Danish Band Kashmir Shares Meaty Wisdom

Categories: Food News
Photo by Flickr user vulnerablechaos
Meatballs: the way to her heart, says one Danish band member.

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?"

"That's it. Good meat, well cooked, bloody."

Bradford Schmidt
Asger Techau: If you meet this man, throw him a steak.
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.

"I'm sort 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 guitar.

"OK," he said. "This is a recipe a friend -- a doctor, actually -- gave me for something -- "

"Wait, we're doing recipes now?" Kasper asked.

Bradford Schmidt
Kasper Eistrup sings about osso bucco, while Henrik Lindstrand thinks about Love Meatballs
"I'm 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.

"Um, nutmeg?"

"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 you laid."

"So my friend says, yes," he answered with a smile.

Last up was bassist Mads Tunebjerg.

Bradford Schmidt
Mads "Triple Threat" Tunebjerg: bass, keyboards, goulash.
"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 vegetable stock..."

At this point, Kasper interrupted.

"What about wine?"

"No wine. Changes the flavor too much," replied Mads.

"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 peppercorn."

"One peppercorn?" I asked.

"Yes.  One ground peppercorn."

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.

Bradford Schmidt is The Meatist. He's also author of the blog Bone in the Fan. He lives in northern Palm Beach County and is checking ticket prices to Copenhagen so he can share some shawarma with his favorite Danes.

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