Why Some Desserts Taste Like Reggae

This post could’ve easily been titled something else like, ‘Why I Dance When I Eat’ or ‘I Wish I Could Eat That Sound’. Music is a big part of what we do at The Wooden Table (as you might be able to tell from the Bel Biv Devoe reference in the title of our previous post). We eat to it, we cook to it, we dance in our kitchen to it, and now we’re lucky enough to have a passionately crafted soundtrack for our dinners.

I often tell people who are new to the concept of multi-coursed dinners to think of the meal like they would an album (hopefully a good one). Almost every record has a radio single, it’s usually something easy to love with a catchy hook. Likewise, with every menu that we put together here we strive to have that one dish that will resonate with everyone. The ultimate goal is to release a good single, like something The Beatles might have put out. Something that’s both critically acclaimed and embraced by the masses, something like this lobster/uni/foie gras dish by Dominique Crenn.

But what does any of this have to do with either Marley or the late Michel Richard’s lemon tart? For one thing, I wish I was consuming a little bit of both right about now and they’re both great in the summertime, of course. But the epiphany that I had one sunny LA summer day, cruising down the 405, hands sticky with lemon curd, Three Little Birds wailing in the background, and (as usual) up to no good, was that that lemon tart tasted like that song sounded.

Still a little lost? I don’t blame you. I’ll need an audio aid for this so before reading on, hit play on the video below.

Allow me to break it down equation style:

buttery crust = bass line

I listed this first because crusts, like bass lines, are often overlooked. But without crusts (and bass lines) all you’d have is a soggy mess with no structure.

a pinch of salt = funky a$$ guitars

Another under appreciated element in sweets is salt. Where there is sweet, a little salt makes it better, livens up the palate and brings out the more subtle flavors. And do I really have to make a case for funky guitars? Let’s just say, like salt, you’d miss them if they weren’t there.

the lemon = the horns

Every cook worth their salt knows that if you want to add brightness to a dish, try a dash of lemon zest. I suspect that my musically inclined friends will agree that horns do the same for a track, perk it up, a nice little zip. Got to have those horns in the summertime.

ooey gooey sugary sweetness = Bob Marley

There’s no denying the sweet sound of Nesta Robert Marley. The sugary notes and gooey texture keep the lemon tart moving, a vehicle for all the elements to interact. Without sugar, there is no dessert, it binds, thickens and flavors simultaneously. One love.

I could keep going, there’s textures involved (the crunch is like the drums!), good whipped cream (back up singers), etc etc etc. But I’ve already made myself wish I was cruising down an traffic-free LA freeway with a Michel Richard lemon tart, and was up to no good.

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