    Music is an amazing thing.  It can help kids with auditory processing disorders rewire their brains.  It can lift your spirits when you’ve had a bad day.  It can even bring people out of comas.  But have you ever considered how the music you listen to affects your perception of the food you eat?

    I was recently invited to a “Musical Pairing Dinner” at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.  The concept was intriguing, but I honestly had no idea what to expect.  I took an Honors Seminar in college all about the intersections of art, music, and mathematics, so I had a vague understanding of where the idea could have come from, but other than that I was just leaving myself open to the experience.

    Barbara Werner came up with the concept when she was dining alone one night (also at a Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse) and listening to music- and she suddenly realized the music was really helping her enjoy her meal that much more.  She set out to discover the mathematical equation that makes one song pair better with a certain food than another, and then she wrote a book about it.

    Of course, if you have a strong emotional connection with a particular song it will influence your perception of the world around you, but Musical Pairings is more than that.  It builds on your existing perceptions by pairing music and food with equivalent ratings, enhancing the experience that much more.  For instance, when I was eating vanilla ice cream and listening to show tunes, I could taste more of the vanilla.  But once a different genre of music began to play, the flavor of the cream came to the forefront.  The real “aha” moment came when we were listening to Cream’s "White Room" and the otherwise standard stuffed chicken breast seemed to have so much more depth of character and flavor. Music paired with filet - "Nessun Dorma" - brought out an earthier flavor in the meat. 

    Overall, it was an interesting experience.  To be sure, I will be paying closer attention to the music I play at my next dinner party.  If you want to learn more, Werner will be releasing a book and an app in about a month.  You can learn more about Musical Pairing Dinners by clicking here.

    Photos Courtesy of Maggie Kimberl

    Maggie Kimberl's picture

    About Maggie Kimberl

    I'm a Louisville native with a passion for traveling and homegrown tomatoes. I write the bourbon news, which keeps me plenty busy since Louisville is the center of the bourbon universe. See bourbon news happening? Contact me on Twitter @LouGirl502!

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