It’s been a long break from blogging. To herald my return, I bring you a post very close to my heart and nearly six months in the making: the Decemberists’ albums, if they were main courses at Wagamama. I have done a lot of research (i.e. eaten at Wagamama a lot, listened to the Decemberists a lot) and so this will be the definitive inarguable article on this topic and if you don’t agree, you can fight me.
Almost as if I’d planned it, today is the opening day of my home town’s VERY FIRST WAGAMAMA! Hurrah! I’m planning to eat white chocolate and ginger cheesecake for every meal of the day today! Life is amazing!
ON TO THE LIST:
Castaways and Cutouts is the first full-length album by the Decemberists and if it were a Wagamama dish, it would be YASAI KATSU CURRY. This is partly because they are both brown in colour. Also, Castaways and Cutouts is the album I listen to when I want to go on mopey walks in the autumnal dusk. Sweet potato, aubergine, and butternut squash are comfort foods for the darker months in the same way Colin Meloy asking “Are you feeling better now?” in Grace Cathedral Hill comforts my soul.
When I started getting into the Decemberists as a lifestyle choice, I deliberately left out Her Majesty as a “for later” treat, for when I’d ruined all their other albums through overplaying. I know it’s a good album, but I’ve somehow not got round to it yet. Similarly, I know I’d like PRAWN ITAME but there’s just so much else to eat. The spicy coconut and lemongrass soup suits the dramatic edge of the the Decemberists’ second release perfectly.
Picaresque is widely regarded as the album with which the Decemberists discovered their “sound” – though it’s a varied box of delights, ranging from the raucous nine-minute Mariner’s Revenge Song to the plaintive personal favourite The Engine Driver, with an absolute wealth of songwriting and storytelling in between. Correspondingly, WAGAMAMA RAMEN is the definite bowl of noodles, with everything thrown in, including the tea-stained egg on top. A signature dish for a signature sound.
The Crane Wife is the best Decemberists album and YAKI UDON is the best thing you can eat at Wagamama. It’s just a fact.
Brown rice makes CHA HAN DONBURI taste nutty and kind of rustic, making it the perfect complement to The Hazards of Love, a prog rock opera set in the taiga. The side of Japanese pickles is a taste of anarchy brought in the album by the villainous rake. (Colin Meloy, at applause for The Rake’s Song: “You’re all terrible people!) Donburi is a big bowl of steamed rice, and The Hazards of Love is a similarly satisfying concoction.
The King is Dead is the album you put on in the middle of winter, to warm you right through. CHICKEN RAMEN is classic, seasonal, unpretentious, and will sustain you through the cold weather. This one is a complete no-brainer.
Mild but delicious, CHICKEN RAISUKAREE makes me feel kind of nostalgic for when I just started eating curry and would only eat korma. Like raisukaree, What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World is sweet and rich and brings joy into my life – see my full review here – but has added kick in the back half of the album, represented in the chillies and sesame seeds that top this dish.
5 Songs is GYOZA because there’s five of them. Yep, even though there are six songs on 5 Songs.
WHITE CHOCOLATE GINGER CHEESECAKE is Culling of the Fold because it’s what hooked me and I love it beyond all reason and it’s addictive and terrible.
To, er, loosely tie in this post to my blog’s actual theme and intended content… The artist responsible for the Decemberists album covers is none other than Carson Ellis, whose beautiful debut picture book HOME just came out in the UK! It’s charming and lovely and the art is of course top notch.
Look at that loveliness, all the colours and charming details! I am a huge fan of Carson Ellis’ work and am so happy that she’s making picture books.