If music be the food of love, I'm all for inviting Harry Connick Jr. over for supper. OK, so maybe I'll settle for him on tape.
It's true. Tunes and tortellini do nice things for each other.
We asked readers what music they liked to cook by, and of the 17 people who shared their culinary musical choices, half favored classical music. Mozart hit these readers' charts. Next time I do a pot roast, I'm going to put on "The Magic Flute" at the same time and see if the little Austrian's magic works in the Dutch oven as well as the opera.
The other half preferred pop or rock. One caller reported that he likes to cook to Metallica and Judas Priest. Said a colleague who's familiar with these heavy metal groups: "Boy oh boy, I'd like to see what he cooks when he listens to Judas Priest."
Luciano Pavarotti turned up more than once. Is it his voice that kindles a great marinara sauce or the fact that he looks like a man who knows how to eat well and inspires confidence in the cook?
Peg Aloojian said that her son gave her a videotape of the classic performances of Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo belting their best arias in the Coliseum in Rome a year or so ago. It's her all-time favorite music to cook by, she said. "Whether I'm cooking pasta to Pavarotti, tacos to Carreras or just plain Armenian beoregs, I feel their creative energy. And that gets me going."
While some callers knew what they liked to hear when they settled in for a spell in the kitchen, they didn't share what it was that they were cooking. (I'm guessing what the results might have been.)
"Jean-Pierre Rampal on the flute" -- angel food cake with strawberries and cream.
"Rock 'n' roll" -- tacos.
"Oldies but goodies" -- mac 'n' cheese.
"Classical" -- Caesar salad and broiled salmon.
"Satanic heavy metal" -- a rare hamburger?
Shirley Kirsten, a performing concert pianist with six children, said, "I have little time to be a great cook or balabuste," which is a Yiddish word for very domesticated. "When I do manage to settle six around an oak table with two extensions, it's meatballs and spaghetti served from the pot.
"The meatballs consist of lean chopped chuck, Italian bread crumbs, one or two eggs, garlic powder and instant minced onions. I simmer them in a shelf-bought sauce with mushrooms for about 35 minutes to the music of Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23."
One music lover cum cook digs Mozart, too. Especially with Mexican food.
Another reader liked cooking to country-western. "It's so homey," she said.
To some, what they listen to depends on what they're cooking. A caller allowed as how she bakes pies and cookies to ZZ Top, but making a dinner for friends, well -- "It's Pavarotti."
"Atmosphere means everything," said Marian Rose, who describes herself as a poet. Ms. Rose advises the lively beat of the Judds for stews and soups; classical music to accompany main dishes; and ballads by Sinatra and Streisand for dessert.
When she's in the kitchen, Anita Rumbold Corcoran said she turns on Julio Iglesias and that her canary, whose name is Pepito, warbles along.
"Tchaikovsky keeps my spirits up in the kitchen," said Helen Wolfmann.
, No one brought up Beethoven.