Kara Zuaro author of "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good (In The Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands" has been quite the inspiration to me; as a writer she has been innovative in mixing all the ingredients that make for a perfect recipe of music and food, enriching the reader with laughter and insight into all of ones' pleasures. I got the chance to ask her some questions about her career and inspiration.
Radio Free Chicago: A little background, Kara, how did you begin your career as a music/food/travel journalist? And who were you influences?
Kara Zuaro: I guess I my career started when I was editor of my high school newspaper -- or rather, when I got in a fight with the principal of my high school about some controversial articles that she wouldn't allow us to run. The morning I resigned from my post as editor-in-chief and
cut the rest of the day of school marked the beginning of my career in journalism.
In college, I was lucky to be a part of an amazing staff at Notre Dame's Scholastic magazine, and I interned for CMJ during my summers at home in
I continued to write about music on the side while I was at Epicurious, and that's when I collected all the recipes for my indie rock cookbook, "I Like Food, Food Tastes Good." The cookbook includes a bunch of stories about bands and food, and when I was writing them, I re-read Michael Azerrad's "Our Band Could Be Your Life" and "Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music" by Gerri Hirshey, which offers a personal look at the lives of people like Otis Redding, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin. I consider myself more of a music fan than a music critic, and those two books helped me find my voice.
What is the most memorable concert you’ve ever attended?
Gosh, probably Paul McCartney at
What are a few items essential to your “tour survival kit?
Sleeping bag, pillow, ear plugs, sleeping mask, phone with internet access, facial cleansing wipes, aspirin. Some dudes have no trouble sleeping splayed out on a stranger's couch without a sheet -- but I need to be wrapped up in something when we sleep. If I can create a little nest for myself, I can sleep on any floor, anywhere. (A little whiskey before bedtime helps, too.) Nowadays, your phone provides every map you'll need. And the cleansing wipes mean you can wash up even if you can't get near a sink or shower. The aspirin is not only to ease your own pain but also to aid your grouchy hungover bandmates. Bring a lot. I like Excedrin Migraine.
I just downloaded the new Justin Townes Earle single, and I'm really excited about his new record -- Jason Isbell, formerly of the Drive-By Truckers plays on it. I love Dr. Dog. I was a big Archers of Loaf fan and listen to a lot of Crooked Fingers, Eric Bachmann's post-Archers project. And I love Otis Redding, Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen, the Beatles... it's hard to really hard to narrow it down!
What is your favorite recipe in I Like Food, Food Tastes Good: In The Kitchen With Your Favorite Bands?
What is your latest Project you have been working on?
I'm in the very early stages of putting together a travel book that uses indie rock tours as vacation inspiration.
What are you reading now?
Sherman Alexie's "War Dances" -- such a big-hearted book. I don't want it to end.
Any stories from your excursions on the road with your favorite bands that
especially stand out?
Title Tracks, a band from DC, took me from
Lots of fun things happened along the way -- we slept on an alpaca farm in
But I keep thinking back to an off-night, when the band didn't have a show, in
Anyway, the remaining two guys took me to this pretty awful college bar, where the their license scanner read me as 408 years old. It took some doing to convince them that it wasn't a fake ID. (I'm actually 31.) By the time I came back to the table with our second round, the whole band was at there -- the strippers and the quiet hotel room, it seems, weren't as entertaining as hanging out together. It sounds so sappy, but at the time, nothing in the world seemed more fun than hanging out at that terrible bar with those dudes.
That's the kind of thing that can only happen on tour -- you find yourself somewhere you never intended to be and never hope to visit again, but at that moment, there is no place in the world you'd rather be.