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Still hungry? Jazz Caliente extends the holiday feast with food-themed songs

Cuban Picadillo served on white rice with black beans
CC-BY-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Cuban Picadillo served on white rice with black beans

Unintentionally, or possibly subconsciously, this Saturday's Jazz Caliente is sprinkled with songs named for Cuban, Puerto Rican and Caribbean dishes. ¡Buen Provecho!

Saturday's menu includes:

Main dishes

Bacalao con Pan
Cuban pianist Harold Lopez Nussa plays Chucho Valdes' tribute to the salted, dried codfish known as bacalao. After soaking to rehydrate the flesh and reduce the salt, the codfish requires only light cooking, and becomes tender and slightly sweet. It can be used in any number of dishes, including "bacalao con pan," – cod with bread.

Picadillo a lo Puente
Tito Puente celebrates the Latin American staple dish, picadillo. It's a fragrant stew of ground meat, tomatoes, potatoes, raisins and green olives. The seasoning and other ingredients vary from region to region, but the result is a comforting and satisfying meal served over rice.

Sides and Sauces

Cal Tjader's Soul Sauce and Willie Bobo's Spanish Grease
Both recorded in the mid-1960s, "Soul Sauce" and "Spanish Grease" reflect the blending of cultures in New York City's Spanish Harlem neighborhood. The music, clothing, arts and food combined African-American and Latin influences, paving the way for Boogaloo and Latin Soul.

"Soul Sauce" was also titled "Guachi (or Guarachi) Guaro," which is the vocal tag throughout the song. But those words have no meaning whatsoever in Spanish, or in any other language. Most performances and recordings of the song end with the phrase "scotch and water" instead.


Con Poco Coco
The naturally sweet coconut is grown throughout the tropics and the Caribbean. It's been hailed as a health food as well as a sweet treat. Arturo O'Farrill and Chucho Valdes honor their ancestors with "Con Poco Coco," a piece of music by Bebo Valdes that was recorded in 1952, and became known as the first recording of an Afro-Cuban jam session.

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

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Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.