If you go backstage at Antone's, the legendary music venue in Austin, then head upstairs past whatever band is lingering on the first floor, look closely at the back wall of the small balcony and you'll see a small door, plenty wide but only about three feet high, marked "Lilliputians only." Last week, during SXSW, though not close to Lilliputian size myself, I was invited through the door and into the back room to sit with the incredible Danish band Kashmir and talk meat.
Kashmir aren't 'putian-sized either. And if you've listened to No Balance Palace or are lucky enough to have a copy of the not-released-in-the-U.S.-yet Trespassers, which is completely worth doing whatever you have to do to acquire it, then you know that there's no way they're vegetarians either. Albums that good need to be fueled by meat, and Kashmir are all avid carnivores. What do they dig?
"Bloody red meat," said Asger Techau, Kashmir's drummer.
"That's it. Good meat, well cooked, bloody."
Well, that was
easy. And simple to write down, just the way my lousy-note-taking ass
likes it. I watched them play a couple of sets later, and it fits: Asger
is a monster on drums and clearly needs steak for fuel. I turned to
singer Kasper Eistrup.
"Et vous, coco?" I asked.
of ambivalent about which meat to eat. I like it all, really. But I
did have some incredible Kobe beef sliders at Stanton Social in New
York, which I loved," he said. "And I need to mention a great place in
Copenhagen called Shawarma Grill House. They've been there since 1980,
and it's the best shawarma in Denmark. You have to eat there if you
come to visit Copenhagen."
No sweat there, as nothing quite beats
giant hunks of spinning lamb in my book. Things got a little more
complex when I turned to Henrik Lindstrand, who plays keyboards and
"OK," he said. "This is a recipe a friend -- a doctor,
actually -- gave me for something -- "
"Wait, we're doing recipes
now?" Kasper asked.
doing one," said Henrik, then turned back to me. "So the recipe is for
something he calls Love Meatballs -- and he claims that you can get any
woman into bed serving her these."
"Meatballs that help you
score. Nice," I told him. "Are there roofies in them?"
"No, no --
no roofies at all," he said. "Start out with a nice meat blend, say
50/50 pork and veal. Cook some aubergine [that's eggplant, folks] and
make a mash, then add it to the meat with some bread crumbs, egg, and...
how do you say it?"
He turned to his bandmates and spoke for a
bit in Danish, then after much shrugging looked back at me and said,
"It's a nut, you shave it..."
"Are you coming on to me,
Henrik?" I asked, and then had a more reasonable thought.
"Yes. Nutmeg, that's it," he said. Nice -- he uses fresh
shaved nutmeg. So now, to keep from feeling like a chump, I have to go
find some fresh nutmeg to shave. "So you make the meatballs, and you
make them large, not tiny little things. And you cook them with tomato
very slowly. Take your time, and they're amazing."
"And they get
"So my friend says, yes," he answered with a smile.
up was bassist Mads Tunebjerg.
"For me, I
like a nice pot of something cooking on the stove all day, so it's
Hungarian goulash," he said.
The other three band members leaned
forward to hear better -- this had apparently turned into an episode of
Julia Child gone Danish. And I hear that once you go Dane, you never go
back (I never claimed I could rhyme).
"Roast some paprika in a
pan..." This had gone too far. First Henrik actually uses fresh nutmeg,
now Mads is telling me to roast the spices, which demonstrates real
cooking skills, people. I've got to get my shit together. "...then add
some tomato and make a paste. Use a tough cut, like neck meat, and throw
it in with some red bell peppers. Simmer it all day with beef or
At this point, Kasper interrupted.
"No wine. Changes the flavor too much," replied
"Well, I was talking to a Hungarian guy about goulash, and
he said to use white wine."
"Well, my Hungarian guy says no wine.
So that's the way I make it."
"Well, I'll use wine, and if we're
doing recipes, I have one for osso buco," said Kasper. "You cook the
veal shank the regular way but serve it with a mash that you make with
celery root, potato, real feta cheese made from goat's milk, a ground
"One peppercorn?" I asked.
"Yes. One ground
At that point, more discussion broke out about veal,
goulash, and a whole lot of stuff I couldn't follow because it was in
Danish. Before heading out, I promised to send Kasper a copy of the osso
buco recipe I got from Wild Olives. But right now, I've gotta go put on
some Kashmir, make some Love Meatballs, and coax my wife to the table.
He lives in northern Palm Beach County and is checking ticket prices to
Copenhagen so he can share some shawarma with his favorite Danes.