Five songs about food and how they can relate to you

Many songs throughout history have mentioned food and used it to convey a message. Some use food to describe life experiences and culture, while others use it to convey feelings of love and self-growth. Furthermore, food can be a useful tool for a musician to express feelings, experiences and life in general. Though it may not seem like it on the first listen, a song with some kind of food as the title can mean a lot more than just a reference to a tasty treat.


Odes to Food and Culture

Some songs that mention food could literally just be the artist expressing their certain love for that food. These odes don’t use food to convey any type of deep message other than the pure enjoyment for a type of food.

One such song is “El Menú” (“The Menu” in Spanish) by El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico. The song by the famed Puerto Rican salsa group mentions their love for different foods, such as rice and beans, fried plantains and fish with a squeeze of lemon. “El Menú” invokes the feelings someone gets from being in a Hispanic mom’s kitchen.

“It reminds me of being around my parents as a little kid or going to the supermarket to buy food to cook that night,” Arly Molina, a student at Georgia State, said.

Odes to food can also be used to describe a culture. A love for food can indirectly highlight parts of a major culture and remind people of their childhood. “El Menú” does this specifically with Hispanic culture and heritage.

“I’ve never met someone who doesn’t like some type of Hispanic food,” Molina said. “So, yeah, the song does make me proud of my heritage because it has some flavor, and I think that’s what being Hispanic is all about.”

The song “Stir Fry” by the Atlanta rap group Migos also invokes culture through food. However, it does this in a different way by using one cultural norm to describe another. Stir frying, a quintessentially Asian style of cooking, is used to describe the culture of Atlanta.

”It’s the intermingling of cultures, I suppose. Like, they’re using Asian culture and food to describe some Atlanta culture,” Victoria Giang, a Georgia State student, said. “I think they’re comparing it to dancing almost, like the physical act of making a stir fry could be compared to a dance and motion.”


Love Through Food

Not only can songs about food describe one’s appreciation of food and culture, but they can also highlight feelings of love. Most people have used foods like sugar and honey in songs to describe someone they love. However, in Kevin Abstract’s “Peach,” the rapper uses the sweetness of a peach as a metaphor for feelings of love.

“I love the song,” Rajvi Amin, a sophomore at Georgia State, said. “It reminds me of when I was younger and in high school and helps me reminisce on what it felt like to be in love during that time

Imagery of “peaches and cream” are used throughout the song to invoke the softness and sweetness of love, which can leave the listener yearning to feel the artist’s emotions for themselves.

“The song gets me emotional, and it makes me feel nostalgic, like I want to feel what he’s feeling in the song and I’m not, so that makes me sad,” Amin said.

Abstract also uses the peach imagery to describe a time in Atlanta. This time he most likely spent with a lover or with his friends, and using the peach to connect the time in Atlanta to the love he felt.

“In the song he says ‘Atlanta, we was kids, baby. Special moments with my friends, baby,’” Amin said. “I think Kevin is talking about Atlanta and using the peach to also describe the sweetness of love.”


Food as a Lifestyle

Different kinds of lifestyles can also be compared to different kinds of food. Some foods are more expensive than others, which can refer to more lavish lifestyles, while cheaper foods, such as fast food, can describe lower-class lifestyles.

Such is the case with Tyler, the Creator’s single ‘Okra’, wherein Tyler flaunts his wealth and success.

“He’s describing his lavish lifestyle by comparing it to a vegetable that is typically priced higher than others,” Amin said.

Elsewhere in the song, Tyler, the Creator brags about the success of his album and clothing brand and insults his haters by comparing himself to a McDonald’s Big Mac and them to the fast food giant’s chicken nuggets, which are typically a cheaper meal.

“He’s using okra to flex his money. He’s saying he wants to spend his money how he wants no matter what anyone else says or thinks,” Amin said.

Tierra Whack’s “Fruit Salad” is another song that uses food to describe lifestyle. However, instead of using food to show off her spending habits, she’s using it to describe her self-growth and to show positivity.

In the song, Whack describes eating her fruit and vegetables to maintain a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits.

“I think the song is using food to show the effort she’s putting to become healthier and a better person,” Ahmed Mustafa, a junior at Georgia State, said.

Not only is Tierra Whack using her descriptions of food to show body positivity and good eating, but she’s using the imagery to show overall self-growth and originality by sending a message to the audience about being themselves and to not let anyone define who they are.

“I think through ‘Fruit Salad,’ Tierra’s trying to say that you should just do you and worry about yourself and to try to live the best life you can,” Mustafa said.