Monday, December 12, 2016

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With Transviolet's New Single?

'They've got us in a cage, ruined of grace and senses, and the heart roars like a lion at what they've done to us...'
-Charles Bukowski

This quote by Charles Bukowski isn't the beginning of Transviolet. It comes some time later. In baby terms (because as a father to be I certainly have babies on the mind), this line by Bukowski marks the point where the baby has left the womb and mom (or dad or mom and dad or grandma and grandpa) puts the pen on the paper preparing to imprint this child with an identity.

The members of Transviolet were sitting around the living room with books on mythology and poetry determined to pick a band name. Judah came across the poem 'When The Violets Roar At The Sun' by Bukowski. The line above spoke to vocalist Sarah McTaggert about how the band felt about the world. People's apathy has led to this haphazard way of existing - devoid of reason or purpose. They just sort of fumble around the streets with heads in phones, passively falling into the future without any real stake in it. The band wanted to take back their active role in designing the future. McTaggert suggests "We believe that our generation can learn to live mindfully, and peacefully and evolve, thus 'trans' as in short for 'transcendence'." To sum it up, Transviolet is transcendence into a new, violet awareness. We loved that idea, so it stuck."

So that's the past of Transviolet. The far past. In the much nearer past the band's stellar 2016 has seen them tour the US with Lany and play the Reading & Leeds Festival in support of their self-titled EP which features more kickass tracks than I have thumbs. Last week the band began their trek into the future with their release of "Close." The song features McTaggert's sparkling lyrics about elegance, turbulence, getting close and having those special hands running thru her hair. Basically, as the band tweeted out, it is a song to f*** your friends to. Supporting those lyrics is Transviolet's signature brand of blissful pop instrumentation. That isn't to say it is the same old same old as "Close" seems to coruscate just a bit brighter (and harder) than EP hits "New Bohemia" and "Girls Your Age." And while it hits hard, it doesn't quite have the ubiquitous wall of sound found in "Night Vision."

So, what does one pair with a track like "Close"? It needs to be something that meshes together a number of different flavors in the simplest way possible. More than that, it needs to be something that features the hands-in-the-hair closeness of "Close." That's why I suggest gussying this track up with the Kitchn's Hasselback Sweet Potatoes (pictured above). The key to this dish is the slicing of the sweet potatoes and the brushing of the oil and spices down into the crevices created by the cuts. This allows the flavors to permeate the sweet potatoes in all areas. While following the Kitchn's recipe closely, I did have to make one change. No thyme was found in my pantry so I replaced it with an equal amount of herbes de provence. And, as a good little vegan, I went with oil instead of the brown butter.