‘His songs are like a fabulous steak’:

         Collage courtesy of  newandwesley

In the early hours of Friday morning 26th November 2021, the world lost a genius, 
legendary lyricist and composer, Stephen Sondheim.The theatre world mourned the loss of a giant aged 91. Referencing his own lyrics from "Into the woods""There are big tall terrible giants in the sky." He is now up there with them.
Every so often someone comes along that fundamentally shifts an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of those. As millions mourn his passing and tributes continue, I as a fan also want to express my gratitude for all the joy and pleasure he  has given to me over the years."Sunday" will never be the same or have the same meaning ever again.
Some icons when they pass become immortal for their legacy. He, like David Bowie, will be another who changed peoples lives. I wanted to find a way to pay tribute in my own way and as this is primarily a food blog I decided to reference all the mentions of food I can recall in Sondheim´s work.
How often stir crazy in my kitchen "not going left not going right" humming and wittering his lyrics "All afternoon doing every little chore, the thought of him stays bright." "Anyone can whistle", "Does anybody still whistle?"   I can´t  and that´s for sure and when i do "everybody says don´t"
His lyrics are like a fabulous piece of steak –there’s no fat, nothing to waste. It all tells a story clearly.      Chita Rivera´s tribute

Seems an awful waste...
I mean, with the price of meat
What it is
When you get it
If you get it.
             Sweeney Todd 1979

Everybody ought to have a maid
tittering in the pantry
clattering in the kitchen
Tidying up the dishes
Neat as a pin
appealing in her apron strings
Oh, oh, wouldn't she be delightful
Puttering all around the house.                    
A funny thing happened on the way to the forum 1962

 In Finishing the Hat, Sondheim compares cooking food to songwriting. “The technical details,” he writes, “echo those which challenge a songwriter: timing, balance, form, surface versus substance, and all the rest of it.” Raised by parents who were too busy to cook, he was a stranger to the kitchen himself but was drawn to cookery writing. “I love to read how anything is done, any craft in the world, whether or not I’m interested in the craft per se …It’s the details that get me. ‘Blend this in, then wait until it simmers,’ that kind of thing fascinates me.”
A frequent visitor to London, he was no stranger to the Ivy. On one particular occasion he explained to a journalist who was interviewing him over lunch “I’m not a lunch type,” He scanned the menu. Autumn vegetable salad caught his eye; except the born-and-bred New Yorker did not have a clue what autumn vegetables were. Instead he opted for a simple dish of smoked salmon and a green salad, gastronomic illustration of one of his writing maxims, “Less is more.

The food arrives. Sondheim’s smoked salmon comes with small scotch pancakes that he buttered and a peeled boiled egg that he ignored. He passed the bread basket to the journalist. The journalist considered offering him some chips in return but then recalled Gypsy’s song “Have an Egg Roll, Mr Goldstone”, in which a character becomes hysterically lost while attempting to offer Chinese food to a showbiz figure called Mr Goldstone: “Have a Goldstone, Mr Egg Roll …Have some fried rice, Mr Soy Sauce.” Sensibly it was decided not to risk offering a Sondheim to Mr French Fry.

There is a brilliant sondheim lyric for "What Do We Do? We Fly!" from Richard Rogers "Do I Hear A Waltz?"

The shiny stuff is tomatoes,
The salad lies in a group,
The curly stuff is potatoes,
The stuff that moves is soup.
Anything that is white is sweet,
Anything that is brown is meat,
Anything that is grey, don't eat,
But what do we do? We fly!               Richard Rogers "Do I Hear A Waltz?"1965

I´m sure Stephen Sondheim is not a bacalhau fan but his lyrics sum it up perfectly. The thespian says it tastes of death and Portugal has one salt cod recipe for every day of the year. My God, 365 ways with salt cod! It is like reading the registry of deaths. Well I´m afraid the thespian is on his own and 11.5 million Portuguese can´t be argued with. They call it the fiel amigo ( faithful friend ).

Every day a little death
In the parlor, in the bed
In the curtains, in the silver
In the buttons, in the bread
Every day a little sting
In the heart and in the head
Every move and every breath
And you hardly feel a thing
                                             Brings a perfect little death......       A little night music 1975

and again in the same show,in  the song Liaisons Mme.Armfeldt sings of figs and raisins.....
What once was a sumptuous feast 
Is figs. 
No–not even figs–raisins! 
Ah, liaisons! 
Now, where was I? 
Where was I? 
Oh, yes…
As for other "Sondheim food", there is for example:
The witch's Rutabaga ( "swede" ), Arugala, Rampion( similar to  spinach with parsnip like roots) and Nectarines  from Into The Woods;
some Chrysanthemum Tea from Pacific Overtures;
and, of course "some Shepherd´s Pie peppered with actual shepherd on top" 
from Sweeney Todd.
and the Rice Amy tells everyone to boil in Getting Married Today (and she also tells everyone to "take back the CAKE" )
The soldiers in Passion comment about Fosca,"when she comes to every meal, it isn't for the VEAL"; Passion 1994

I can also advise to not add the comment of one of the soldiers in "Passion" to your list of dinner preparations: 

"I just add vinegar to everything!"  Passion 1994

I have already mentioned "Have an Egg Roll, Mr Goldstone” but the lyrics from Gypsy read like a gluttons glossary Raisins ,Danish pastry, spare ribs, Fish, Pork, Lychees, Cookies, Tea, Cherries and of course Egg roll, chinese,soy sauce, and chow mien

Here is a further checklist

Funny thing Italian breads, cheeses

Sweeney Todd..Pies, toast, bonbons

Into the Woods a loaf of bread with butter, 4 sticky buns

Sunday in the Park with George French pastries 

Asassins Beef

Follies Pretzels ,Beer, Vino

Company Brownies, Sara Lee cake,  Sweet and sour shrimp ,Baked potato with sour cream ,Bourbon                   Hot sourdough bread with lots of butter, Hot orange juice, Birthday Cake (Happy 35th birthday, Bobby!) 

There are probably lots of others too if I had time to delve deeper...

               "Everybody Rise"Rise, Rise, Rise


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